ompetition amongst service providers and store operators is getting rather fierce in the current economic environment in which we are now operating.
Price and item availability are a couple of ways to bring in customers. But by far, top shelf customer service is one big way that individual stores separate themselves from the rest of their competitors in an effort to gain or keep the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Having lived in Kitsap County for 15 years, and having made it a point to shop locally whenever possible, I have established relationships with many local business owners and their employees who provide services and goods to me.
I enjoy shopping where there are friendly familiar faces who tend to remember my likes and dislikes and or even enjoy reading my column. While shopping or checking out, I take great pleasure in chatting with the owner or employee about common interests, community issues or personal preferences.
I was rather surprised this past weekend by a standing policy that a local business had. At this particular business, checkout clerks were not allowed to wait on someone they know personally.
A part of me understands that stores are concerned about loss prevention and are doing what they can to keep such losses down. But another part of me did not appreciate being viewed and treated as a potential criminal by this standing policy simply by walking through the door.
Fortunately for me, there were three checkout lines open to choose from because two of the stations had people I know personally working the registers.
No matter how nice that third unknown clerk was to me during the checkout process the entire experience left me cold and rather unfulfilled as a supportive community member.
Now knowing what the policy is for that store, I most likely will not choose to shop their again. Lots of local competition gives me plenty of options and they are not carrying any goods I can’t easily get somewhere else.
It is an individual stores or businesses prerogative to set whatever policy they want. It is the individual shoppers decision to frequent that store or not based on their policy.
Such a policy of not allowing employees to perform check out services to people they know personally may be saving money when it comes to keeping losses down from individual purchases. But how many purchases are not happening at all because of this policy?
Thank you to all of the local businesses that go out of their way to connect with community members on a personal level.
Thank you to businesses and employees who go out of their way to get to know the community they are serving. After this past weekend’s experience, I have a greater appreciation for all of you who do take the time and keep your policy open.