3 “secret” customer lessons from the local bakery


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My wife and I will typically shop for bread products at a local Franz bakery outlet instead of the grocery store that we frequent each week for our regular grocery “run”. It seems we can always get the best prices on the bread that we like, and the shopping experience is a breeze.

In addition to the great savings we can get, I’ve noticed this little bakery outlet has all the earmarks and characteristics that provide for excellent customer satisfaction. I thought it might be beneficial to list some of these out for us to dissect in todays analysis:

Friendly service. I know, it sounds basic; but really, it is. This is like the entry level performance to satisfy customers, and if your company is not even accomplishing this basic practice of friendliness, then stop whatever else you are trying to do and make sure this is in place now. No matter who is working the counter at the Franz outlet, we always have someone who laughs and jokes with us, even when it’s evident that they’re busy.

Value. Again, another basic, but it’s all about value. And don’t confuse a discount pricing “value” with “cheap”; just because something has discount pricing does not necessarily make it a good value. For us, Franz carries a specialty type of bread at their outlet for a dollar a loaf. The very same loaf of Franz bread, with the exact same quality and ingredients, is over three dollars at the warehouse grocery store! It’s amazing how much the middleman adds into the pricing, even on something as seemingly inexpensive as bread. That’s how a value proposition works, though: and when you can identify how your customers define value (and not always just on price), and when you then provide that value for them, you create repeat customers.

Extras. The Franz outlet always has “freebies” of various types. If we bring our youngest daughter in shopping with us, they always offer her, along with any kids, a free single-serving pack of cookies. Typically at the checkout counter, they’ll also have an open box of donuts or snack food that’s free to munch on while checking out, or on your way out the door. Additionally, they have a “free rack” of extras on day-old bakery items based on how much you spent at the store that day. If we spend 5 or 10 bucks, we can be out the door with a couple of extra specialty loaves or bagels at no charge. A great value on what we came in to purchase PLUS the added “extras” makes us loyal Franz customers each week.

So tell me, how hard is it to satisfy customers? Is there anything in these simple “secret” steps that I have mentioned that you didn’t know already? Then why aren’t you taking action and simply doing them?

“Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” – Ann Landers

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of ThinkCustomerSatisfaction.com, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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