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Profits follow exceptional customer service

Yesterday I went to my local King Soopers to buy the last few ingredients for our Cinco de Mayo celebration. As I was awaiting check-out in the express lane, the customer ahead of me questioned the price of a loaf of Sara Lee white bread.

I’m not sure what he was charged at the register but he claimed that the sign on the shelf said it was $1.99.

The cashier brought the loaf of bread towards the Customer Service desk but the manager was not there. He returned to his register and asked a passing employee to check the price on the shelf, handing him the loaf of bread.

The annoyed customer, noticing the line forming behind him, interjected, “Look, don’t bother. Just take the loaf of bread off my bill.”

The cashier completed the transaction, apologized to the customer, and then began to ring up my purchases.

I asked him, “Why didn’t you just charge that customer $1.99 for the loaf of bread. Now he’s not going to be able to make a sandwich when he gets home.”

The young cashier smiled sheepishly and said, “I know. But only a manager can make that decision.”

“That’s too bad,” I said, “because that customer still needs a loaf of bread. He can buy it anywhere: Safeway, Albertsons, Target—what incentive does he have to buy it here?”

I’m not sure what King Soopers paid for that loaf of bread but you can bet it was less than $1.99. And even if they did lose money on that one item, they would make it up on the entire sale—not to mention the thousands of dollars they stand to make from that customer during his lifetime.

Don’t quibble with customers over nickels and dimes. Trust that they’re not out to get you. Concentrate on serving them well—even if that requires making a concession now and then. Provide exceptional customer service and the profits will follow.

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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