Retail customers really hate to be kept waiting

Last week, Essential Retail Magazine featured an interview with the Customer Service Director of SpecSavers, Jill Clark.

Much of the interview was used to explore how SpecSavers solicits customer feedback and they can act on this information, but there were two specific comments that I found really interesting in the interview:

“Our customers hate waiting more than anything else…”

Clark mentions that as a result of that focus on getting good feedback, they know that the number one thing their customers hate is being forced to wait. The SpecSavers solution is to ensure that in-store staff can use iPads as it they were at a sales terminal – so even if every sales terminal is being used, other members of the team can deal with waiting customers by approaching them with the iPad.

This is a good practical way to address the problem, but Clark goes on to mention some customer behaviour that she has no control over – complaints and comments on social networks:

“The internet is not the ideal way we want complaints to be highlighted and resolved, but younger people would rather do it this way than speak to another human…”

Sometimes it really isn’t ideal to communicate in public, especially where private prescription information may need to be discussed. This cannot be done in a public forum, which is how most social networks operate, but it is clear from what Clark says that even if a brand does not really want to engage online, it is where the customers want to ask questions – you have to respond.

It’s therefore essential to have a team monitoring the Internet for mentions of your brand and products. It is possible to pick up these mentions and to engage quickly – in the case of customers making complains online whilst still in-store it may sometimes be possible to get the in-store team to respond directly.

Have you seen any retailers handling online comments well recently? Leave a comment here or tweet me on @brownsourcing

Queuing for ice cream, Duxford Air Show, May 2012

 

Photo by Snapshooter46 licensed under Creative Commons

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