Sticking to the Customer

Greetings.  There you are in the middle of a large chain supermarket and unsure where to find a particular item.  Let's say you're looking for prune juice.  It's not exactly Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, or one of those trendy new waters filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and possibly even antibacterials and anticoagulants.  So you won't find it hanging out in the popular beverage aisle. Though it should be part of your "regular" diet (pun intended), because prunes keep you running young (whoops, another pun intended).  But where the heck is it?  So you scout out the closest associate and ask them for a bit of guidance.  And they reply that "it's either on aisle 22 or 23," pointing toward the other end of the store or a galaxy far away.  Then, as you head off in that direction, they add: "Try one of the top shelves or maybe one of the bottom shelves."  "Thanks," you respond with equal measures of hope and doubt.    

But what if you ask the same question in Whole Foods Market…one of my very favorite high-priced grocery stores?  There you're likely to get a different response. Because their associates, who are always easy to find, will actually take you to the product.  And, when you arrive, ask if you have any questions.  Then, if you have a question or concern about prune juice that they can't answer, they will try to find a colleague who can.  It doesn't work perfectly all the time, but it happens enough to make you feel that they really care about customers and delivering knowledge.  

And so should you no matter what type of company or organization you work in. Because sticking with our customers until their real needs are met is fundamental to business success.  

I always smile when someone mentions prune juice.  Maybe it's because I've had the pleasure of retrieving large bottles of this magic nectar from the top shelf of aisle 17 at our local Giant grocery store four times in the past year.  Not for me mind you.  Though I firmly believe that prune juice is a remarkable beverage.  But for four different and equally adorable 80 plus year-old women.  And I always ask them if prune juice is one of the secret reasons why women live longer on average than men.  I'm also curious why a product that is used with greater regularity by older people (i.e., folks who aren't quite as tall and flexible as they use to be) is almost always found on the top shelf.  Is it to give them the opportunity to stretch a bit?  Or maybe to help them meet people who are just a bit taller?

Prune Juice 

We win in business by sticking to the customer until their needs are met.  It's a simple skill that pays big benefits in building lasting relationships and making new friends.

Cheers!