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The Day Walgreens Schooled Me in the Art of Customer Service

I admit it:  I have the world’s lowest tolerance for poor customer service.

At the same time, it delights me to no end when a business treats me well.  I know how much work goes into creating a memorable customer experience, and so when I have one, I want to tell everyone about it.

The tale:  A late holiday-prep start left me scrambling to throw together a Christmas card, and I decided to just create one in Photoshop and have it printed in town (there was no time to involve my regular, professional lab).  I called Walgreens and asked if they could print a custom design onto their 4×8 paper.  The employee didn’t think so, but she fetched a manager.  He came on the phone and apologized, saying that due to their software constraints, they could only print one of their premade designs onto that paper.  OK, it was worth asking.  I threw together a 5×7 design, and a few days later I ordered some regular ol’ prints.

When I went to collect them, I saw that they were in a bigger box than I expected – and I opened it to find not only the prints, but a whole stack of cream-colored envelopes.  One for every print.  The employee (who had answered the phone when I had called) said she was sorry that I wasn’t able to print it on the 4×8 paper, and she had asked her manager if it was OK to give me some envelopes for my self-designed cards.

Jaw.  Dropped.

This is a drugstore we’re talking about – a big chain with policies and rules and hundreds of customers in the store daily.  I wasn’t even upset that I couldn’t use the 4×8 paper – I understand that it’s a huge company and the decisions are made higher up.  But one employee decided that it wasn’t enough.  She recognized my order when it came through online, she remembered what I had been wanting a few days before, and totally of her own volition wanted to make up for what they couldn’t provide me with – even though it wasn’t her “fault” and I wasn’t even upset about it!

The kicker is, I went back a day later because I needed a few more prints – and yes, there were the envelopes again.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me take a good hard look at my own business practices.

  • What am I doing to make my clients’ busy lives easier?
  • Do I go out of my way to perceive and fill their needs, spoken and unspoken?
  • Do I remember things that they tell me, and take that into account when providing service?
  • If I don’t think I can provide something they want, do I exhaust all possibilities before saying no?  If it can’t be done, do I try and make up for it in some other way to show them how much I still appreciate their business?
  • Do I incorporate the power of small gestures into my product deliveries?  Am I personalizing those gestures to each client in some way?

Well done, Walgreens.  Thanks for showing me that you cared, thus permanently ensuring that I’ll use your services again.  And talk about your services to friends and strangers alike.



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  1. Lisa Rosser on December 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I must say I have had the same type of experience at Walgreens in the last two weeks as well. I began usin ghtem in the last two weeks because of the tardiness of my usual printer. They have surprised me with their amazing service. They recognized that my photos were professional and asked for a Print Release from the photographer. Being a NEW studio owner this made my heart SMILE. They have provided me with excellent service even giving me a 65% discount because or the trouble I was having getting my photos to download to their computers. I am amazed at the quality they hand me as well. If I have any problem with the pictures they immediately refund me the money and reprint and FIX the problem. I really am extremely pleased with Walgreens! Kudos Walgreeens!!!!

    • Jenika on December 19, 2011 at 7:10 pm

      That’s awesome! So cool to hear. I’m also glad they’re on top of things with print releases, actually respecting copyrights in this easy-steal digital world.

  2. Melanie Miriam on January 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    You’re quite the lucky gal! Honestly our drugstores here (in canada) are no where near as photographer friendly, and their print service is less then professional in quality.

    Such a shame, I really do miss the walgreens of the bay area! *sigh*

    • Jenika on January 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Haha, thanks Melanie. 🙂 Although I couldn’t substitute Walgreens prints for any pro purposes, they’re better than other consumer-grade prints I’ve found around here. Combine that with outstanding customer service and wow! I’m a fan. 🙂

      Happy new year!

  3. Cales on February 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I, too, get a huge kick out of amazing customer service! It really makes my day! Thanks for reminding me that we can, in turn give that to our clients. Asking myself the above posted questions is a really great idea.

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