Business, Shopping

Putting the service back into customer service

If you’re of my vintage or older, you might just remember the good old days of the ‘we-serve-you’ petrol stations.

Mum would pull the car into the station and a well dressed young man would appear and ask how he could serve us today. While he was ‘filling-her-up’ he’d clean front and back windscreens, check the oil and (sometimes) top up the air in our tyres. All this in the days of it costing five dollars to fill the car! My Dad did this for his first job as a teenager, and he took great pride in helping people look after their vehicles and making sure that they drove away happy. Now, it seems, we are so consumed with fast turnaround, ‘get-in-and-get-out-again-with-no-interaction’ in our daily lives that ‘service’ has pretty much been removed from the phrase ‘customer service’.

I’m glad to say, however, that customer service is alive and well in our Neck of the Woods!

I’m a devotee of shopping at Foodland because they are South Australian, support local producers and generally have a better range of brands at great prices — and our local Drakes Foodland Blackwood is no exception (and I love their upgraded and expanded premises too!).

The first time I shopped there though, I thought it was weird that my shopping trolley wouldn’t fit through the checkout aisle. I was so used to pushing the trolley through, loading it up with my filled shopping bags, and psyching myself up to negotiate the other shopping centre carparks, that I was completely confused when that darned shopping trolley simply would not cooperate!

The slightly bemused, and amused, check-out assistant informed me: “we don’t allow the trolleys out of the store; we’ll help you to the car with your bags”.

The feminist in me struggled with this for a fleeting moment — I usually cope with this, why am I having the right to tackle the carpark with a shopping-trolley-with-a-mind-of-its-own taken away from me? — then I decided that this service was, in fact, the best thing since sliced bread!

Store Manager Travis and Sales Assistant Jonathan at Drakes Foodland, Blackwood.

Store Manager Travis and Sales Assistant Jonathan at Drakes Foodland, Blackwood.

Now I delight in having lovely young men (and occasionally young ladies) escort me to my car, happy to chat about my day, ask me about my plans for the weekend and lift my copious bags of heavy groceries into the boot of my car. They are always well presented, polite and courteous.

Regardless of the reason for this service (I understand that the car park is ‘spatially challenged’; a problem that would obviously be exacerbated by the presence of shopping trolleys strewn everywhere), this is a unique feature that I would hate to see disappear from our local supermarket. How wonderful it is for the elderly in our community as well as parents with children on board. Another great reason to shop locally!

Service like that makes you feel special. But great customer service isn’t always so overt. Sometimes it comes in the little things people do … like the guys at Blackwood Butchers.

My family has a particular love for with schnitzels. Since I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant, this meal has (sadly) been removed from our menus — almost.


Steve and Nick – two of the great guys at Blackwood Butchers.

One afternoon while waiting for my daughter to arrive home on the school bus, my son and I visited Blackwood Butchers (at Magnet Shopping Centre) where I discovered their fantastic range of gluten free products. I was excited to find out that they could make me some gluten free to order! So order I did — enough ‘normal’ ones for the rest of the family for one meal and three gluten free for me — mentioning in passing that I’d freeze two of the three for future use. Dinner sorted for the next night! I’d collect them the next day and the Evans household would be very happy indeed.

When I returned the following day to collect our order, not only was I greeted with “hello Mrs Evans, here’s your order”, but the very thoughtful butcher had not only packaged my ‘special’ ones separately from the ‘normal’ schnitzels, but individually on foam trays, ready to put into the freezer. Happy days! Now THAT’s service.

I’m sure there are plenty of other examples of great customer service in our neighbourhood. Have you enjoyed great experiences like mine here or elsewhere in our neighbourhood? Please share some of them in the comments below.


Where are they?

Drakes Foodland, Blackwood — 240 Main Road, Blackwood SA 5051

Blackwood Butchers — 372b Shepherds Hill Road, Blackwood SA 5051


Top/featured image credit: Photo from National Library of Australia; nla.pic-an 24679811-v.• The Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Mr. J.S. Philp, watches Frank Patten of the Beulah Park Ampol service station refuel his car during the Handicapped Children’s Week Appeal, South Australia, December, 1955

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    1 May, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I have always had good service at at Blackwood Banner Mitre 10. Support a local hardware store!

    1. Reply
      Felicity Evans
      1 May, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks Jackie, I know that Dave will do it goes there on a regular basis, so it must be good!

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