A Publix Record of Customer Service

Sep 30, 2002

Publix has built its reputation “not so much with the lowest prices, but rather with immaculate stores in the right locations, savvy marketing, and well-trained and friendly employees who own stakes in the company”, says the Palm Beach Post.

Owning a piece of the company (Publix is an, ESOP, employee stock ownership program company) is often mentioned as a major reason that the grocery chain seems to attract more motivated and customer-service oriented associates.

Tom O’Connor, president, PublixDirect agrees. “That’s not an absolute, across-the-board (statement), but day in and day out, year in and year out, that’s a difference that sets us apart.”

The company’s reputation of service, it is believed, has given it a leg up on other grocers that have gotten into the consumer direct business. PublixDirect.com is meeting expectations set by its parent company and O’Connor says that the service set a record last week when it filled more than 7,000 orders.

PublixDirect is available in most of Publix’ Florida markets. It has yet to be rolled out in the Orlando and Atlanta markets as the grocer staffs up to meet demand. Mr. O’Connor expects service to begin in Atlanta next year. “It’s growing faster than I thought it would. That’s a good problem to have.”

Moderator’s Comment: Why is Publix viewed as being
more responsive to consumers than most of the retailers its competes with?

You always seem to hear about great service and clean
stores when it comes to Publix. Often, this is credited to the chain catering
to a more upscale demographic and being less affected by price comparisons with
other grocers. Still, we can’t help wondering why stores that serve less prosperous
consumers can not be just as clean and have associates that are just as helpful.
Clean stores and customer service are basic to success in the grocery business.
Anderson – Moderator

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