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Our Local Target Is Showing How to Rock Customer Service

customer serviceEnjoy this guest post by Kim Fourman, aka Mrs. Luke1428.

I recently had a great experience with Target’s customer service – and it wasn’t the first time.

Where’s My Kid?

About three years ago, I was shopping at our local Target (or Tar-jay if you’re cool like that) with my then 3 year old son. I was up at the kids’ clothing section near the front of the store when all of a sudden – I can’t find the 3 year old. Gone. I look around calmly at first, and then with a little more panic.

If you’re a parent, you know the feeling of dread that grows and grows when you can’t find your child.

An employee asked me if I needed anything, and all I said was, “I can’t find my son.” She said something into her walkie-talkie, and the store immediately went into lockdown mode. Every employee had a job.

A group of workers was watching the doors. Another group of workers went to go check the restrooms. Others were assigned to canvas every department in the store. Even the side fire doors were guarded.

Even though we hadn’t found my son yet, I started to calm down knowing that if he was still in the store, he was going to be found soon. And, it turned out we did find him in the circular racks of dresses in the girls’ department. Grrrrrr.

Needless to say, I was relieved, but I was incredibly impressed with how Target handled the situation. It was clear that they take missing children seriously and that they had drilled for the situation. I made sure to write a note to the manager later on that evening to thank him or her for the preparation that was involved in what happened that afternoon. I have told (and am continuing to tell) lots of people about that.

Revenge of the Spiderman Swirl Kicks

Fast forward to this past Saturday – same kid (not surprising if you know him!) – same Target store. The whole family was in the back of the store trying on shoes. The now 6-year-old was in the aisle of the store trying to put everyone in a spidey-web by doing a cool Spiderman spin kick move.

Well, apparently his own feet kind of got in the way and he ended up doing a face plant right on the hard floor. He looked at us with a look of shock. Then we saw the blood beginning to flow from his nose and his mouth.

He did what I call the “for real cry” – you know the one – the cry when your kid is really hurt, and not just surprised, scared, or trying to get attention.  I scooped him up and sprinted up towards the bathroom to get some paper towels. We got the blood somewhat stopped, but we discovered that he lost a tooth – his very first – in the incident (which we never did find).

As I was sitting out by the registry area, a worker noticed us and asked me if he was OK. I told her what had happened and asked her for a bag of ice. She came back quickly with the ice, but also with free Icees for Mr. Spiderman AND his 3 siblings!

I was completely shocked with how kind she was. It really made the whole situation quite a bit better. And, again, I made sure to let the manager know how impressed I was with the customer service at his store.

The Value of Good Customer Service

So, what is this good service worth?

Well, admittedly, I can be a bit of a crank when it comes to shopping retail. But, I also have worked in the service industry, and I know the value of a good word by a customer. I believe that Target more than made up for the cost of the Icees by the goodwill it has gained from my family. I think that the best way that we as the public can encourage good customer service is by recognizing it and saying an encouraging word when it happens.

The next time a retailer goes the extra mile for you, make sure you spread the good word.

Questions: Do you have a similar customer service story of when something exceptional happened while you were out shopping?  Do you try to spread good news about others?

Image courtesy of someecards.com

Author Bio: Kim Fourman is a licensed CPA, working at Loggins, Kern & McCombs, CPAs. She loves shopping at Target and can truly never buy just one item there. You can connect with her on Twitter.

Next Post: This One Thing Started Our Process of Doing Successful Budgets

Prior Post: Bugs Bunny’s Quest to Beat Cecil Turtle Cost Him Dearly



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  1. I agree with DB40…you can definitely get a great return on investment when you provide great customer service. I think that’s what brick and mortar retail stores really have to focus on rather than cutting costs to keep prices as low as online stores. I’m pretty frugal, but I’ll pay a little more if it’s worth it. And I also like to rewards great service. I’m a big fan of Target by the way.

    • You know, this story and this blog post won’t make a ripple in Targets bottom line, they are too big. But, if something like this happened at a mom and pop store, it could really make a difference.

  2. Done by Forty says

    It’s unreal to see what the ROI on that kind of customer service can be. In all likelihood, they’ve cemented a customer relationship for life: easily tens of thousands of dollars. When you think about the possibility of OTHER people now being customers for life, just by hearing about this story, it could be hundreds of thousands…

    • Wait, what? Me spend tens of thousands of dollars at Target?? *sigh* I think you may have hit the nail right on the head. Seriously, though, you have a great point…they have cemented my business. I can’t think of a time now when I would just go 1/2 mile down the road to Wal-mart.

  3. Holly Johnson says

    That is pretty amazing! I’m glad to hear that Target has a plan of action in place if a child goes missing. That’s awesome!

    • It sure made me feel better at the time — I’m sure somewhere in the country their procedure has actually stopped a child abduction. If that’s the case, then all the training was certainly worth it.

  4. Sounds like you’re on a first name basis with the manager at Target now. When are you bringing them out for burgers and drinks!
    It’s nice when you actually get service that makes you grateful. I feel like the standard service these days is apathetic employees. But maybe that’s just how it is at my local grocery store, I don’t really go out shopping much these days.

