This week, the Consumer’s Association published their latest survey on customer satisfaction in the British High Street. Over 11,000 people were surveyed and asked specifically about their experience in shops in the previous six months.
The results are not pretty for some famous brands – both the top ten worst retailers and top ten best are all familiar household names and are a complete mix of various types of store, there is no bias suggesting that customer service is – for example – worse in supermarkets.
But what can we learn from these surveys? Some of the brands may be judged unfairly because a public survey just relies on getting opinion from shoppers and they may only ever remember their bad experiences. Good service often goes unnoticed because it is expected.
It is worth exploring some of the comments customers made as they completed the survey. I believe they show that there are three key areas where any shop manager needs to ensure perfection:
- Friendly team; the staff in the shop need to be welcoming and friendly. Nobody wants service from staff who would clearly like to be somewhere else.
- Knowledgeable team; some shops just excel because you can really get into detail about their products with their staff. Knowledge of the product is essential because people are coming to buy those products – they are naturally going to ask questions.
- Quality; wins every time. The classic quality over quantity or low price argument remains true.
It is true that budget and discount stores are flourishing and customers often perceive service as less important than price in a shop that is marketed as a budget destination, but in the regular non-discount market all these three factors need to be in place if you want to be proud of the customer service you are providing.
Photo by Duncan Brown licensed under Creative Commons