by Carol Radice
A reputation of offering top-notch customer service is important for most retailers, but for Fareway this the heart of what makes it stand apart.
From its famous meat counter with packaged and cut-to-order meats to car carryout service and everything in between, Fareway focuses on making the customer experience a special one.
“If I had to pick one word that summarizes Fareway – it is trust,” said CEO Reynolds Cramer. “We work hard to build trust with our customers and make a difference every single day in their lives. Having trust is vital to building customer relationships, and it absolutely plays a role in where people choose to shop today.”
As Cramer pointed out, while the average customer spends less than 30 minutes in one of Fareway’s stores, the opportunity for employees to interact with that customer may add up to a mere five minutes.
“We understand the importance of being on point and making sure that every interaction equals a great customer experience,” he said. “We cannot have even one moment where we get lax, because that one moment will end up being the key takeaway in that customer’s mind.”
Walking down the aisle of a Fareway store, employees greet customers by name and ask how their day is going. And that is exactly how the leadership team wants the experience to begin – having every customer feel welcomed back.
“I love the fact that I hear from so many customers that such and such a store is ‘their Fareway.’ That is such an awesome feeling because it tells me they feel a sense of ownership with us,” Cramer said.
While many companies espouse similar philosophies and boast about being the best, customers often see through the facade, which is why Fareway takes things to the next level.
Rather than just putting words on a page, Fareway’s employees – from store clerks to management – demonstrate to customers each day why they should shop at a Fareway store.
For example, should something go wrong at any point during a visit, Fareway will do everything it can to make things right, even if that means the CEO personally drives to the shopper’s house with a replacement for a left-behind item or one that did not meet expectations.
Customers also know that every letter they send will be personally answered by the leadership team.
Fareway shoppers, CEO Cramer added, know the staff will do whatever it takes to ensure they are satisfied.
“From the moment that customer steps into our store until the time they get home, we want to do everything in our power to make sure that entire customer experience is a positive one,” Cramer said.
“If there is a breakdown at any point along that timeline, we want to make it right – even if that means hand delivering a replacement item to them.”
Cramer recalled the time a shopper messaged him to say a steak she cooked was tough.
“Maybe the steak was fine and maybe the person made a mistake cooking it, but you know what? We want that customer to be happy, so we will bring that person another steak or invite them to come back to the store and let us make it right,” he said.
“It is important that our customers feel they are heard and appreciated. This is what shopping locally means to us.”
Read more from The Shelby Report’s Retailer of the Year section.