Customer Service Can Be Too Efficient
After moving to Rochester, NY my wife and I have heard one resounding question, “Have you been to Wegmans yet?” If you haven’t lived in the northeast I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know what Wegmans was; I didn’t. It’s a grocery store. At first I figured people were asking me about a local restaurant . I couldn’t figure out why anyone would care about my frequenting a grocery store? Then I went to Wegmans. It’s notable, but not perfect. Rather, it’s too perfect.I’ll be first to say that I was not an instant believer in this food market franchise. Initially, I found Wegmans to be busy, unorganized, narrow-aisled, dimly-lit and just plain confusing. It has grown on me and has become our preferred grocer. Wegmans though has one major flaw: the customer service to too efficient.
I have two kids. We typically like to go to the grocery store as a family but I’m finding that difficult at Wegmans. Between the two kids, a car seat (sometimes if the baby is asleep), and of course the diaper bag, my wife and I are packing over 60 pounds into the store. I normally try to park near a cart return to minimize the pack-mule effect but that doesn’t help any at Wegmans.
Wegmans’ service is so efficient the cart returns are continually empty, even on the busiest days. Their super-service-efficiency is actually a deterrent for me. Because they strive to have the best customer service I’m left out in the parking lot like a mule.
Some retailers have designated expectant mother, newborn or family parking areas. If Wegmans really wanted to provide excellent customer service maybe they could designate a family parking area with a cart return that also allows for easy cart retrieval. This doesn’t necessarily need to be the closest and most preferred parking. Walking a distance isn’t the issue. The issue is getting the entire family from the car to the store safely. Even if I encourage my toddler to walk I don’t have a free hand to hold his and keep him safe.
If Wegmans really wants to be the top in service they should create a “cart cul-de-sac”. At the family parking area a single-cart-width return could allow for easy return. The return would be a semi-circle track that allowed the to automatically nest in one another. At the other end of the track a simple retainer and latch could keep the carts from spilling out the other side. By creating such a return parents could easily retrieve and return their cart near to where they have parked.