Stonecest has put a heavy emphasis on increasing economic development in the city.
Photo: AJC File
Photo: AJC File

DeKalb city stepping in to train businesses in customer service

DeKalb County’s newest and largest city wants to improve the customer service at its shops and restaurants.

Stonecrest has launched the “Best of Stonecrest” initiative, through which the city will provide free customer service training to businesses. If 75% of the staff and management at a restaurant, shop or hotel complete the training, the business will receive an official seal to post at its entrance.

“Patrons will know when they walk up to your establishment, they should expect the best customer service,” Sabrina Wright, Stonecrest’s economic development director, said in a video about Best of Stonecrest.

The businesses will receive certifications from Stonecrest and Discover DeKalb, the county’s tourism and marketing branch.

At last week’s state of the city address, Mayor Jason Lary joked that the training would start with Denny’s, which was captured in a viral video encounter with a CBS46 reporter and cameraman who were doing a story about the restaurant’s health inspection score. The CBS46 crew claimed they were assaulted by Denny’s employees after entering the business and asking about the failing score.

“We’re going to help some folks whether they want us to help them or not,” Lary said.

The initiative comes at no cost to the city or its taxpayers, Wright told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Discover DeKalb does similar programming for hotels in the area, and Stonecrest has asked that they expand the training to include more businesses.

“From a business standpoint, I don't think anybody can afford to really turn away free training for people,” said Joe Lane, the store manager at American Signature Furniture on Mall Parkway.


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Lane said his store already does a good job of taking care of customers, but he still plans to host a training session for his employees. He said he respects the motivation for the initiative — “to get businesses not to stay, but to thrive in the marketplace.

“If we can attract people to Stonecrest, then everybody wins,” said Lane, who has worked at the store in Stonecrest for more than eight years.

Stonecrest’s economy is heavily centered around its 3,500 businesses, thanks in part to The Mall at Stonecrest, which became the namesake for the city. Wright said the ultimate goal is to reach every business in Stonecrest. The initial focus will be on restaurants, hotel and retail, but any type of business is able to participate.

Some businesses have already reached out to take part in the training, Wright said. She and her staff are also going directly to some establishments and asking them to take part.

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In other news:

The crash happened at I-285 northbound at Church Street in DeKalb County.

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