Customer Service. Do you need it anymore?

When it comes to customer service, I am somewhat of a *ahem* snob. I have worked in the retail and event space for WAY too long, so when I see great customer service, I am thrilled and you'd better believe I make a HUGE deal out of it.


And when it's bad? Well. Just ask my family. It ain't pretty people.


I recently went into a store to get a black shirt. I was not looking for anything fancy. A simple, black t-shirt was all I wanted. And this store USED to be a high-end, gorgeous place to shop.


No more my friends.


I was gobsmacked at the total disarray of the entire store. Not one employee greeted me, as they were all busily running around staring at their devices, I assume fulfilling online orders and requests. Clothing was thrown OVER racks, thrown to the floor, and generally heaped in piles wherever they'd had the chance to land. Blouses, misshapen sweaters, and tops dangled off hangers and frankly looked like they'd been worn 15 times before they'd even made it to the sales floor.


Now before you tell me it is because of Covid, just don't. I get it if there is a shortage of products and employees. What I don't understand is letting your store look like ground zero during a pandemic. If ever there was a time to shine and be clean, this is definitely it!!!!


I approve of everything happening in this photo. Clean, clean, and did I mention...CLEAN!!!!

After searching high and low and then even lower, I knew I needed to get out of that store (that will remain nameless) and I decided to go grab some grocery necessities (read: WINE) at one of my favorite stores.


As soon as I walked in the sliding doors, I knew. Huston, and or more appropriately, AUSTIN we have a problem!


I had barely made my way to the produce area which by the way, is literally 14 steps inside the front door, and I'd almost gotten side-swiped by three Prime shoppers. They were EVERYWHERE. I imagine they have a time goal so that would explain the manic movements, complete lack of spatial awareness, and an overall disregard to anyone that dared get in their way. I was literally dodging these people.


Some were apologetic. Some looked confused. Some looked like extras from The Walking Dead.


I obviously looked annoyed.


Side-note: this is where the masks are both a godsend and a hinderance. There are many, MANY times I am thankful no one can see my "look" but at times like these, I really want people to FEEL my withering glare. Stupid Corona.


Anyway, after a nice cardio-centered shopping experience, I made my way to the registers where the mayhem was at it's peak. I'm not sure why, but the entire operation seemed to be running from the helm of the store...the front end.


Spoiler alert. I know this lingo and I know this is insanity wasn't the norm because I used to work here. Yes friends, I am speaking of my beloved Whole Foods Market. I worked there for over 8 years and learned more about business from that company than if I'd gone to get an MBA at Harvard. This could be because I don't do the best with school and probably would've ditched, but that's a story for a different day.


I know stores and companies change, and especially after this past year so many have had to shift to survive. Maybe the store shoppers are set up like this because it's generating more revenue than in-store customers. Maybe they have to get the orders rang in and dealt with so fast, they need to be up front. Maybe I'm a grumpy old lady that longs for the good ole days.


Maybe it's a crap way to conduct business.


Whatever the case, I got my things, paid (with my Prime discount - yes, I disgust myself) and came home with my artisan cheeses and wine. As I was imbibing, my husband showed me an article that got my heart rate up yet again.


In it, John Mackey speaks to the new ownership and ideas being brought to WFM by Bezos and Amazon:


Two years after the acquisition, the Whole Foods shopping experience remained mostly unchanged. ”[T]here have been few glimpses of new ideas that Amazon could bring to supermarket shopping,”


Uh, running the place like a warehouse is NOT a new idea. That's Amazon.


I've since been back to shop several times and sadly it's been the same experience. When I worked there I had the amazing luck to be trained and mentored by some of the best leaders in the business. So to this I offer a challenge...Amazon, do yourselves a favor and get a glimpse of what made Whole Foods amazing.


Training.

Customer Service.

Innovation.


And maybe train those nice Prime shoppers to look both ways before careening into me.


Maybe then I'll save the withering looks for the sign stating NO PRIME DISCOUNT ON ALCOHOL.




Click HERE to read the entire article about Whole Foods Market & the John Mackey interview.





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