I recently read an article in HRGrapevine.com that stated half of shop workers know less about the products they sell than the customers. It reminded me of an incident some years ago, in a now out of business white goods retailer, where when asked what was the difference between two tumble dryers, the assistant’s response was fifteen quid mate!
These days, this kind of situation is almost certainly compounded by customers having access to incredible amounts of in-depth product information for their planned purchases. When customers walk into a store with such an in-depth knowledge of the products they want to purchase, it becomes quite difficult for retailers to ensure that all their staff have the necessary depth of training and information to be able to address customer queries intelligently.
In order to retain customers or grow market share retailers must keep customers engaged instore once they are there. To do this they need to give their employees sufficient tools and knowledge to ensure that they can answer queries from customers. If an employee has to lie or pass customers on to their colleagues – there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
The obvious solution is to make sure that employee training is sufficient and timely, but it is also crucial that the most knowledgeable employees who have the best skills to engage customers with the appropriate knowledge are scheduled to be available at the busiest times in order to optimise sales. Mobile devices (Tablets such as the ipad) can also be useful; giving access to product information ‘on the go’ that will give staff the same access to information that the customer has, should they need it. A workforce management solution can make scheduling the right employee, with the right skills at the right time simpler for managers and having a mobile-enabled workforce ultimately gives both employees and customers a better in store experience.
What do you think of the levels or customer service in UK retailers today? Could it be improved? If so what measures do you think should be taken?