Monday, November 18, 2013

Customer Service: How to do it right

So last night, the Better Half and I were shopping at our local Kroger's (grocery store) when two things happened:

Her phone went off with a weather update - a Tornado Warning had been issued for our immediate area.

And as we started to exit the store, the tornado sirens started going off.

At that point, the Kroger associates (their term for employees) invited us to join them and other customers in the back of the store (a "safe area") until the storm had passed. No panic, no flustering, just very calm, very professional people doing their best to keep their customers safe.

Of course we took them up on the offer, and guided ourselves and our cart to the back of the store, where we joined what looked to be about 100 other customers. At one point, an associate came back, guiding a very distraught customer who was shaking and crying, calmly telling her that "it'll be all right" in a tone that conveyed not condescension but genuine compassion.

We were all huddled in the back, mostly calm, everyone (or so it seemed) on their cells communicating with (one presumes) family and friends, and checking the local weather. After a while, a guy from the meat department wandered in, a great big grin on his face, and loudly asked "hey, anybody got a cellphone?" We all cracked up - it was exactly the right way to break the tension.

A few minutes later, another associate came back to let us know that the all-clear had sounded and that it was now safe to leave. What was remarkable was how calmly everyone left the safe area: no running or scrambling - the calm professionalism of the Kroger's staff had infected us with a sense that we didn't need to hurry out.

Bless you, Kroger's associates, for looking out for our safety, both physical and mental.
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