This post is written based solely on my own personal experience as a consumer. I have not conducted a scientific poll.
There are two major grocery store chains in my area, Kroger and Meijer. I have written a post already about my negative shopping experience at Kroger, and there is a particular cashier at my local Kroger that practices poor customer service literally every time I see her in the store. (I call her Amy.) My main complaint about Kroger has been the lack of available cashiers at the store in the late evening hours. I avoid going to the store after 9:00 pm because the only available way to check out is the self check-out, which I hate because I usually have many items. My favorite cashier actually turned off her lane light as I was approaching during one visit, and told me I had to go to the self checkout lane instead!
Starting about 3 weeks ago, I was shopping at Kroger, and I noticed the prices were increasing on a couple items I was buying. Then I noticed it more and more during subsequent visits. However, the fact prices were rising really hit home when my husband returned from the store and commented on how much Tostitos now cost at Kroger.
After my husband’s comment I thought “OK, the prices seem to be rising at Kroger, and the customer service is lacking. Guess I will just have to go the extra few miles and head over to Meijer from now on”. Then I was watching TV and saw a commercial for Kroger that was touting their great plan for customer service. More cashiers will be available! No long waits!
Is Kroger Purposefully Improving Customer Service To Counteract Higher Prices?
The grocery chain had addressed my concern before I could even act on my impulse to change stores, at least that is what they are telling me on TV. That is a very smart way to do business. I may be reading way too much into the whole situation, but I wonder if Kroger recognizes they have to increase prices, so they must shift their focus to an area other than competitive pricing to try and either retain customers or gain new customers. Perhaps this is the reason why Kroger has been able to stay in business whereas so many other grocery store chains have either been bought out or just flat-out gone under?
However, I am not going to base my shopping decisions on a commercial alone. Next time I shop at Kroger, I am going to pay attention to the customer service aspect and see if they are truly living up to what they promise. I will make sure I stop by after 9:00 pm and see if anything has changed.
How Kroger Applies To You
Regardless of whether my individual store improves customer service or not, the customer service campaign reinforces the fact that companies and individuals both need to always evolve or adapt to the business or economic climate they are dealing with. Think about your own career. Are you being proactive? Or, do you resist new technology as it becomes available become you liked the ‘old’ way of doing things? Are you taking advantage of certification programs that are available, or are you coworkers leaving you in the dust? If you see jobs in your industry are being shipped overseas, are you doing everything you can to make yourself invaluable to the company? Do you update your resume regularly? Are you on the lookout for a competitive advantage for both yourself and your company. Do you try to anticipate where the economy and your industry is heading.
I know I just asked a lot of questions, but they are questions you need to answer honestly. If you found that the answers you gave are going to hinder your career or your goals in life, then you need to take action now. If you instead choose to wait and react to circumstances as they come along, you might just find yourself in the unemployment line.
Is there something you have done to increase your marketability in the last year? Did you feel your efforts have paid off? Also, do you notice prices are increasing where you live?