WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY ITS IMPORTANT — It’s no coincidence that Publix and Wegmans are two companies that also routinely wind up at the top of customer service surveys — testimony that satisfied employees who enjoy their workplace generally add that special ingredient to customer service. Having a totally energized work force, and knowing what it takes to keep them that way, that's the "secret sauce" in retailing.
(THE NEWS: Fortune names Wegmans, Whole Foods, Publix top employers. For the full story, click here)
In June 2010, Publix and Wegmans ranked No. 5 and 13, respectively, out of 27 on Bloomberg Businessweek’s Customer Service Champs 2010 list.
The business news organization credited Publix for installing an auto-replenishment system in 2009 that improved out of stocks by 19%. But Publix also is one of the country’s largest employee-owned companies, and attaching $2,326 — the average amount awarded to employees holding Publix’ privately held stock in 2009 — to exemplary customer service can’t hurt the shopper experience, either.
Wegmans is another employer that invests heavily in its employees. Wegmans’ budget for customer service courses increased 13% in 2009 to $27.3 million, despite the fact that the country was in the middle of a recession. Another employee perk that hasn’t been cut because of a bad economy is tuition scholarships — 1,424 Wegmans employees explored higher education opportunities in 2009, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.