Serving Up Service

Bosselman's Pump & Pantry takes customer service to another level, survey shows

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

CSP Mystery Shop

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. -- Finding the trick to providing strong customer service across a chain of 50 stores is no small task, but one such chain proves that sticking to its mission that includes friendliness and fun makes all the difference.

The Grand Island, Neb.-based Pump & Pantry chain, owned by Bosselman Holdings, took the No. 1 rank for the subcategory of customer service in this year's expanded CSP-Service Intelligence Mystery Shop survey of seven chains under 150 stores. It scored a 95.2% rating overall for customer service, with second place going to NOCO Energy Corp. at 91.7%.

Bosselman's mission is supported by five principles: cleanliness, pride in your work, integrity, friendliness and fun.

"Our managers have cubicles here in the office, but most of the time, they're out in the field," Charlie Bosselman, company president, told CSP Daily News. "They're taking the mission statement, emphasizing those points and hammering them home all the time."

But reinforcement only works when employees already have a bent towards customer service, he said. "Ultimately, customers service is not something … you can train," he said. "You can't hire an 18 year old kid who won't say boo to anybody. It's not the personality you want to hire."

In prior years, the survey focused on chains over 150 stores, with those results this year finding La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. No. 1 overall, beating out seven other chains for the top spot in that grouping.

For more details on that half of the study, look to the August issue of CSP magazine.

During an eight-week period this past spring, shoppers filled out questionnaires pertaining to the major survey categories, with some carrying more weight than others. They visited the stores 80 to more than 100 times during the course of the study, which means that for some chains, the same store may have been shopped more than once.

A review of the results is in the September issue of CSP magazine.

Overall, Pump & Pantry outdistanced the pack with a 96.5% score. York, Pa.-based Rutter's Farm Stores (57 stores) came in second with a 92.4% overall score, followed by Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppes, Canastota, N.Y. (86 stores), with an 88.6% rating. The average score was 89%.

The other chains shopped in alphabetical order in this category were Folk Oil and its PS Food Marts, Homer, Mich. (31 stores); NOCO, Tonawanda, N.Y. (105 stores); Parker's, Savannah, Ga. (30 stores); and Ricker's, Anderson, Ind. (110 stores).

"Our readers continually express the importance of operational excellence and customer service as differentiators," said Mitch Morrison, vice president and group editor for CSP Business Media, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. "Expanding the survey to smaller chains was a way to gain better insight into a retail channel that continually strives to surprise and delight its customers."

CSP Business Media serves the news and educational needs of the convenience-retail and foodservice channels with print and online publications, as well as through year-round roundtable meetings and larger annual conferences. Its readership include top executives from major convenience-store chains and restaurants to single-site, mom-and-pop operators.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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