Customer Service Stories – Part VI

RETAIL SENSOR I’ve been in Wal-Mart, Target, or Jewel where there are at least 2 or 3 customers in line and invariably, the lead worker or manager may get on the intercom and ask associates to the front of the store to address the increased flood of customers who want to pay for their items. Why not automate the process to promote a good customer centric approach? Have some retail associates, or “retail floaters” who are responsible to help assist when an excess amount of customers converge on the checkout area. These retail floaters could be pinged when 2 or more people are in line.

I know that Trader Joe’s has a bell near the checkout area and that one of the checkers will ring if additional associates are needed. For their retail culture, that works too, especially if checkers constantly are aware of the ebb and flow of the amount of customers who have finished their shopping.

Perhaps even a store like Costco could benefit from retail sensors. From my observation, Costco typically have additional checkers up at the front of the store and jump into action when things get backed up too much. Sometimes they succeed by anticipating the excess shoppers converging to the checkout area and other times they react when there may be 4, 5, or 6 shoppers in the open queues. Because this is a manual process, sometimes customers are served efficiently and sometimes not.

ARE THERE INCENTIVES TO COMPLETE STORE SURVEYS? After visiting a store, shoppers have an option to complete a survey. If they do, the incentive is to be enrolled in sweepstakes and the chance to win store credit. Pardon the cynicism but have you ever heard of anyone winning $500 or $1000 in store credit by completing a store survey?

TripAdvisor Review of Montreal Restaurants

TripAdvisor Review of Montreal Restaurants

TRIP ADVISOR APP ROCKS Traveling to Montreal, Canada without a guidebook is not something my wife and I typically do. We need good maps, lists of subway and bus stops, attractions, restaurants and how to locate our hotel. To step outside my typical approach, I downloaded the Trip Advisor App for iPhone to see how that would work. I played around with it a few times before our trip but didn’t use all the key features.

In Montreal, it took me a few days to get used to it but boy did it serve the job! At some point, the guide book was in the rear view mirror, using this app, having a good idea of the location of restaurants, hotels, attractions and a shopping guide. When we got hungry, we would key in our specific area of Montreal or the entire city and then review the results. It ranked the results based on feedback and ranking from other traveling. The best feature was ‘point me there,’ if you found an attractive restaurant in let’s say Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal), you could select that option and the app indicates the distance from that particular restaurant and specific directions without using and of my iPhone data. A wonderful tool.

OPTIONAL WATER BOTTLE AFTER A FLIGHT? Give air travelers the option of a water bottle as they leave the plane.

Let’s track back. Prior to getting to the gate, you confront security, you need to drink your water or throw it away. With the fluctuating amount of travelers going through security, you may leave early from home to ensure you allow yourself enough time. You may worry about identification, your boarding pass, gate number, location of restaurants, as proper hydration may be ignored. In addition, if you’re flying internationally, add customs as another obstacle in the process.

On the aircraft, you may be served 6 ounces of coffee, juice or soda for a 2 or 3 hour flight and what’s your focus once you’ve landed? Getting to the gate securely, quickly and checking your phone. If you’re lucky, you may stop by a drinking fountain but often, this isn’t your focus. You may take a taxi or public transportation home and then realize how tired you are and realize you’re dehydrated.

How much does water cost in bulk? 10 to 15 cents per bottle? Think about the positive PR received to be handed a bottle of water as you leave the airplane. A positive spin to the annoying task of having to empty all water bottles to get past TSA.

 

 

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

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