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.


DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Design & Architecture
Culture Today

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Today

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Mobile Today

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Nobumichi Asai

Facehacker, Projection Mapper

Syndicated Today

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Today

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Today

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Today

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Today

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Today

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Today

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Mobile Today

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Today

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Today

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.