Maintaining high customer service

Since we sold our own shop in September our local shop has been a Tesco Metro. It’s less than 200 metres from where we are living so is the most convenient shop. As suggested in the recent Panorama programme we like many supermarket customers have been confronted by the ‘confusion marketing’ that the multiples undertake. Prepacked fruit and veg being significantly different in price than loose, offers being not the best value size for particular products and different sizes of products on promotion offering different value options in different areas of the store. Definitely confusing.

But the big surprise from using one supermarket on a regular basis is how quickly some of the check out staff remember you. One in particular, Angela knew us from using the Post Office that we ran and had read a couple of the articles that the local newspaper had published about us. The first time she served us she said that she was very pleased to see us and as she rang our purchases on the till she kept up the sort of conversation I would expect from an independent local store. This of course was not a one off with this assistant as we have found several other members of the store checkout team in this style of conversation with other customers.

When the multiples can match this level of customer relationship it’s time to ask what independents need to do to keep ahead. My father has been telling me about the village shop where he lives since it changed hands a few years ago and the efforts that the owners are going to to make their business thrive. The latest story has been about choice, he went to the counter with a pack of frozen salmon and was asked if he would prefer fresh salmon on the day. Interesting, my father is delighted by the care that he gets from the store because he knows that the older he gets the more important it is that he has easy access to amenities like a village convenience store.

What are you doing to stay ahead?


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