This Grocery Store Opens at 8:56am and Closes at 8:04pm. Here’s Why.

When I managed a contact center, I actually had our phones set to come on 5 minutes before our posted hours and to stay on 5 minutes past our posted hours. I did this because I wanted to surprise and delight our early bird customers and I wanted to offer relief to upset customers who just couldn’t call before quitting time.

An excellent service experience from top to bottom has always been a fierce focus of mine. Today I discovered a grocery store that shares my idea of opening up just a little earlier for customers and staying open later. I’ll get to that in a minute. First, let me tell you about a service fail.

My daughter and I walked into a drug store 15 minutes before closing one night. The lights were already dimmed, and the closing announcement blasted over the PA system at least 3 times during our short trip to the store. Employees were busy shutting down registers and scurrying around to get things locked down by 9 pm. My daughter and I felt like unwelcome guests at a party, and we felt compelled to rush our shopping so that the workers could get out of the building no later than 9:01 pm.

This morning I visited Natural Grocers, a wonderful natural and organic grocery store.

I noticed their odd store hours posted on the door.

Monday- Saturday:  8:56 am – 8:04pm

Sunday: 9:56am – 7:06pm

Natural Grocers Great Customer Service and Odd Hours

Intrigued by the unusual hours, I went to the company’s website and found this:

We have a real pet peeve about those loud announcements that you often hear in stores, like this one:

“ATTENTION SHOPPERS! THE STORE WILL BE

CLOSING IN FIFTEEN MINUTES! PLEASE MAKE

YOUR SELECTIONS NOW AND GET TO THE

CHECK OUT SO WE CAN GO HOME!  NOW!”

Instead, we think if you have come to shop with us we should be happy you are here.  If you come a little early, we will open the doors with a smile to get you inside.  If you show up right at closing, you are still welcome to come in and shop at your leisure.  Those odd hours we list on the door are just a reminder to our staff and to you that we promise to welcome you and we will stand by that pledge.

My service experience at the drug store wasn’t horrible, yet it was far from remarkable. The friendly hours of Natural Grocers were refreshing, and they matched the service I got in the store.

Align your processes, policies, and people to deliver an amazing experience at the top of the day, throughout the day and at the very end of the day. 

If your contact center hours are 8 am – 7 pm and someone calls at 6:59 pm, they deserve your full attention and a complete and enthusiastic service experience. Do a little extra, and you’ll be sure to give your customers a memorable and refreshing customer experience that they’ll rave about.

If you’re into organic and natural food, you might want to check out Natural Grocers. Great selection and really great prices. Not to mention, wicked-cool store hours.

Natural Grocers Tulsa

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Every week, often literally from a coffee shop, Myra gives you ideas that in one way or another are actionable towards improving your customer experience.

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What You Can Learn About Customer Service From My Nail Tech at Xtreme Nails

So I got a manicure yesterday. It was pouring rain and late and I didn’t want to drive out to my usual salon. So I stopped at a little place a couple of blocks from my office called Xtreme Nails. I arrived right around 6:45pm. I was surprised to not see any customers in the salon. But then, it was raining cats and dogs. Since there was no wait I got both a pedicure and a manicure.

I was greeted with a smile and my pedicure was underway within 3 minutes of my arrival. After a great relaxing pedicure, I was ushered over to the nail area. After the nail technician had been working on my nails for a few minutes, I asked what time they closed. She said, “We close at 7pm.” I was so embarrassed! They closed at 7pm and I arrived 15 minutes before closing and ordered the Ultimate (amazing, but lengthy) pedicure and a deluxe Shellac manicure. My usual salon closes at 9pm and I assumed Xtreme Nails had similar hours. It was now 7:25 and my nails weren’t even halfway done.

I apologized profusely to the nail technician and she was so pleasant about things. “This is no problem at all. I’m glad you’re here and your nails are going to look so pretty.” I could have hugged her (but of course, my nails were wet and all). She took her time with my nails just as if it was 4pm. That’s great customer service!

Want to create an amazing customer experience like my nail tech? Make customers feel good and comfortable, even when they are wrong (like I was). Be willing to take a customer phone call even if it’s 3 minutes before closing. Give your customers the same warm, attentive service at closing as you would at high noon. After all, your customers deserve it. You better believe I tipped my super awesome nail technician abundantly…and I’ll be going back.

If you’re a woman in the Tulsa area who loves amazing manicures and pedicures, try Xtreme Nails.

How Being “Gumby” Can Transform Your Service Culture

Master Customer Service Course Myra Golden

Have you ever shopped at the Container Store? If you’re working in customer service, and you want an enlightening (and thought-provoking) benchmark for your company, I urge you to get out and visit a Container Store this weekend.

The Container Store is a leading retail chain specializing in home organization products, such as wire shelving, plastic shower totes, shoe bags, food packaging, knife and peg racks, and bins.

Over the past four years the company has expanded throughout the United States , maintained infinitesimal turnover that is unheard of in the retail industry, and ranked 1st or 2nd on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

How do they do it?

Every Container Store employee is strategically trained to think flexibly to solve customers’ organization problems. And the company does this with an air of excitement by using the 1950’s Gumby clay-figure TV star.

“Being Gumby”—bending over backward to please customers (and co-workers)—is highly prized at the Container Store. (So is training—Container Store employees average 162 hours a year!)

Get this…I read in Fortune Magazine that at a Container Store in Dallas, there’s an IT manager, who is also a part-time yoga instructor who teaches free weekly yoga classes to her staff. Her colleagues have responded enthusiastically since the classes began two years ago; 25% now join in the bending and stretching. “It’s a good mental practice that can be applied to physical purposes,” says Betty Murray, the IT Manager/Yoga Instructor.

Being Gumby is about doing whatever needs to be done to serve a customer, help a co-worker, or complete a task. It’s about not getting “bent out of shape” when a customer makes a request of you that you’d rather not do. And it’s also about bouncing back quickly after having a tough encounter with a challenging customer.

The Container Store constantly reinforces the Gumby culture by having a 6 foot tall wooden Gumby in the lobby at the company’s headquarters and giving away the annual Gumby award to the employee who exemplifies flexibility.

Get your employees to adopt the flexibility of Gumby and your company will be well on the path to delivering Beyond WOW service!

 Sources Cited

Christopher Tkaczyk, 100 BEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR
FORTUNE, Monday, Jan. 12, 2004

We are best known for our classroom training – and it is amazing! Our customer service training is led by the industry’s best trainers…experienced, engaging, and energetic. If you poke your head into a Myra Golden training session, you know this training is different. Participant involvement is astonishing. People are having fun and they are completely engaged. Most importantly, the participants are learning real-world strategies that will absolutely empower them to deliver exceptional customer service. Every one of our customer service training sessions is custom designed to meet our client’s objectives and every session delivers a measurable return on investment.

We also offer train-the-trainer (T3) programs to equip your corporate trainers to deliver our renowned customer experience training in your organization. Please call us at 918-398-9368 to discuss bringing our T3 program to your organization. Learn more:
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