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  Service Stars

The deli clerk who interrupted her work to help a customer decide

Satisfactory customer service is seldom memorable. What is memorable is poor service and service that goes the extra mile. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to change a routine customer service experience into one we will recall months later, we will tell others about and will cause us to become repeat customers. Those who do those little extras are truly Service Stars.

Christmas was only days away.  Amidst the shoppers crowded into Safeway we paused to scan the range of cheese products in the deli department.  Nearby, Shirley was busily replenishing another section of the display.  Interrupting her work, she asked whether she could help.

“Only if you can help us decide whether to buy a cheese ball, and which one to buy,” I replied.

“They are all very popular,” she responded, going on to explain what made each different.  “Some have liquor in them, and others don’t.  This one is coated with nuts, while this one has dried vegetables on the outside and this one has a coating of fine herbs. 

“This is the one we usually use when we prepare cheese trays,” she said, gesturing towards one of the cheese balls.

“Maybe we should stay away from nuts.  Our granddaughter could be allergic to them,” my wife suggested.

As if a detective searching for clues,  Shirley grabbed a cheese ball coated in herbs, turned it over and began to read the ingredients listed in fine print. 

She reported on her research.  “This one is OK.  There is no warning that it might contain nuts or have come in contact with nuts or nut products.”

Thanking her, we dropped not one, but two, cheese balls into our shopping cart.  Shirley resumed refilling the display. 
Once again, here is evidence that when service providers know their product, care about customers and take time to listen and provide information, customers will buy and buy more.


Nelson Scott offers several Customer Service Presentations, including Customer Service MAGIC: Changing Complainers into Loyal Customers; What Your Mother Taught You About Customer Service and other Training Resources developed by Service Quality Institute and the Vital Learning Corporation.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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