By Keith Halliwell, Operational Lead Thoughtful Service

Customer service is vital in our business and we need to make sure we’re well equipped to deliver exactly what our customers want. We’ve been listening to our customers and they tell us that they’re looking for the basics of a convenience shopping trip done well and done consistently.

As part of our Thoughtful Service programme, over the next two years we’re going to focus on fixing queues and investing in more technology to help our colleagues serve our customers even better. To help us put our customers and members front and centre of everything we do, I’m proud to introduce our Customer Service Promises:CSP_images

Customer Service Promises are a set of behaviours and pledges that come with a Co-op difference. If we can get these right not only will customers be satisfied and likely to spend more with us, but importantly, they’ll return again and again.

I’ve been a store manager, an area manager and a large store regional manager so I have first hand experience and know that you always put the customer first. However, by bringing the promises to life in everything we do, they’ll allow us to achieve consistency across our stores – customers will receive the same experience no matter where and when they interact with us.

To start to embed them, we spoke to a handful of colleagues to find out what Customer Service Promises mean to them. Watch this video to find out what they had to say:

For me personally, although all four are of equal importance, the promise I connect with the most is ‘Always friendly and always thoughtful’. I think that no matter what technology and processes we have in our stores and support centre, everything is done by people, for people. If I can make someone feel valued and worthwhile, just by being genuinely friendly with them and considering what’s important to them, I can see it being paid forward and a ripple effect of success spreading.

Every single one of us can make a difference, as they’re applicable whether you’re a Customer Team Member, an Area Manager or a colleague in our Retail Support Centre. If we all start to make small changes now, they’ll have a huge impact collectively in a truly Co-op way.

I’m really proud of the Customer Service Promises and I hope you are too. I’m excited to see us start living and breathing them day in day out.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll focus on each promise in a little bit more detail, but for now I’d love to know your thoughts; how you plan to bring the promises to life yourself and to help others, or maybe what gets in the way? Do you have any easy wins that have really worked in your store and could be replicated? Maybe one of the promises really resonates with you or your store? Make sure you comment below or in our Yammer group, letting me know your thoughts.

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I think this is a brilliant idea as it will make everyone take a step back and evaluate how we serve our customers. Keeping it to 4 great promises is concise and they pick up on the emotional connection involved with delivering great service. I look forward to landing this in my store.

    • hi Simon, thanks! you have really captured the spirit of service, I’m sure your customers are already getting the benefit of this :-).

      We’ll be listening to what our Promises could mean to colleagues over the coming weeks, look out if you want to get involved it would be great to hear from you, also if you have access to Yammer we have a group – Customer Service Promises. I’m sure you’ll bring them to life in your store, thanks Keith

  2. Our store and all staff have always followed these behaviours to a tee. Its what comes naturally to us all. All of our customers comment on our friendliness etc and how our store is the best in area. Well done Milton Store.!!!

    • hi Angela, thanks for sharing, it is great to hear, definitely well done Milton store! We have many stores who are already living our Customer Service Promises. What our customers tell us is that we aren’t consistently like this in all of our stores. The overall Thoughtful Service programme will help make it easier for our colleagues do this for all customers and help put the customer at the heart of everything we do in all parts of Coop, keep up the great work thanks!

  3. Does this mean we can go back to serving them instesd of trying to make them use self serve?. Its aweful at times. no one allowed to stand begind kiosk so customers have to serve themselved. lots of long faces and no interaction..☹

    • thanks Sandra, every store is different, but in every store there will be customers who want to checkout as quickly as possible – AST could be right for them, and as you say some who want the personal service at the kiosk – that is why there is always at least one person at the kiosk so customers always have the choice. The promise being on hand is different for each of these customers and as our Customer Service Promises become part of how we do things, it should become easier for you to help each customer in the right way and hopefully have no more long faces? It’s great to hear you are so focused on your customers, please keep playing your part!

    • Keep with it Sandra but you will be surprised how many customers eventually do revert to the self-serve. Keep up with the brilliant work and your perserverance will pay off. We even now have our 85 year old customers using the self-serve . I find standing alongside them and packing their shopping still gives them their longed for conversation but at the same time the happiness on their face because they have achieved in modern technology.
      Keep up your fantastic work.

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