Helen Walters On Best-In-Class Service

Helen Walters On Best-In-Class Service

Business innovation thought leader takes us through her favorite 5 retail experiences.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 14 april 2012

In our digitally infused world, more and more companies seem to opt for the click over the human touch. At PSFK, we believe that personal service still is critical in creating a differentiated service. To investigate this theme further, we’re running a series of interviews with experts. We asked Helen Walters to list us five great service experiences she cherishes. Helen is a respected thought-leader in the business innovation space and when we approached Helen she told us,

“I’ve never really enjoyed shopping, which is why I quickly embraced the Internet as a way to stock up on essentials without having to endure the misery of the high street. And, as more and more products have become commodities, so too have some companies done an incredible job of figuring out ever more ingenious ways to help me avoid actually having to interact with another human being.

What does all this mean for service professionals? Well, it means that the pressure is on. Shoddy service isn’t an option when the alternative is mere clicks away. That’s why I particularly love these stores. Something new and unexpected happens with each visit, yet each one is founded on principles of old-fashioned good service.”

Here are Helen’s five favorite examples of service:

Mary and Robinson’s Fruit Cart

“About twice a week, I treat myself to a fruit smoothie from Mary and Robinson, who park their food cart outside my office. They know my name and my preferred order, and the entire interaction is fun, friendly and fast. If the line is anything to go by, their commitment to the basics of good service has led to many other devoted regulars, too.”

“I’ve written about this before, but I still look back fondly at a group visit to Michelle Bernstein’s restaurant in Miami. From customizing the menus to not minding the vegetarian in our midst to preparing an unsolicited celebratory dessert (pictured), the restaurant’s attention to detail was phenomenal.”

Unnameable Books

“This bookstore is near my apartment, and every time I pop in I’m reminded of the gap between Internet-based companies using algorithms to try and generate unexpected recommendations and the actual serendipity of being in a shop packed to the rafters with books on all topics. I can’t leave this shop without buying way too many books I previously had no idea existed.”
Brooklyn Larder
“I walked in to this small deli the other day to be greeted rapturously by the woman behind the counter. “This,” she said to her colleague, “is a woman with very expensive taste in cheese.” This is true, and I love the fact that they know this, remember this, and enable my habit without so much as a hint of an apology.”
“I love Kiosk, a small store up some rickety stairs in the heart of SoHo. Themed according to a particular country, the stuff on sale is eclectic and unexpected, with each piece accompanied by a charmingly written explanation of what it is and why it’s interesting. Every visit provides a completely different experience, and I learn something new every time.” [img via]

Helen Walters is a writer and researcher at the design-driven innovation consultancy, Doblin. She also writes the daily blog, Thought You Should See This.


IKEA Is Letting Kids Design Its New Line Of Toys

Food Today

Chef Turns Invasive Species Into Delicious Sushi

Creator Bun Lai is adapting strange new ingredients for his menu, which responds to the ecological impact of overabundant creatures in the local environment

Travel Today

Build Your Own Subway System In This Minimalist Game

Mini Metro lets you design your own fully functional transit network, simulating the flow of urban commuters with pared-down visuals


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Work Today

Keyboard Designed To Help Women Use More Assertive Language

The device is a commentary on gender roles in the workplace, and features easy access to "power verbs" that help reinforce a habit of being direct in writing

Arts & Culture Today

Spanish Artist Dreams Up What Animals Would Look Like In Modern Clothing

Yago Partal's portraits depict the fantasized style preferences of creatures worldwide, from an Arctic wolf to a zebra

Related Expert

Dustin Callif

Interactive Storytelling

Fitness & Sport Today

New Data Technologies Make Hyper-Personalized Training A Reality

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytics tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Technology Today

IBM Watson Helps Grammy-Winning Producer Craft An EP

The computer system's data technology generated musical scores for Alex Da Kid's first solo project

Retail Today

Why The Apple Watch Is Taking Foot In The Restaurant Industry

An app for the wrist-mounted device is looking to revolutionize customer service for staff


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 26, 2016

Health Expert: Nutritional Meal Replacements Are A Solution To Corporate Wellness

Ample Foods Founder Connor Young explains why supplements are the next food trend coming to the workplace

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Travel Yesterday

30-Year-Old Photographs Used As Travel Guides

A new photo series revolves around tracing the origins of images from the past

Technology Yesterday

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

Health Yesterday

VR App Prescribed For Pain Relief

A pharmacy chain in Sweden is stepping away from tradition to develop a happy place for the pain-afflicted

Financial Services Yesterday

Banks Are Coming Together To Create A New Payment Network That Rivals Venmo

A number of financial institutions are collaborating to make a new person-to-person monetary system called Zelle for their customers

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Pocket Camera Aims To Facilitate The Struggles Of Live Streams

The Mevo helps resolve the complexities of streaming video with an intuitive setup and smart editing controls

Health Yesterday

Startup Believes Traceability Will Help Disrupt The Multivitamin Industry

Ritual is a daily supplement for women that traces every ingredient back to its source

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Photo Series Brutally Murders Some Of Your Favorite Fast Food

The portraits by artist duo Ilka & Franz do away with mealtime regulars in a way that is both beautiful and humorous

Mobile Yesterday

Coffeemaker Teaches You How To Make The Perfect Cup

The device comes with an accompanying app that guides novices and experts alike through the brewing process

No search results found.