H-E-B elevates service approach for at-risk populations

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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A Senior Support line was established by H-E-B to provide populations most at risk to COVID-19 a convenient way to order essential products.

H-E-B announced the program as many retailers have adopted a familiar approach of providing a dedicated window of time in the mornings when at-risk populations could shop stores. The logic was stores would be less busy and better stocked, however the programs  are voluntary and dependent on the good will of other shoppers, which can’t always be relied on during periods of stress when reduced levels of inventory tend to feed hoarding instincts.

H-E-B’s approach takes the concept of protecting at-risk populations to a new level. In partnership with Favor Delivery, it launched a low-cost solution that gives seniors access to personal shoppers by phone, allowing them to get essential food and supplies delivered to them, while remaining in the comfort and safety of their home. The program launched Friday, March 20, and gave those 60 and older the ability to place orders with Favor using a curated list of products available from H-E-B.

“We heard from our customers loud and clear, and we’re ready to offer one of the safest, healthiest solutions in the marketplace dedicated to seniors who are worried about going out in public,” said Martin Otto, H-E-B's COO. “Together with Favor, H-E-B is committed to helping Texans get the products they need while slowing the spread of coronavirus in our communities.”

H-E-B and Favor will staff its Senior Support phone line with volunteers from both companies to accept and process orders over the phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., seven days a week. Built by the Favor engineering team, the system allows volunteers to process orders remotely from across the state.

“Through this same-day service, a Favor Runner will personally shop all orders at H-E-B and deliver directly to the customer’s doorstep within just a few hours,” said Jag Bath, Favor CEO and H-E-B chief digital officer. “To further promote social distancing, Runners will leave all orders placed through the Senior Support Line at the customer’s doorstep, eliminating close personal interaction.”

All delivery and service fees are waived for the first 30 days of the program. Further helping customers, orders will include a $10 tip, which goes entirely to the delivery person.