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Giant Food Listens to Employees

ATLANTA - Giant Food is seeking to improve its customer service by listening to its employees. The Landover, Md.-based division of Ahold is sending a team of officials to each of the chain's 200 stores to meet with groups of associates to find out how they can improve morale and productivity.

"In today's market you have to have the Midas touch to differentiate yourself in customer service," said Ann Weiser, Giant Food's executive v.p., at the CIES - The World Food Business Summit last week in Atlanta. She noted that at one time Giant had such a sterling reputation that many employees worked there for life, and new hires had to be referred in order to get a job, but over the years that reputation has somewhat diminished. "Our competitive strategy starts with making Giant a great place to shop. You satisfy people through people -- our people," she said.

To that end, Giant is seeking to empower its employees one person at a time. That is being accomplished through the LCD (Listen, Change, Deliver) program. "Our team will visit every store and listen to associates about what helps and hurts productivity. Changes will then be made at the store level," Weiser said.

Giant also had its employees complete an anonymous survey about working for the company, including how things can be improved. Giant produced a jazzy video that was shown at the stores to entice employees to fill out the survey. Employees completed the survey at home and mailed it in a postage-paid envelope to corporate headquarters. The survey was completed in January.
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