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The Public Loves Publix

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Some might call it Southern hospitality, but I think the politeness and civility shown to customers by Publix’ employees is much more than that – it’s a corporate culture and philosophy.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Publix, the largest employee-owned supermarket in the country, has earned many customer service awards in the last few years.  In 2010, it was awarded the “Customers’ Choice Award” by the National Retail Federation Foundation as well as being named one of the “10 Companies That Treat You Right” in a poll conducted by MSN Money-Zogby.

With more than 1,000 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee, it’s true that part of their customer courtesy is indeed Southern hospitality but in Florida, where I live, many Publix employees are transplants from the North, so I can’t attribute their superior customer service just to the more genteel South.

Simply put, Publix is legendary for its philosophy of pleasing the customer.  The company’s guarantee is to never knowingly disappoint its customers.  I can sure attest to that.

After recent foot surgery, I had to navigate the aisles of my local Publix using one of their motorized wheel chair carts.  Until forced to shop with one of these carts, I didn’t fully appreciate the troubles and issues handicapped people encounter daily.  When I needed to reach something on an upper shelf, luckily for me, I could stand up, balance my weight on my right foot and leg and actually get the item.

But at Publix, unlike other stores I frequented during my recuperation, if an employee was anywhere near, I didn’t have to attempt the reach – someone quickly came to my aid and offered to help.  And their help didn’t stop in the aisles.  It continued to the check-out counter and out into the parking lot, carrying the bags and returning the motorized cart to an electrical outlet so it wouldn’t conk out, mid-store on the next person (which is more than I can say for their competitors, but that’s a story for another blog!).

After reading that Publix was named was one of “Fortune” magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the 14th consecutive year in 2011, I realized that job satisfaction is another reason the company’s employees treat customers so well.  Publix is just one of 13 companies to make the prestigious list every year since 1998, the first year it was published.

Complying with such laws as the Americans with Disabilities Act is mandatory for all stores but Publix takes their duty beyond the written law.  As Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for Publix recently said when talking about customer satisfaction, “Being associate owned and operated allows our associates to take a personal interest in our business and our customers’ shopping experiences.”

Publix really does make shopping a pleasure — even shopping in a wheel chair.

By: Amy Campbell


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