A winning formula of satisfied customers, happy staff and proud shareholders has seen KWIKSPAR Riverbend achieve recognition by being named the Eastern Cape Store of the Year in its category.
Announced at the SPAR Eastern Cape Members Meeting at the Boardwalk Casino last month, the store in Gonubie, outside East London, was among a number of retailers honoured for their outstanding customer service.
Store owner Götz von Westernhagen said their priority was to make sure they acted on information they received from their consumers.
“We listen and react within reason to what our customers say and have very good feedback via Facebook and other digital media,” he said.
“Also, our store managers are always on the floor interacting with the customers and experiencing their needs.”
He added that they took up opportunities to support the local community as well.
“For example on the most recent Mandela Day, together with the garden service that we use, some of the staff went out and cleaned Main Road in Gonubie, which is 7km long.
“They received amazing recognition and ended up filling about 60 bags of refuse.”
Despite winning the provincial and national awards in the KWIKSPAR category in 2013, Von Westernhagen said the latest recognition came as a complete surprise.
“I must be honest we were absolutely flabbergasted as it was unexpected,” he said.
“We only realised that we were potentially winning a prize when the statistics of the store and the photos were displayed at the SPAR meeting.”
He said he felt it was in a retailer’s DNA to make sure they ran a high-quality operation which led to this sort of recognition.
“I think any retailer who does not want to be a winner denies himself or herself the prestige attached to winning.
“And, of course, the award is recognition of the achievement.”
He added that these sorts of awards helped to create a competitive environment which led to better quality service.
“Everyone else is also aiming to improve so it keeps us on our toes and we really appreciate the staff incentive that came with the prize.”
Von Westernhagen said a lighting upgrade had made a big difference to their operations.
“The challenge for a retailer is that the customers constantly want better value and we always have that in mind as we go forward.”