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  • Writer's pictureStuart Silverman

Thanking store associates for providing great shopping experiences

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

I want to relate a surprisingly positive experience I had shopping at Home Depot on a pre-pandemic Memorial day. So many times we write about crappy experiences - its time to write about a great experience.

Being a retail tech guy, I was amazed at how seamlessly the associates I encountered used a number of technologies to provide me with a productive and satisfying shopping experience. 

So, here it is, Memorial Day – and the store is teeming with shoppers. We needed to buy a replacement for a broken chain link fence gate. Don’t ask why – that’s another story.

We were approached by a friendly sales associate who asked if she could help – pleasant surprise #1. We described what we were looking for. She didn’t know the products. So she pulled out her smart phone. I asked – oh, you’re going to use the app? She said no, I’m calling up another associate who knows about fences. Surprise #2 – she was using her phone to call someone else in the store – I’ve never seen that before.

She couldn’t find the right person, but we located another associate, whose name was George (I think). Problem was he knew plumbing, not fencing. But he said, c’mon, lets go figure this out. Surprise #3, he jumped into action to help us – we did not get a “not my job” dismissal. He was confident that he could solve our problems with the tools he had at his disposal.

So, we’re at the rack with the chain link fence parts and materials. Based on the shelf tag, we think we found the right product – but the box is printed entirely in Spanish. Which made it difficult to figure out what’s in the box, how to install it and what other accessories that we would need. So once again George pulled out his smart phone. He scanned the QR code on the box and, voila, an installation videoAnd we watched it right there in the aisle next to all the accessories that we would need to complete the job. Surprise #4 – I’m not going to have to go back to the store half way through the job to get more stuff.

For years, lots of smart people in our industry have been talking about giving store associates smart tools to allow them to do a better job selling to shoppers, but I have never experienced as seamless an experience as this. I saw associates use a single hand held device as a phone, as an app, and to show video explanations of the products. And they shared their tools with me right there in the store next to the products that I eventually bought. Great service!

As I thanked George (I think), I asked how I could thank him in a way that would be recognized by his managers for the great service he provided. He suggested that I complete the survey listed on the register tape. And to write in his name, George (I think). He said that his managers take special notice when that happens.

Well, there’s got to be a better way to do that – nobody fills out those surveys. And I don’t really remember if his name really was George. To help associates consistently deliver great service, there has to be an easier way for shoppers to thank associates in a meaningful way. So that both managers and associates know that they are fulfilling their mission. And can feel the pride of a job well done. That’s what we’ve been building at becco!.

Final note - as much as George (I think) surprised me, I also surprised George. He was so pleased that I asked how to recognize his service, that he came back to me and shook my hand. It was a very personal experience. It’s the way retail in-store shopping experiences should be.

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