My family and I were in the path of Hurricane Irene this year. We fared well, except for a loss of power and a fridge of spoiled food. Prior to the storm, we had the same idea everyone else did: “Let’s get a few staples and hunker down.” Except we were on a mini-vacation.
The Roche Brothers grocery store in Massachusetts offers delivery as well as order and pick-up. So, en route from a cut-short vacation, we ordered some groceries for pick-up the next day. I headed out Sunday in the torrential downpour and winds. I pulled up to the dedicated parking space and chatted through the intercom. I was half-expecting to go inside to get my stuff, but Roche Brothers pride themselves on customer service (no tipping permitted when they load groceries into your car, etc.). So, I know I paid a small fee for the pick-up option. But I was prepared to go into the store and get my order in this case. After all, it was raining sideways!
Instead, the complete opposite happened. I was greeted by Neil in a raincoat, rain and wind whipping in his face. He was smiling. He greeted me professionally. He said to stay put in my car. He opened the hatch to load groceries. He asked if there was any particular order to load the groceries. I said whatever is fastest to get him out of the rain! He smiled and said to not worry and to be safe. He loaded the groceries in an orderly fashion.
The clincher of this story is when the grocery cart attendant swung by—not just pick up the cart, but to help Neal load the groceries into my car. And as the rain is coming down in buckets sideways, he says to me, “Thank you for your business, sir. Have a safe day, OK?”
“Thank you for your business,” he says to me. As he is getting soaked. Most people in his position would grumble. Most might not even say anything and just sling the bags, breaking eggs and everything, into the car. Or call in sick. Instead, this guy goes out of his way to say thanks to me on what might be one of the worst outdoor working conditions of the year.
Word of mouth isn’t dead. I told this story to a handful of people that day, and again the next. The story I told wasn’t: “My grocery guy is great.” Instead it was: “The Roche Brothers supermarket in Westborough is awesome because of their customer service. Listen to what happened to me a few days ago … ”
You might say, “Whatever, Alan. Word of mouth is dead. This is an isolated incident.” To that, I respond, “Well, tell that to the people I’ve already told. And, you’re reading this right now, aren’t you? so it worked right?” By virtue of your reading this, it’s appearing on the MarketingProfs Daily Fix.
Good customer stories travel far. What are you doing to empower your employees to be part of those?