I guess I am a little bit biased when it comes to supermarkets here in Indonesia, after all I spent 16 years working within food retail in England before my life changing experiences which brought me here.
16 years of being 'managed' and 'managing' both employees and customers to ensure the business and peoples expectations were met.
Working 12 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week, with midnight and early morning calls to discuss problems with the business I was running.
I started working in a corner shop around 12 or 13 bagging up potatoes and doing deliveries from a very small shop in town before being lured to the big lights of the towns only supermarket, Safeway, where I used to push trollies and refill the sugar section at night.
From College I went to work full time and then joined the management training programme, got a car and never really looked back. Rising up through management levels and positions and stores to ultimately become a store manager and be the big boss. It was the ultimate challenge and driver and whilst it ruined by social and personal life it was the ulitmate kick as I was the boss!!!!
I learnt many things a long the way all of which helped me become that manager,
So here I am now, shopping as a customer in Indonesia, in one of the worlds largest chains of Superstores, hypermarkets etc and one of its main rivals is the English born Tesco which does a great job where ever it is. The place I am talking about is Carrefour.
I like Carrefour. I like its electronics, the household stuff and the bakery. On the weekend you can buy cheap pizza already cooked. You can't buy it on a Tuesday morning at 10.30am.
They are big big places, full of people, full of staff and full of the least smiling people I have ever seen.
I was taught that shopping was to a rewarding experience where the customer was delighted with their shopping, prices, range of goods and most of all the service.
Service - The key to any customer facing business the world out.
In my local Hero, the fruit man runs around after me with a trolley convincing me to put my 2 baskets into that to help me, they pack my bags quickly, don't get in the way and are generally pleasant, even the security guards are not too suspicious of me!!!
Back to Carrefour.
I shop at Central Park so its nice and new and clean. Lots of things there I could buy. But the one thing that makes me angry (this is a British thing I believe as we are taught about such things) is the service at the checkouts. They do have conveyor belts which I have yet to see work, but thats ok.
They have though the least convincing service standards. Lack of care, lack of speed, lack of organisation and lack of consistency from the cashier.
Every time I go there something does not scan, the cashier wont help so I can't have it, or the cashier wanders off to find a price leaving the queue, me and the other customers waiting for their return so the transaction can be complete.
The bag packing is terrible and there is little or no support in this area. Prices are wrong and so on and so on. But the service and the training is the one thing that just lets them down.
I can't believe that a company this big competing for customers and in an ever growing market fails everytime to offer good and simple service which is quick and competent.
I left there today after an hour (of which 30 minutes was spent queueing in the basket lane) disappointed and without the basics I need and the satisfaction I like when I do shop. You know smiles and thank yous, the basics in life.
I should like to meet the manager and find out the importance of service over profits, as one drives another.
Right rant over..........