Your Father’s Service Delivery Process

Buying groceries for your grandparents involved giving a grocery list to the merchant—we’ll call him Henry–over a large wooden counter.  Henry went back into a small stock room and filled the grocery order.  Sometimes, there were a few items for customer participation—like big jars of candy.  But, largely Henry did the work while your grandparent waited.  Before your father was born, Henry added a bagger who would take your box of groceries to your wagon or vehicle.  It was personalized, but it was also limited.  But, then, so were the times.

Then, Clarence Saunders invented the modern day supermarket.  It was your parents’ way of buying groceries.  Clarence patented the shopping cart and check-out counter.  Over the years, when you were probably growing up, the supermarket got bigger with more items packaged in attractive ways. But, the original 1915 Saunders invention remained pretty much the same—and, is very present today, a self-service, boring and largely functional experience.

But, another grocery store transformation came during lifetime.  Stew Leonard’s Dairy Store, Trader Vic’s, and Wyerly’s were grocery chains that realized your shopping experience was important.  Boring was replaced by entertaining; functional was turned into sensory overload.  Sure, there were self-service aspects.  But, the wine section had an expert almost straight from the vineyard!  And, the butcher was there to not only cut your meat but offer clever ideas for turning the next meal into a gourmet delight.

So, what generation is your service delivery process?  Are you a Henry, a Clarence or a Stew?  Is service being delivered largely like it has been for many years?  What if you re-invented your service process so your customer’s experience became one they found very positively memorable?  Stop using your father’s service delivery process and find one that adds great value to your customer’s investment in you!

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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