Customer Service of Wal-Mart and Target

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COMPARISON OF CUSTOMER SERVICES OF WAL-MART AND TARGET 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Prepared for

Dr. Grattan

Assistant Professor of English

North Carolina Wesleyan College 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Prepared by

Alexey Rumyantsev,

North Carolina Wesleyan College 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

November 21, 2011 
 
 

Introduction

I’m writing a customer service report that will compare quality of customer service in two competing companies. These companies should be located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. I will compare customer service experience in Wal-Mart and Target. I’m planning to visit both of the stores once and I pretend that I would like to buy a digital camera and need some information about different cameras. I will visit in these stores later this week. A main criterion that I will evaluate is the knowledge of the sales clerk because I need more detailed information about cameras. Other criteria that I will evaluate are for example that if it was easy to find a sales clerk and how long it took.

Both Wal-Mart and Target are department stores that provide a broad variation of different products. Wal-Mart stores carry general merchandise and a selection of groceries. Many of these stores also have a garden center, a pharmacy, Tire &Lube Express, optical center, one- hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, a bank branch, a cell phone store and a fast food outlet.  Target stores also carry general merchandise and selection of groceries and some stores also have a Target Photo and Starbucks Coffee.

According to Target.com Target was founded 1902 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as the Dayton Dry Goods Company. In 1962, the company opened its first Target store in nearby Roseville. Target has 1,750 stores in 49 states but it doesn’t have stores abroad. Corporate philosophy of customer service is to make Target the preferred shopping destination for our guests by delivering outstanding value, continuous innovation and an exceptional guest experience. Local store address is 731 Sutters Creek Blvd, Rocky Mount, NC. Phone number is 252 443-1195.  

According to Wal-Mart.com Wal-Mart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962. Wal-Mart has 8500 stores in 15 countries, with 55 different names. Wal-Mart has a philosophy to serve its customers by having very low prices instead of high-quality customer service. Local store address is 1511 Benvenue Rd, Rocky Mount, NC. Phone number is 252 985-2254.  
 
 
 
 

Parking and Entrance

On November 13th I decided to go to the Wal-Mart to evaluate their customer service. There were a lot of cars in the parking place when I arrived there about 3 p.m. Parking lot was about half full and I found a parking place about 120 feet away from the front door of Wal-Mart. There were shopping carts all over the parking place even if there is area where to put shopping carts. Sales clerks at the entrance didn’t say anything when I went in and my first observation was bright lights that were in huge contrast to dusk on outside. The Second thing that I realized was a small from the McDonalds; it smelled for French fries and burned baking oil. It was also noisy there because people were talking and all the refrigerators and freezers were burring. Main colors of the store were white and blue. All the signs of different departments were blue.

On November 12th  I visited in the Target and I was determined to go to the store at 5 p.m. because that would be equal to the time that I went to Wal-Mart. There were about 40 cars in the parking place so there was plenty of room. About four fifths of the parking place was empty so I found a place for my car about 50 away from the front door. Overall the parking lot was very clean despite of one empty fast food box from McDonalds. It was already quite dark outside when I parked my car so bright lights inside the store were again my first observation. After that, I smelled coffee and pastries.  I realized that smell came from the Starbucks Coffee which is on the right side of the entrance. Everything was very clean inside the store and overall color of the store was red. In addition to all this, it was remarkably quiet in the store. 

By comparing the parking and the entrance of these companies, I would say that Target was much better in this category. First of all parking place was much better in Target because there were no shopping carts all over the parking lot. I felt that my car is in better safe when I walked to store from the Targets parking lot. The difference between smells was a big factor too. The smell of coffee and pastries from Starbucks was much more enjoyable than smell from McDonalds in the Wal-Mart. The level of noise was very high in the Wal-Mart so silence of Target was very cozy. My overall impression of the entrance was also way better in Target. I felt that I was more welcomed when I arrived to Target.

Interaction with Sales Clerk

My goal was to find information about digital cameras because I’m about to buy one. I decided to go immediately to Wal-Mart’s electronics department where the cameras are located. I couldn’t find any available sales clerk for seven minutes and I was already about to leave when I finally got one sales clerk to help me. He was very friendly and said “Hi! How are you!” and then asked that “how can I help you?” I asked him to tell me something about digital cameras because I want to buy one but I don’t know anything about them. After that he walked with me to show cameras. There were a lot of different cameras and the average price was about $100. I told him that I didn’t want to spend more than $150 for a camera. So he started to tell me some basic information about different cameras and their various features. After a while I realized that this sales clerk didn’t really know much about what he was talking. He was just reading the text from the camera box. I listened to him about 9 minutes and then I asked him to tell me if he had some own experiences about cameras. He recommended one camera from Sony that he have had over 3 years and it was still working and the quality of pictures is really good. I said thank you for him and excused myself to leave, he replied with a “Thank you and have a good one!” for me.

At the same time when I was in the Wal-Mart I realized that I need to buy poker chips so I found my way to the area where they are selling toys and games. This time it took about 4 minutes to find available sales clerk to help me. I asked this lady that where I can find poker chips. First she didn’t even understand my question so I repeated it twice before she understood what I was looking for. After she understood she just told me “if we have some, they are in the sport department”. And after that, she just left to somewhere so I went to see poker chips but I couldn’t find any. Later I found out that poker chips are in the department where they have toys and games. The check-out process took about two minutes; one minute waiting on the line because there was only one customer ahead of me and one minute with the cashier to pay my purchase.

