These Associates Serve Customers on Their Last Stop Before Coachella

Being #RetailForward means serving many different types of customers. This team goes above and beyond to serve shoppers who are on the way to a music festival. It gets wild.

All stores have unique customers, but those who visit Store 2181 in Indio, Calif., every April really stand out. These customers are on their way to one of the world’s biggest music and arts festivals (it drew 125,000 attendees per weekend in 2017) in nearby Coachella Valley. The store is a last stop before a weekend of music in the desert. 

“I love working during the festival. You get to see people from different countries coming to one event, which is amazing,” says Johnny G., asset protection assistant manager. 

Here’s what the store’s team had to say about how to prepare for and cater to any customer.

Expect the Unexpected

“The biggest challenge is to anticipate what needs the customer is going to have,” says Store Manager Benny M.

That means being prepared for anything. Sarah R., assistant manager, says, “We have some very unusual requests, and we actually provide it for them. We find and order the weirdest things.”

Go Beyond With Service

“We adjust schedules to where the needs are going to be,” Benny says. “I might not need associates at 6 p.m., but I might need them at 5 a.m., when people are waiting at the front of the store.”

“My asset protection team moves around our PTV camera system and looks for anything that could be a safety concern. Or if we see merchandise getting low, we can call it out or go fix it,” says Johnny.

“Last year, a customer climbed on our furniture and passed out,” says Sarah. “We told him, ‘You might want to buy some water because you look a little dehydrated. You’re a little lobster-ish.’ We try to help out when we see they’re a little silly-fied.”

Enjoy the Fun Parts

“Two years ago, it was so windy that the festival wouldn’t let people go on the grounds. So we had them in our parking lot for a whole day,” says Sarah. “We personally went out and gave them trash bags and bottled water and offered to let them come inside and freshen up a little bit.”

“The family type of environment that we created out there—I think it was pretty cool,” says Benny. “People were very appreciative of us allowing them to be here when they didn’t know where to go.”  

“During the festival, we’re more than just a store,” says Johnny. “It’s more like a welcoming environment.”

“Anything we get as far as compliments—we like it,” says Johnny. “We let our team know that what we did was good, and it wasn’t just one person who did it. It was everybody.”

Staffing for a Big Event

Here’s how Sarah recommends getting ready for an influx of customers.

  • Make sure there’s a cashier at every register.
  • Overstaff on maintenance. “We’ll be so busy, believe it or not, that the parking lot gets full of trash,” says Sarah. “So about every half-hour to an hour, maintenance goes out and picks up all the bags and all the trash that’s left under the trees and stuff to keep our parking lot clean.”
  • Put an extra person on each of the entrances. Put two extra people on the floor.
  • Have associates on the floor who are ready to engage with customers who may need an item that’s in a lockup, such as liquor.

For more stories, advice, and inspiration, download your copy of the Winter issue of Walmart World here!

 
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