The big question to consider is how do retailers relate to their customers?
In some organisations this is highly structured and very prescriptive. No staff member can vere from the procedure or process that has been set for them. They need to stick to the standards identified in the operating procedure every step of the way and under no circumstances can they adapt it or think for themselves or change any aspect of it? Which business operations are these?
Some operate lower standards of service as they have less resources to do otherwise. Which operations are these?
To tackle this task we need to identify orgnaisational customer service policies from retail outlets to see how they are applied at a store level.
How do different operations require different levels of service
How important is the after sales service? Which organisations place this at the top of their priorities?
How can we identify the core service and quality standards from a site visit?
How important are the selling skills of staff members and the sales process in general in a range of stores? e.g Newlook, Primark, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis or Aldi, Iceland, Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys or Waitrose.
Lots of questions but not many answers yet. To tackle this task I suggest we:
- Agree on a range of retail outlets - food or non food you decide - one economy budget, one middle of the road and one upmarket supplier.
- Get hold of the customer service policies for each business we choose. Some companies like Quantas have thrown them out and redrafted them with the help of World Class customer trainers such as Mary Gober
- Design a questionnaire to see how effective each business is at exceeding its goals see links here and here
- Use the questionnaire to visit stores and survey customers then survey teachers. Some companies, such as Performance in People spend much of their time doing just that for their clients.
- With the data we collect we can analyse this to see who is achieving their goals and who is not and see if there are any comparisons across the three suppliers
- Now your ready to answer the big question - Why is focusing on the customer by providing good customer service essential to retailing.
- Tesco' are happy to share how much importance they place on customer service. Click here
Can be seen here I suggest we delegate this up so that we can get it done quickly and then all write up individually based on what we have found or if you start this first perhaps share some of your research documents in return for someone elses!
A less positive example can be seen here
So what do we think that Apples customer service policy would state?
And how could you create your own. Click here
John Lewis tell you how they keep customers happy here