Lessons in Customer Service from Wal-Mart

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG080
Case Length : 15 Pages
Period : 2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Wal-Mart
Countries : India

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Wal-Mart's Customer-Centric Policies

Since the very beginning, Wal-Mart's pricing policies were based on the recognition that consumers always wanted the best bargain on the products purchased by them without compromising on the quality. Walton had used the captions -"We Sell for Less" and "Satisfaction Guaranteed" on the very first Wal-Mart signboard.

Wal-Mart followed what it called the Every Day Low Price (EDLP) policy. The policy was that Wal-Mart would always provide a wide variety of high quality, branded and unbranded products at the lowest possible price, offering better value for the customer's money.

A Wal-Mart advertisement explained: "Because you work hard for every dollar, you deserve the lowest price we can offer every time you make a purchase.

You deserve our Every Day Low Price. It's not a sale; it's a great price you can count on every day to make your dollar go further at Wal-Mart."...

Using it for Customer Delight

Wal-Mart made heavy investments in IT in the 1980s. In the early 1980s, the company began to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems. EDI linked the computers at the stores and the distribution centers. It helped the company track the movement of goods in real-time and quickly replenish the stock at the stores...

Recent Customer Service Initiatives

At the dawn of the new millennium, Wal-Mart was one of the world's largest companies, with revenues of $165 billion in fiscal 2000. Banking on its past success, Wal-Mart renewed its emphasis on customers and launched new initiatives to serve its customers better.

One such initiative was the 'store of the community' program, launched in 2001. Under the program, Wal-Mart began remodeling its discount stores and super centers in the US to fulfill the needs of customers they served, in line with what the customers wanted...


Exhibit I: Walmart's Awards and Recognitions
Exhibit II: Department Store Customer Satisfaction Study (2002)
Exhibit III: Walton's Rules for Building a Business
Exhibit IV: The Wal-Mart Cheer
Exhibit V: Wal-Mart's Performance Milestones

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