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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Caldwell

You ask, but do you listen?

I had a really bad experience at the supermarket yesterday - you know, it's a busy time of day, lots of shoppers filling their trolleys beyond the 12 items 'serve yourself' threshold and there are only two checkouts open.

I was the third trolley in one queue and there were similar numbers in the adjacent checkout. You could tell the poor checkout operator was frustrated about the queue forming and the fact that noone was doing anything to get another one open to serve the customers quicker.

We have two major supermarkets in town and my husband and I have quite different shopping styles, and are loyal to opposite shops. But for a while now, I have been having disappointing shopping experiences and have been considering a change. I think yesterday was the straw that broke the camel's back. Should supermaket shopping be enjoyable? Do we or should we really care about the customer experience? Well I think, yes!

As I continued to wait in the queue, I noticed a supervisor counting money from a closed, and unused till. This was intriguing to me - and I wondered if she was about to open to ease the congestion...... No, she simply looked up at all of us, shrugged and walked away! By this time, I was second in the queue and there were three more trolleys behind me.

I really wanted to grab a supervisor and point out again that there were at least 11 trolleys waiting in two queues and ask if it was possible for one of the staff just standing and chatting together in the supervisor area could open another check out, but I thought better of it. When I got home I discovered there was a website listed on the bottom of the receipt, asking for my opinion and feedback on my 'customer experience'. So they do think about it!

If this had been a one-off experience in this shop, I may not have worried too much about it - I understand that staff can call in sick and put pressure on the rest of the team, but this has been happening regularly over the past couple of months. I logged onto the website and put in my fair and honest assessment of my 'customer experience' and added my email and phone number so they could contact me.

I am now wondering if I will ever be contacted.

I know most tourism businesses are asking for feedback and we monitor TripAdvisor to see what our customers are saying about us. but the real gold is what we do with that feedback. Think about your business - do you have a visitor experience strategy that is aligned with your company procedures and standards? How do you handle feedback - good and bad?

I will be waiting to see what happens with this supermarket, but in the meantime, I will be following my husband to the 'other' one in town.

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