The power of customer experience takes hold at the most unlikely of times.
Last week I was on holiday in the seaside village of Mundesley in Norfolk. Bracing winds and storms one minute, bright sunshine and blue skies the next. The quintessential British seaside holiday full of buckets, spades, live entertainment on the pier, fish and chips and so much more!
Back to the customer experience point. I needed to buy a few provisions for the evening meal and had the choice between the well-stocked and conveniently located Tesco Express just 5 minutes up the road, or the local, smaller Spar corner shop 10 minutes away in the centre of the village. I chose the latter, all in the name of supporting local trade.
Once in the Spar shop, I asked the lady on the till where I would find basmati rice, pecan nuts and short crust pastry. Needless to say, they did not stock the first two but I managed to find acceptable alternatives. The lady I spoke to was polite, interested where I came from, told me all about the Cromer Carnival taking place the next day, and assured me that the sun would be coming out to play by the end of the week. I left the shop having experienced some good old British friendliness, knowing more about what was going on in the local area than I had 20 minutes earlier, and with enough ingredients to produce my meal that evening.
Early the next morning, I decided to see what the Tesco Express had to offer. Needing to buy some milk and a newspaper, I headed out only to be greeted with the silent back of a man filling shelves and a machine at which I could check out my goods. No till assistant in sight and certainly not a cheery “good morning” to be heard!
It does not take a genius to work out where I had the best customer experience and where I subsequently shopped for the rest of the holiday. The selection of goods, price and shopping environment do play a role in my buying decisions but there is nothing to beat some warm and convivial conversation between the shop staff and the customer to ensure customer loyalty.