Corporate-wide, some 60,000 cashiers took part in Cashier Olympics pitting wits and know-how of fellow cashiers against one another. Competing against cashiers from 122 stores, Williams took home the gold in the Mid-South Regional Cashier Olympics.
"Matt is one of a great group of cashiers up front," said Store Manager Ann Congdon. "He's based on his friendliness, his wait to check out, so his speed, his accuracy, all of that stuff -- he excels at. He's rated very highly by his customers that come through his line."
Cashier Olympics puts an emphasis on service and job performance by testing participants in various game show-style events. Along with scanning races and corporate history quizzes, competitors battled it out in games such as: Riddle Run where cashiers solve riddles about items located in the store; Scavenger Hunt to find products in multiple departments; and The Price is Right, a price guessing game on items throughout the store.
"Since I've been here, the three years they have done this previously, I have gone to the district level," Williams said. "It feels good [to win regionals]. The store has made me feel appreciated when they have congratulated me just passing by and decorating my register. ... The teamwork is very strong here."
Prior to regionals, the entire store participates in divisionals with a spirit competition in which team members built a float for a corporate parade. After advancing to the regional level, Williams excelled in the individual tasks -- a notable achievement, said Congdon.
"It's a ton of pride, we've made a huge deal out of it. It's very exciting for us, it's bragging rights for the store," Congdon said. "It's something that helps the stores come together as a group. To have something like that in your store is a big boost for the store's morale."
She went on to emphasize the importance of the cashier within the corporation and their role in customer satisfaction.
"Cashiers are the largest single population within the stores, they're the largest amount of employees we have in each store. They are the last line of defense for customers having a great shopping experience," Congdon said. "I don't think there is any other retailer that I'm aware of that really makes this effort to recognize their cashiers and the jobs the cashiers do for us. I don't think there is another more important position within the company than the cashiers."
It was Williams' speed, translated into wait time, and positive customer feedback that led to his inclusion in the competition. He places importance on customer satisfaction, looks forward to further opportunities within the company and plans to attend Georgia Highlands College next semester.
"The cashier is, most of the time, the last or the only person [customers] will see from the store. So, it's very important that I greet them, I treat them with respect, make sure they have gotten everything they needed," Williams said.