Thursday, March 8, 2012

Strike 3 - You're Out!

I was shopping at a Ralph's (a grocery store in the Kroger family) last Saturday. As I was waiting in the checkout line, the line started to get longer; there was one person in front of me with a ton of groceries to be bagged, and there were four people behind me. There was one other check stand open, with a couple of people in that line. At the front of the store was the service desk, where employees also happened to clock in for their shifts. (Why this was here and not somewhere else, like a back office or a break room, is beyond me.)

The cashier in my line called for one of the guys standing by the service desk to help him bag. His response? "I have one more minute." (It was 2:59pm.) Wow! Is that a union thing, or is that a culture thing? (BTW, there were three other people standing there, and none of them offered to help this cashier.) Your customers are waiting, and you can't help because your shift doesn't start for a minute? And the other employees didn't want to help this cashier/the customers? Strike 1! (OK, that might be two strikes, but since there are only three in a game, I must follow the rules. LOL.)

The cashier doesn't blink and suggests to the people in line behind me that they can use the self-checkout one aisle over, to which they all said, "No thanks." Chalk one up for putting the "human" back into "service." The checker's response? "You're going to ruin our QueVision score." O my. Really? You just said that to a line of customers who chose human interaction over a DIY machine? Customers don't care about your score. They care about getting in and getting out as quickly as they can, and sometimes those self-checkout stands can be more frustrating than waiting in line. Strike 2!

For those who don't know (I didn't - I googled it when I got home), QueVision is a system that Kroger has implemented to help speed up the checkout lines. If you'd like more details on it, read this article from the Roanoke Times. If you google it, you'll find that employees, for the most part, are not thrilled with this system. Why? Because they have a score they need to meet or exceed, and the system requires people to leave their areas of the store to jump on the cash registers if the lines are too long. Purely from a service perspective, this is a problem because...? (Yes, I get it - it pulls service people from other areas of the store where customers might have questions, or where shelves aren't getting stocked because the person in charge of that area is on the register. But there are ways to balance all of that.)

When it was my turn, I noticed that the platform where you can set your purse, coupons, etc. while you pay had a note taped to it about their post-transactional survey. If you wanted to provide feedback about your shopping experience, you could go to TellKroger.com and input a certain code. I didn't pay close attention to the code because I assumed it was on the receipt, and the only reason I made a mental note of the URL was because it was, well, it's just what I do.

I had my kids with me and didn't think anything more of it at the moment, but when I got home (and after I googled "QueVision"), I wanted to provide my feedback. Guess what? There was no survey link on the receipt, no survey code, no acknowledgement of a survey. Nothing. I'm quite familiar with these receipt-based surveys, so I went to TellKroger.com anyway, thinking I would just have to enter some transaction details from the receipt to take the survey. Nope. Not only did I have to enter transaction details, I also needed that darned Survey Entry Code! And look (below), the survey site even provides an image of what it all looks like on the receipt.


That's great, in theory, but there was no Survey Entry Code on my receipt. Kroger, if you're wondering why your response rate is so low, rethink this. Bad execution on someone's part. Strike 3! So, Kroger, you tell me... do you want my feedback or not?

5 comments:

  1. Great reminder how individual employees so often make the difference (good or otherwise)in CX. Imagine the difference if an empowered employee used judgment and cheerfully clocked in early to help - without being asked!

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    1. Absolutely! Every employee impacts the experience. And yes, that would be wonderful, for people to forget the rules/processes occasionally and just want to help people.

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  2. It sounds like Kroger really doesn't want your opinion, many other grocery stores and other customer related organizations have made this same mistake and are distant memories.

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    1. Agreed. Not listening to the voice of the customer or feigning listening can be detrimental to an organization's health.

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  3. Are you kidding me! People need food and Kroger owns the food selling business. To keep YOU from visiting warehouse clubs and China-run WalMart (etc.), they have to keep prices down. THAT EQUALS less union employees = less service. Thus QueVision. They don't have to care about customer service, cuz America wants cheap and quick. Ooops, gotta get to Princess' soccer practice.

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