Globe University-Woodbury students in the Organizational Behavior class traveled to a local mall and to the St. Paul Farmers Market to compare how the culture of a company and its management directly affects the overall culture and customer service of a business.
The students were asked to compare the difference in customer service between the hourly employees at a mall and the small-business owners at the farmers market.
According to business program chair, Thomas Hakko, most of the employees at the mall are paid hourly and have little incentive to assist or help the customers. He continues by explaining how the trip to the farmers market was completely different.
“At the farmers market the students were exposed to owners who have a vested interest in helping to sell their product,” said Hakko. “The environment is totally different. You hear laughter and see smiles, people are happy to be there.”
The difference is stark and it opened the student’s eyes to what the cultures of companies can be.
Student Responses to the Field Trip:
“The farmers market engaged with customers wanting the customer to buy their product, versus going to the mall where customer service was minimal,” said Jon Nicholson, student.
“I really enjoyed going and seeing the difference in cultures between the farmers market and the mall-the farmers market was more fun to be at,” said Laura Bekkerus, student.
“You can really tell the local farmers take pride in their work and the vendors are more than willing to educate you on their product. Employees working at the mall only seemed to care that they have a job and get paid,” said student Melissa Ellenbecker.
“I enjoyed going to the Maplewood Mall however it angered me as well. The employees were not focused on customers and the customer should not have to approach the employee. It should be the other way around. The farmers market (employees) enjoyed interacting with customers and were determined,” said Amelia Schultz, student.
“The farmers market field trip was a reminder of what customer service needs to look like in every business setting. One unique aspect to attending Globe is the opportunities to see what “right” looks like and this is available to us in our classroom setting,” said student Dawn Burdette.