Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Impact of Johnny, a Lowly Grocery Bagger

I just watched an amazing video. The address is I rarely recommend a video but this one is very special and makes a great point about the impact of making customers feel special. It is a story about a Down's syndrome bagger by the name of Johnny. I am putting this in my blog because I don't ever want to forget the impact of even the lowest job in an organization on customer loyalty.

In essence the story of Johnny the Down's syndrome bagger at a local grocery store starts with the store hiring a consultant to provide training to the staff about customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. The training included everyone who touched the customer and that included Johnny.

Johnny listened carefully to the consultant and wondered how he could increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. He concluded that he could make the customers feel special by giving them a thought for the day. His answer was to give every customer whose bags he packed a thought for the day on a piece of paper with his name on the back. His father printed out a number of copies for Johnny each day and Johnny signed his name. Then he would place one of the slips of paper in the bag of each shopper that went through his line.

Within a few weeks the number of people waiting in the line for Johnny to bag their groceries was 3 times as long as the other lines. When the store manager tried to get people to use the other lines, those in line would simply say they were willing to wait for Johnny. One customer went so far as to tell the store manager that she used to frequent the store once a week but now she comes to the store every day to get Johnny's thought for the day.

The bottom line is that the business increased and the customer loyalty increased. Other employees caught Johnny's desire to think of something that will make the customer feel special and amplified the impact that Johnny had initiated. The second lesson is that customers WANT to feel special and when we can do that REALLY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN!


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