Highlighting the UK’s worst retailers
Competition is increasingly tough in the retail sector, with the last few weeks having seen the likes of Clinton Cards going into administration. With spending down, consumers want to maximise how far their money goes – but good service is also central to the experience and retaining their custom.
So new research from Which? will make worrying reading for some hard-pressed retailers. It surveyed over 11,000 UK shoppers asking their opinions on the customer service provided by 100 high street stores. Essentially Which? asked how satisfied they were with the retailer based on their last shopping experience – and how likely they were to recommend it to a friend.
Cosmetics company Lush came top of the study, beating John Lewis and Apple and being praised for its ‘friendly and knowledgeable staff.’ Other retailers that scored highly included Lakeland, Clarks, Richer Sounds and the Disney Store.
At the other end of the scale, shoppers ranked Halfords, WHSmith, Tesco, Poundstretcher and JJB Sports in the bottom five. Halfords was criticised for ‘rude and unhelpful’ staff, scoring just 51 out of a possible 100 marks, while in contrast, Lush scored 83.
While the research looked at physical high street shops, many of the points raised (both positive and negative) apply to retailers across every channel. Based on Eptica’s own experiences here are three lessons for the retail sector:
1 Be helpful and polite
Whether dealing with a customer instore, over the phone or email staff need to be trained to put themselves in the consumer’s shoes and provide the help and information they need. Fast access to consistent answers to customer questions is at the heart of this. Retailers need to put in place a central source of knowledge that all staff can easily access, whatever channel they are working in.
2 Be clear
Shops like WHSmith were criticised for being ‘cluttered’ and this applies equally to many ecommerce websites. Understand the customer journey and make it simple for the customer to navigate through to purchase, with help provided along the way.
3 British customers do complain
We’ve already discussed how social media provides a megaphone for customers to complain about poor service. As the research shows, they will share their experiences, positive and negative, so you need to be able to follow-up and respond quickly to turn perceptions around.
As this new research demonstrates, retail customers want to feel wanted and listened to – otherwise they’ll simply take their business elsewhere.