    • You’re right — today’s standard seems to be apathetic. What was it, Texaco that used to be known for the guys that came out and washed your windshield and checked your oil when you filled up for gas? That would be nice to see again.

  5. Not too long ago the most polite young man worked a drive-through window at McDonalds. I seriously hoped that my own young men/sons are as kind as he was! Anyway I called the number on my receipt to let the manager know. I asked that they put a note in his file (in case it gets passed on to future employer).

    • oh, wow, Karen, that’s great! Hopefully, the McDonald’s manager rewarded the young man! I’m sure the manager wants to do all he/she can to keep employees that know how to treat a customer.

  6. I’ve never had an incident at Target to compare, but I do think their customer service is way above and beyond similar stores,especially Wal Mart. I had a wonderful customer service experience a while back at Qdoba and wrote a similar post about it. I think so many times we tend to talk about the bad experience and the good ones get swept under the rug. I do think it’s as important or more important to share those as well.

  7. Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde says

    That’s so interesting! Our Tarjay back at home was so disorganized I considered writing the franchise to tell them how poorly run it was! That is so sweet about the icees!

    • An odd thing is that another customer stopped and told me to fill out a report in case I wanted to sue later. That had honestly never even crossed my mind because my son didn’t trip on anything. The floor wasn’t wet or slippery, he was just being 6.

  8. That is amazing. That must have been a very special Target because I have never gotten that good of customer service ever in one of their stores. I am glad they took things seriously especially when your child was lost. That should have been a major crisis and it was averted.

    • I kind of hope that my Target isn’t that special and that the missing child thing is standard for all their stores. It really made me feel better that they knew what to do.

  9. mrs. jim says

    Wow! I cried when I read about your son missing (and practically threw up) and then lmao when he was found – of course that’s where he was! Where else would a kid hang out in Target. I am exceedingly impressed with Target’s responses in both situations. Good for you for spreading the word and thanking them.

  10. What a wonderful story!!! My son fell out of a shopping cart at our local food store and hit his head on the floor and you couldn’t find a single person to get help for us. It really left a bad taste in our mouths, so when you get someone who goes above and beyond, it REALLY makes an impact.

    • Oh no, I hope your son is OK! It’s hard to do things on your own when you have a hurt or sick child on your hands…a little help will go a long way

  11. Good customer service stories get repeated, so it really does pay back to the retailer, I think. I hope he’s okay. Poor kid. I love the spidey web description. I could see that whole thing going down in slow motion by your description!

  12. It is shocking to me how few retailers will go that extra mile. In a world where everything is the same and all at roughly the same price, the only difference in a shopping experience is customer service. It is, I think, a sign of indifference to your business when a retailer can’t be bothered to provide good customer service. I have had good experiences in the past at Target and will continue to go back to them.

    • You are right, Brad…in a homogenized world, it doesn’t take too much to stand out from the crowd. For us, it was just 4 Icees.

  13. I love Target too. And I am very impressed that they have such good lockdown practices in place when a child goes missing. It’s great that they take so seriously, even when they know that the likelihood of finding them in the girls’ dresses is high because you never know. Knowing this as a Mom, makes me feel even better about shopping there. I love great customer service and I wish more companies focused more attention on it. It makes a HUGE difference in the customer experience.

  14. Wow that’s some incredible service! Definitely great to hear they take missing kids so seriously. I shop at Target multiple times a week and have had generally good experiences (though one person at the pharmacy is such a terrible employee and always seems to be working – easy to remember the negative instead of positive…). I had absolutely incredible customer service from a plumber that helped us out when we had our sewer drain-out problem. I found him on Angie’s list and I recommend him to everyone.

  15. That’s great and it’s a sign of good management when employees react that quickly to situations like that.

  16. Awe poor kid! Sounds painful! I got chills when I read the lockdown story to see how well trained they are to make sure no kid is ever harmed under their watch. I can’t think of any exceptional customer service stories, but when I have a good one I do tend to spread the word, write a thank you, or good yelp review.

    • I think spreading the word is important, and hopefully it encourages more great customer service. I know it sure encourages me when I get an ‘atta girl’ at work

  17. Wow, that’s awesome! The service that is. 🙂 I’ve not had an experience, that I can think of, that has been the far above and beyond, but when it does I agree that it’s best to tell others about it. Unfortunately service like this is definitely in the rare category, though it is something I’ll pay more for.

    • I was thinking about that, too — John…being willing to pay more for good customer service. I guess that was why I was surprised that the good customer service came from a discount retailer like Target. Maybe it would be more expected at a high end store?

  18. What a great Target store! Hopefully they all do the missing children drills, but the Icees were above and beyond! Love that. It is, as you say, a great way to inspire customer loyalty.

    • Yes, I think you’re right — the missing children drills (sadly) should be a standard procedure, not “above and beyond”

  19. I LOVE when I get good customer service. It’s really not that hard and a little bit goes a long way. I’m a huge target fan, too, even though my card info was stollen when their system was hacked! At least nothing bad came from it, and I”m still happily shopping at Target!

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