Bassel Aboutaha reveals what keeps customers raving about great service!
Over 3,500 5-star customer ratings for his store in six months!? Bassel Aboutaha isn’t the least bit surprised!
We asked the store manager at Store 3296 in Houston, Texas, to explain how his store earned so many kudos. His answer says it all: “With the help of my associates, I can move mountains. Without them, I’m nothing.”
And move mountains he has. Bassel first came to the U.S. from Lebanon more than 17 years ago and got a job as a cashier at Walmart. At the time, he barely spoke English.
“Working at Walmart gave me the opportunity to interact with customers and associates so my English improved,” he says.
Soon he went to college, and upon graduation was accepted into Walmart’s management program. Bassel rose from there. He worked at different stores, but always with the same focus: relying on and trusting his associates.
Now Bassel manages one of the Academy stores that serves as a learning site for associates from all over. Customers regularly mention the kindness, warmth and efficiency of his store’s associates.
“I come to work happy because I'm about to meet those cheering, friendly associates. My customers come to the store because of my associates. So everything that I do revolves around my associates, because they are the reason why my customers are happy.”
To keep the associates happy, Bassel listens to all of them, from cart pushers to managers to cashiers, respecting their concerns and perspectives. He even sets aside daily office hours so associates can come to him with issues. This helps him stay true to Walmart’s Sundown Rule—our commitment to getting back to associates and customers by the end of the day.
The store’s high ratings illustrate Bassel’s philosophy: Success comes from the happiness of the associates. “This is a top priority to me,” he says. “When you take care of people and they are happy, this will be reflected in their work ethic and their daily interactions with customers.”
“Happy associates will happily help a customer. Taking care of associates is the key to great customer service.”
Did you notice Bassel's not wearing a mask in the above photo? Good eyes! The picture was taken in 2019, before Walmart associates began wearing masks.