L to R - PM Bill English, Checkout Operator of the Year Rachael Murray, Managing Director Dave Chambers, and GM Operations Brett Ashley

Te Puke’s Rachael Murray has out-done hundreds of nominees to take home the title of Countdown Checkout Operator of the Year for 2017.

Rachael’s win was announced at Countdown’s Gala Dinner Awards as part of the company’s annual Trade Show, and the award was presented to Rachael by Prime Minister Bill English.

As the winner, Rachael has received the coveted Countdown Checkout Operator of The Year title, a $2,000 gift card and Countdown’s must sought after antique cash register trophy.

Rachael said her personality suits the checkout role, which she thinks was one of her advantages in the end.

“I approach my work with the attitude that I should serve all of my customers how I would want to be served, with a big smile and a bit of humour. People don’t want someone who is just going through the motions—they want to have something that is more personal.

“I’m so grateful and humbled to have won this award, and represent all of my fellow checkout operators around the country. I’d like to thank my store manager, the team at Te Puke, all those who have supported me, and of course all the customers who have been behind me 100 per cent. I especially want to thank my family who have been such big supporter of me have,” Murray said.

Countdown’s General Manager Operations, Brett Ashley said the Checkout Operator of the Year competition is a great way of recognising and rewarding checkout team members that are going above and beyond for their customers.

“Rachael epitomises the level of service that we want our team to be offering our 2.8 million customers each week. It’s fantastic to be able to reward her efforts and I know the team at Countdown Te Puke will be incredibly proud of her.”

“I’d also like to recognise our other place winners, Andrew Wilson from Countdown Fielding, and Chelsea Alderton-Moss from of Countdown Cable Car Lane, on their achievements. The testing all of our applicants went through was incredibly intensive, so to make the final three is no mean feat,” Ashley said.

Competitions began with in-store assessments where checkout operators were tested by mystery shoppers on their friendliness, presentation, speed, accuracy, and most importantly, their overall customer service. The top 20 finalists underwent their final testing yesterday at Countdown Ponsonby in Auckland, where they went head to head in the final assessments.