DALLAS — Hy-Vee's longtime culture of focusing on the customer has produced a series of strategies that help the retailer succeed, said Mitch Streit, store director of Hy-Vee's 75,000-square-foot unit in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
At the center of this approach is "making sure customers walk out of the store with an emotion that’s more positive than when they entered," he said during a session about customer experience management at FMI Future Connect 2011 here. Among the strategies he outlined:
- • Discussing customer experience at every company meeting
- • Putting customer experience ahead of everything else, including sales.
- • Creating an "emotional experience" in the store, especially in perishables departments
- • Being "ridiculously bold" in developing merchandising initiatives in order to produce something really unique.
- • Inspiring employees to provide great customer experiences
"If we run out of an item, it’s fine to offer customers a rain check,” he said. "But what about offering them something they can use right now? Let’s say you run out of their requested brand of flour. Offer them your store-brand flour for free. We allow employees to make decisions like that on their own to take care of customers. We empower our front-line people."