Strike 3 – You’re Out!


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I was shopping at a Ralph’s (a grocery store in the Kroger family) last Saturday. As I was waiting in the checkout line, the line started to get longer; there was one person in front of me with a ton of groceries to be bagged, and there were four people behind me. There was one other check stand open, with a couple of people in that line. At the front of the store was the service desk, where employees also happened to clock in for their shifts. (Why this was here and not somewhere else, like a back office or a break room, is beyond me.)

The cashier in my line called for one of the guys standing by the service desk to help him bag. His response? “I have one more minute.” (It was 2:59pm.) Wow! Is that a union thing, or is that a culture thing? (BTW, there were three other people standing there, and none of them offered to help this cashier.) Your customers are waiting, and you can’t help because your shift doesn’t start for a minute? And the other employees didn’t want to help this cashier/the customers? Strike 1! (OK, that might be two strikes, but since there are only three in a game, I must follow the rules. LOL.)

The cashier doesn’t blink and suggests to the people in line behind me that they can use the self-checkout one aisle over, to which they all said, “No thanks.” Chalk one up for putting the “human” back into “service.” The checker’s response? “You’re going to ruin our QueVision score.” O my. Really? You just said that to a line of customers who chose human interaction over a DIY machine? Customers don’t care about your score. They care about getting in and getting out as quickly as they can, and sometimes those self-checkout stands can be more frustrating than waiting in line. Strike 2!

For those who don’t know (I didn’t – I googled it when I got home), QueVision is a system that Kroger has implemented to help speed up the checkout lines. If you’d like more details on it, read this article from the Roanoke Times. If you google it, you’ll find that employees, for the most part, are not thrilled with this system. Why? Because they have a score they need to meet or exceed, and the system requires people to leave their areas of the store to jump on the cash registers if the lines are too long. Purely from a service perspective, this is a problem because…? (Yes, I get it – it pulls service people from other areas of the store where customers might have questions, or where shelves aren’t getting stocked because the person in charge of that area is on the register. But there are ways to balance all of that.)

When it was my turn, I noticed that the platform where you can set your purse, coupons, etc. while you pay had a note taped to it about their post-transactional survey. If you wanted to provide feedback about your shopping experience, you could go to and input a certain code. I didn’t pay close attention to the code because I assumed it was on the receipt, and the only reason I made a mental note of the URL was because it was, well, it’s just what I do.

I had my kids with me and didn’t think anything more of it at the moment, but when I got home (and after I googled “QueVision”), I wanted to provide my feedback. Guess what? There was no survey link on the receipt, no survey code, no acknowledgement of a survey. Nothing. I’m quite familiar with these receipt-based surveys, so I went to anyway, thinking I would just have to enter some transaction details from the receipt to take the survey. Nope. Not only did I have to enter transaction details, I also needed that darned Survey Entry Code! And look (below), the survey site even provides an image of what it all looks like on the receipt.

That’s great, in theory, but there was no Survey Entry Code on my receipt. Kroger, if you’re wondering why your response rate is so low, rethink this. Bad execution on someone’s part. Strike 3! So, Kroger, you tell me… do you want my feedback or not?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


  1. I work at Ralphs and the time clock will NOT let you clock in 1 minute early, its NOT because we’re being lazy or because we want to kill 1 minute before we start our shift. If you’re scheduled to start at 3:00 or 3:30 and you try clocking in at 2:59 or 3:29 the time clock will DENY your punch.

    As with Que-Vision, I hate the piece of crap technology, we get punished really bad by upper management if we do not keep up with their “goal”. How it works is the heat sensors tell us how many are in line in each register, we cannot have more than 3 people waiting in line, once the 4th person comes to a line if we dont get that person to another open register ASAP (or self checkout if no one available to cashier) we get “dipped”, if we get more than 3 “dips” a day, we get yelled at, especially the cashier who’s line caused the “dip” … They expect us to to be atleast 90% with Quevision but at the same time they dont want to provide with the hours NEEDED to hire more cashiers to operate the cash register. .. I always try my best to provide the best customer service possible but sometimes I’m under so much pressure to keep up with Quevision and have my line move as fast as possible to avoid being backed up and cause a dip that ifs hard for me to be as friendly and patient as I can be.

  2. Annette – I, too, have impugned the often-hapless front-end employee when I’m disappointed about a checkout experience. But as Mark, who commented previously, points out, there’s a back story which more often involves a failed system rather than an employee who simply has a bad attitude, or is just having a bad day.

    The link to the Roanoke Times article didn’t work, but I easily looked it up, and found a quote within it that sheds some light on why the execution of QueVision has seemingly failed: “The No. 1 objective is to improve the shopping experience for customers.” That’s no doubt admirable, but management doesn’t appear to have equipped employees with the tools or resources to deliver that. Oh, there’s a massive club to beat the laggards with, but I didn’t read anything about a management offering a carrot for achieving success. There’s also nothing mentioned about using all that QueVision insight to adjust staffing levels so employees can provide the improved shopping experience that management is so thrilled to trumpet in the Roanoke Times article.

    Is ’employee abuse’ too strong a term? I’m not sure, but I don’t see much employee WIFM (What’s In it For Me?) in what Mark wrote, or in the ATLAS system at Ann Taylor Stores, which I wrote about in a 2008 article, “PLEASE Buy From Me: The New Ann Taylor Shopping Experience,”, and about retail self-service in “If This is the Future of Shopping, Heaven Help Us!”


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