Consumer Reports recently released a report based on a survey that asked 63,000 people to pick their favorite grocery store and rate their experiences week in and week out. More than 111,000 shopping trips were considered, and now consumers have spoken, naming the Worst Grocery Stores in the country. Seriously, they really hate these brands.
According to the report, there’s a 3-way tie for grocers that receive the most hate from their unwilling but sometimes unable to choose otherwise shoppers. Those offensive brands: Walmart, A&P and Waldbaum’s.
While it might be easy to assume the reason customers complain about these places (but shop there anyway) is that these retailers focus more on price than customer service. There’s some truth to that. When was the last time you saw enough registers open in Walmart, or found a customer service person who offered actual service when you needed it?
So, there’s some traction in the thought that these offenders should get better in how they deal with customers, but that’s not the only reason they finished at the very bottom of the pack.
The common denominator for all three low-scoring chains was not customer service. It was low-quality produce, meats, and bakery products. Shoppers may love to save money on groceries, but they expect a certain level of quality in the fresh food departments. Wilted lettuce and suspect beef are not the way to win hearts and minds in the grocery PR business. Consumers want baked goods to look and taste fresh, or, at least, better than the pre-packaged stuff they can get in the cookie aisle.
At least one of these three brands admits its quality-based failings. Walmart is in the process of a massive campaign hoping to convince shoppers their quality is getting better all the time, particularly in the fresh food departments. In addition, Walmart is (finally) listening to customer complaints related to their notoriously abysmal service. In a two-part strategy to improve their horrible customer service reputation, Walmart is giving employees raises and better benefits, and they promise better training and advancement opportunities – moves the chain hopes will result in happier and more attentive employees. Now, if they just had enough to open one more register…or maybe two.