The Original Walmart Greeter Lives In Cajun Country [VIDEO]
"Welcome to Walmart!" wasn't the way the idea started for Crowley resident Lois Richard in 1982. The thought was to have an associate stand at the door of the store to decrease shoplifting which had become a problem at the relatively new establishment. The first site of Walmart #310 in Crowley had opened in 1980 on North Parkerson Avenue, just south of I-10.
Her supervisor appointed Lois the first to stand guard, since it was her "hair-brained idea." Little did she know, the concept would catch the eye of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
After much debate from the corporation's board of directors, the greeter idea would be implemented company-wide. Additionally, Walmart would grow to be as well-known for its greeters as it is for its falling prices.
Four years ago, Walmart moved their associates who were greeters to, what they call, "action alley" and away from the doors.
Apparently, that was not such a great idea, and Walmart reacted by launching a pilot program that would bring the associate back to the front door. According to their blog post, some of them will be greeters. Approximately 9,000 additional hourly positions are being created across the country for "customer hosts." The hosts will be employed at stores for higher risk for theft. They will be tasked with welcoming customers, but also checking receipts and performing other necessary tasks.
Ms. Lois says she would like to see true, smiling faces and happy personalities at the doors of Walmart stores. She believes that customer service is lost today, and it's important that businesses realize that a personal touch goes a long way.
According to their blog post , that's exactly what customers response was to Walmart about the new customer hosts in the yellow vests:
In stores with the new customer host role, customers said they liked easily spotting someone to go to for help and advice.
Hopefully, greeter or customer host, every associate at those doors remembers that the very first person to stand sentry and smile genuinely was a beautiful Cajun lady from right here in South Louisiana who sincerely believes that the customer comes first.
Mrs. Lois Richard worked for Walmart for 19 years before retiring. She is currently part owner in a local grocery store, where she helps as often as she can and customer service is a priority. Her son is co-owner. He also worked for Walmart for 25 years.
She and her husband are still living in Crowley. They have two sons, a daughter, and several grandchildren she is busy spoiling.