Again in the Target my goal was to ask for some information about digital cameras from the sales clerks. Since Target is not very big it took only a minute to find certain shelf where they have all the cameras. There was only one other customer looking for cameras but I didn’t see any sales clerks that would be able to help me. I was watching different cameras while I was waiting somebody to show up but after three minutes of waiting I asked from the other customer that does he has seen any sales clerk. He said that he hasn’t seen anyone so I decided to look around and I found one staff member who was at the videogame shelf. He was about 30 years old white male with army style hair. I asked him to help me with cameras that I needed some more information about them. He said “I am happy to help you sir.” This sales clerk really knew something important details about cameras and he was also able to explain in a way that even I was able understand more about cameras. He recommended one certain camera by saying that his wife has had old version of that camera now over five years and she hasn’t had any problems with it. This all took about five minutes from him. I wasn’t still certain about my camera choice so I showed my appreciation to him and excused myself. He said “Thank you sir! I hope that I was able to help you today.”

Next I thought that I should ask about poker chips since I tried to find them from Wal-Mart too. I ask next sales clerk that I met when I was walking around that do you guys have poker chips? This lady was very nice and responded saying “I’m not sure sir but you can check from sport department. That’s the only place we might have them.” In the end she decided to come with me to look for chips. We found one type of poker chips and I decided to buy them without thinking too much. I said my greetings for the sales clerk and she responded by saying “It was my pleasure to help you.” And then she added “Have a good one!”After that I paid my purchase which took only one minute because there were no other customers waiting on the counter and I paid with cash so I didn’t have to sign anything or waiting a credit card to go through the system. Cashier wished me a good night and thanks me for shopping in the Target today.

In the both stores I was forced to wait before I got attention of sales clerks but the waiting time was couple of minutes later in the Target. Both sales clerks that told me about cameras were very nice and polite, but in the Target I was able to get more actual information about cameras other than details in the camera box. Both of them told about some own-life experiences which was very good since it gives more reliability about the cameras and about sales clerks.  There was a big difference between those two other sales clerks who where answering questions about poker chips. The one in the Wal-Mart was very rude and didn’t take care of her job at all. On the other hand, in the Target the sales clerk even walked with me to make sure that I will find what I’m looking for. Overall I felt that customer service in the Target was much better when I actually had interaction with people. Sales clerks really knew what they are talking about. A number of sales clerks compared to amount of customers weren’t that significant difference even if waiting time in the Wal-Mart was a little bit more.

Restrooms

I visited in the restrooms of both companies to evaluate purity since bathrooms are important part of customers experience in the store. When I went to a bathroom in Wal-Mart I saw that everything was very clean. Only exception were couple of paper towels in the floor because somebody had missed to trash can. After that I went see actual toilet bowls and they were all clean but some of them were not flushed. Target’s bathrooms were also very clean and there were no paper towels on the floor. Some of the toilets were not flushed. So both companies had very nice and clean bathrooms. It’s almost impossible to watch that all the toilets are flushed because somebody should go there after each customer had come out.

Internet Customer Service

Next I’m going to describe and evaluate web pages of these two companies. Both companies are offering a lot of different kinds of offerings and sales in their front page. Electronics are important part of their strategy when targeting customers because there are a lot of different electronics in the front page. Especially Target is concentrating for electronics. Gift cards for customers are offered by both companies. Online shopping is made very easy in both web sites; it is possible to buy products without signing in but customers can also do an account which would make online shopping easier next time. Web pages are organized little differently since Wal-Mart has categories listed on the left of the page and Target has them listed on the top of the page. Overall both companies has same kind of strategy how they are offering Internet customer service. There is no advantage for either of the companies in this category of customer service.

Conclusion

So based on my visits in these two stores I’m able to evaluate overall customer service that they provided for me. Starting from the beginning which was parking and entrance I will say that Target has big advantage because customers feel much more comfortable when he is able to park his car for the parking place that is clean and in order. Also the first impression in the Target is much friendlier and it feels like you want to enjoy your visit in the store. Also purity of Target is in different level than in Wal-Mart. In both stores it’s not easy to find sales clerks to help you and I think that this is a reason why both companies are able to sell products for cheap price. Quality and level of knowledge of sales clerks is much higher in the Target based on my experience. Also cashiers and sales clerks are friendlier and they are talking more clearly than in Wal-Mart. Both companies are offering discounts and cheap prices that they are offering in the webpage. Based on these all aspects of customer service, I will say that Target is way better in its customer service than Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s biggest problem is knowledge of its sales clerks and they really should improve that part. Target should improve availability of its sales clerks so that customers should not look for help when they need it.  

  

Описание работы
I’m writing a customer service report that will compare quality of customer service in two competing companies. These companies should be located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. I will compare customer service experience in Wal-Mart and Target. I’m planning to visit both of the stores once and I pretend that I would like to buy a digital camera and need some information about different cameras. I will visit in these stores later this week. A main criterion that I will evaluate is the knowledge of the sales clerk because I need more detailed information about cameras. Other criteria that I will evaluate are for example that if it was easy to find a sales clerk and how long it took.
Both Wal-Mart and Target are department stores that provide a broad variation of different products. Wal-Mart stores carry general merchandise and a selection of groceries. Many of these stores also have a garden center, a pharmacy, Tire &Lube Express, optical center, one- hour photo processing lab, portrait studio, a bank branch, a cell phone store and a fast food outlet. Target stores also carry general merchandise and selection of groceries and some stores also have a Target Photo and Starbucks Coffee.
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