Tying the Knot on Top-Notch Customer Service

by Jeannie Walters

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A group of grocery stores is causing a stir in Chicagoland.

Mariano’s, owned by the larger Roundy’s organization, moved into the Chicago market a few years ago and continues to gain fans. With the personalized service, outstanding selection and in-store cafe options, they’ve built a loyal following of customers.

I didn’t have much experience with Mariano’s simply because there isn’t one in my part of town…yet. (There are plans to see a store here soon.) But once a month, while recording our podcast Crack The Customer Code, I get my lunch from the Mariano’s across the street. And almost every time, this means soup and salad from their plentiful salad and soup options.

I hardly noticed the first time, or the second, but by the third, I saw a pattern. Whenever I checked out with soup, no matter who was at the register, my bag was tied the same way.

Top-Notch Customer Service

It was looped to be both spill-proof and easy-to-open. And our producer, who goes there a lot more often, confirmed this. His experience has been the same. No matter who is at the register. No matter what size of soup you get. The knot is always the same.

So why is this such an important microinteraction? Consider what this means.

  • Workers are trained, clearly, on how to do this. Consistently. This small knot is included in what they learn.
  • The consistency is what’s important. Mariano’s leadership clearly understands the experience for the customer goes way beyond putting the lid on the soup.
  • The check-out cashiers see this task as part of their role. It’s automatic.

But a microinteraction like this is often overlooked.

Most customers will never even realize their bag is consistently tied the same way. Most may never appreciate the care of a small action like this. So why do it?

These knots are preventing poor experiences. They are helping the customer through what could be a pitfall of the experience. No customer wants soup that has spilled all over the bag. None of us want to struggle with a too-tight knot trying to access the product we’ve already purchased. Mariano’s knows that.

I can’t confirm is this is true at every Mariano’s store or just this one on the northwest side of Chicago. Leadership at this particular store saw it as important, and I’m betting it’s a consistent experience at other stores, too.

Leaders cared about this knot enough to train workers on it specifically. Workers care enough to deliver on this small moment in the experience.

And I get to enjoy delicious soup because of it. It’s easy to overlook, but it’s critical not to ignore.

Image credit: LincolnSquareInsider via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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