The award goes to Badger Wholesale in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Here’s why:
I was chatting with Dean Tenor last week, when his phone rang. Dean is the owner of Dairy Deans, a small ham ‘n egger eatery overlooking Lake Michigan in Algoma, Wisconsin. Dairy Deans is the kind of place where the coffee is strong, the portions are not just big but also good, and the locals gather every morning to chow down and chat. It’s a small business, but as long as Dean manages it closely, it provides a good living for his family.
So, as I said, while we were talking, Dean’s phone rang. He glanced at the number, frowned and said, “I’d better take this,” as he stepped out of the conversation.
He returned five minutes later, snapping his phone shut and grinning. “Boy, that call just saved me a few bucks,” he announced. As it turned out, the call was from a warehouseman at Badger Wholesale, a food vendor wholesale distributor in Green Bay.
“This guy — I never did catch his name — said he was going over my weekly order,” Dean explained, “and he wanted to confirm that I wanted 150 pounds of tomatoes. It didn’t sound right, but I really had no idea, so we went over the entire order.
“Finally, he came again to that 150 pounds of tomatoes, and I realized that it was supposed to be potatoes, not tomatoes. Big difference.
“Do you believe it? This guy just noticed that, based on my past orders, that 150 pounds of tomatoes didn’t sound right, so he took the initiative to call me up to double check. That’s customer service.”
I had to find out more, so I followed up with Badger Whole. Scott Van Den Heuvel, the store manager, almost shrugged off the incident. “With our business,” he told me, “customer service is number one. We’re not the biggest guys on the block, so we just have to be the best.”
No argument from me, Dairy Dean or any of Badger Wholesale’s other customers I talked with. Good job. With that kind of go-the-extra-mile-and-then-some attitude, Badger Wholesale is one of those businesses it’s downright fun to write about.
Lesson to be learned? You know what it is. Now just go out and do it. And while you’re at it — work hard, make money, have fun.
– John R. Ingrisano
The Freestyle Entrepreneur
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