Customer Service Tip #3 – Focus on the Customer…all the time!

This tip actually struck me last night while I was in the checkout line at my local grocery store. Let me state that first of all, I love shopping at this store. While it is part of a large chain in Northern California, they make extra efforts to make it seem like your local friendly grocer.

They do everything from sharpening your knives for free at the butcher area to running (yes, actually running) to go get an item that you forgot while you are checking out, to walking you out to your car and putting your grocery bags in your trunk. In short, their customer service is phenomenal!

So, last night, I stopped for some groceries on the way home from work and as I was watching the clerk ring up my food, I noticed a young guy (a twenty-something) that was not wearing the official store uniform working his way down the checkout lines and talking to each courtesy clerk (checkers, and baggers). Since this was just after work, each line was full and the store had quite a few customers.

As he came up to my line, I happened to be standing between my checker and bagger, so as he moved between them to talk, I happened to hear their conversation.

It turned out that he was the local Union representative for the workers and was letting them know that the new Union contract had been signed and would go into effect shortly, within a week or two. I can appreciate it when I am told relevant information in a timely manner, however, he then proceeded to tell both the checker and bagger that they would be getting good raises out of this.

All this in front of me, the customer! I felt like asking if the good raises that they would get meant that my cost of food would go up! This was not a great way to focus on the customer.

I watched him continue down the line and tell each worker this information. Not a one of them reacted to his news. In fact, they instead maintained a very professional composure and focused on the customers in front of them.

I went home, told my wife and decided that this exemplified both the worst and best of this Customer Service Tip….Focus on the Customer….all the time!

The Bad – The Union Rep chose an inappropriate time, place and method for communicating the good news to the workers.

The Good – The workers (my checker had a name tag on that said Head Clerk and looked like he had worked there at least 10 or 15 years, my bagger was in high school or just out of it) were VERY professional, as are all that store’s staff and maintained their focus on me – the Customer.

The Moral, i.e. the Tip – No matter what happens, put a bubble around you and your customer and do not let anything take away your focus. I will continue to frequent that store and I am certain that I will continue to get excellent service. If you are in Northern California, you should give them a try ( for the closest one).

P.S. – No matter how urgent it is, unless someone’s life is involved (a fire, a spouse or child is sick), don’t be the Union Rep….those matters can always be communicated away from the customer.

Thanks for reading,



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