AKRON, Ohio -- West Point Market here is one of 10 companies and the only supermarket featured in a new book on top-quality customer service.
In connection with the book, the retailer was profiled in a recent segment of ABC's "Good Morning, America."
The author, Leonard L. Berry, a professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, was interviewed at West Point Market, a single-unit independent, with company President Russell Vernon.
The book is called, "Leonard L. Berry on Great Service -- A Framework for Action."
Other companies featured in the book include Home Depot, Taco Bell, Hard Rock Cafe, Mary Kay Cosmetics and a particularly successful automobile dealership, Longo Toyota/Lexus in Los Angeles. In the TV interview at West Point, Berry told Good Morning, America's business reporter that he thought customer service in most retail stores is bad, adding that he would give them a grade of C minus for service. "That's an average," he said.
But he would award West Point Market an A plus without hesitation, Berry told SN.
"They just might be the best retailer in America," he said. Asked to clarify whether he meant among food retailers, Berry said, "No. Among all retailers. They do such an excellent job with merchandising as well as with service."
He begins his book with a letter to West Point from one of its customers. In the letter, the customer points out that she comes to Akron from Columbus, Ohio, about 50 miles away, at least once a month to shop. Then she describes how, on a recent visit to the store, staffers quickly came to her rescue as she tried to juggle her baby and a food tray while she was paying for her food.
"I know West Point goes out of the way to hire good people. The hiring process is long," he told SN. "It pays off."
West Point's Vernon was asked in the TV interview what he thinks separates his store from other supermarkets. His answer: "Our attention to customer service. We baby our customers and worship our staff." Berry told SN he became acquainted with West Point Market nearly 10 years ago and has visited it several times. His book will be published Jan. 13 by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, New York.