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WHAT WORKS: Promises to Keep

As the old saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words." To make sure that all of its more than 36,000 employees were acting on the company's written Six Promises of customer service, Pittsburgh-based supermarket chain Giant Eagle, Inc. rolled out a companywide campaign to communicate and reinforce the service standards to new and veteran associates.

The mass communication went out January 2004 through verbal messages at staff meetings, as well as via printed documents including break room signage and employee announcements. Since the communications push, Giant Eagle has seen a surge in positive reports, from managers and consumers alike, of service levels surpassing customer expectations. The consumer feedback came from both loyal shoppers and trial customers, who, in most cases, described how the various customer service activities had made them enthusiastic Giant Eagle patrons, as in the following example: "Your store does customer service as a model for every other retail establishment. It is by far the best Giant Eagle in the greater Cleveland area. The store employees know my children by name in the Eagle's Nest and even know my favorite side sauce in the prepared foods department. Every single staff member is cheery and helpful, and I will not shop anywhere else!"

Giant Eagle is in the process of launching a new customer service measurement instrument this fall that will establish new baseline metrics by which the Six Promises program will be gauged.
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