Message from Mr. Sam
One year – 1988 – is about to wind down as we approach the last part of October and the end of our third quarter. With just one quarter to go – November, December, and January – we must all realize how important it will be to handle our customers in the best possible way. Every store needs to do the best possible job of planning work schedules so our customers can be checked out quickly, accurately, and with a full dose of our Wal-Mart friendliness. Don't we say and mean it? – LET'S TREAT OUR CUSTOMERS AS A GUEST IN OUR HOME – let them feel our sincere expressions, smiles, and appreciation for choosing to trade with us rather than with our competitors.
It seems I'm a broken record these days, but my major theme for a number of months now has been this matter of how can we all do the best possible job of taking care of and appreciating our customers. I know this is repetitious, and I recognize that a great percentage of our associates throughout Wal-Mart Country is already doing an exceptional job of customer service, but here are a few suggestions which, hopefully, will be good for us:
1. Especially during the upcoming season, don't forget our trademark: Rule #1 – THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. Rule #2 – IF THE CUSTOMER IS WRONG, REFUNDS OR WHATEVER, SIMPLY REFER TO RULE #1 WITH A SMILE AND APPRECIATION FOR ALLOWING US TO SATISFY THAT PERSON ... It is so simple. But, if I hear our customers, they like this best about Wal-Mart, maybe even more than our everyday low prices.
2. We have all our District Managers here in Bentonville today, and my subject will be a real challenge for all of us. "How can we get all of us to smile and greet every customer throughout our stores – front to back?" How great it would be if we would just look up from our work in the aisles, smile, and say, "Good morning. If I can help you, just call me." Or, "Thanks for coming in. Let me know if I can help you." Simply a smile (most important) and "Good afternoon." As I have said: it's magic! It doesn't add a penny to the cost of our operation, but what a difference it will make.
3. In every way possible, let all of our cashiers call our customers by name and actually thank them by name as they see their checks, credit cards or whatever.
4. I'd like to suggest that we introduce ourselves to our customers and thank them personally for doing business with us. We can all do it. Either in front of the checkouts or as our customers are checked out is an excellent opportunity for our Customer Service Managers, Assistant Managers and Managers to let our customers know they are special and appreciated.
5. Lastly, let's all rededicate ourselves to that very important promise to our customers: "YOU'RE ALWAYS NEXT IN LINE,” on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and especially nights or days at breaks or meal time. If we promise, let's do it.
We must do those things which set us apart from our competitors. I continue to see our competition improving all over these United States. Target is now pledging and moving to an everyday-low-price program, as has Kmart, Venture, Ames, and others with whom we compete. Our major advertising through the years has emphasized our people – our great associates – and the partnership which has been Wal-Mart.
Our customers have appreciated your friendliness, your helpful attitudes, our clean and well-stocked stores, and of course our everyday low prices. Let's all BRAINSTORM-IMAGINEER and come up with a plan in each store to achieve the five objectives I have outlined. Better yet, add to them or substitute your own goals of SPOILING OUR CUSTOMERS which I'm sure will be superior to my list of suggestions.
I'm going to ask each District Manager, today, to review with your management teams and associates your own plan for better and more friendly customer service during this crucial last quarter. Everyone in our industry is saying we can't have 10% plus in comparable store sales in November, December and January. Let's don't buy that! In Wal-Mart, we can, as we have proven in the past, accomplish the impossible. Can we do it? – achieve, across the board, a 10% same store sales increase in Sam's and our Wal-Marts – your loud, confident, and enthusiastic reply I can hear: Yes We Can! Many thanks my friends. Have a good season. I guess we could say that our Golden Quarter is upon us.
P.S. My brother, Bud, and I will leave this week for Texas to start the bird season at Falfurrias. We're taking eight bird dogs with us in that Cessna 414 and, of course, I'll be flying. I just hope we don't have a big dog fight over Bryan, Texas at 20,000 feet en-route. We'll see you around as we can.