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Consumer Research


UK retailers failing in customer service

UK retailers failing in customer service

Latest research from Mintel finds that, nothing annoys British shoppers more than when there are not enough checkouts open.
Indeed, over three in five (61%) adults name this as a key contributing factor to poor service when out shopping.
Brits also get really irritated when there are not enough members of staff available on the shop floor to help with any queries, with well over half (56%) feeling this way.
Senior retail analyst at Mintel, Neil Mason, said, "Factors relating to staff numbers are closely linked to cost, but not having enough sales assistants in store at peak times is a real false economy.
Not only is goodwill being risked, but sales will be lost, as customers will simply abandon their purchases rather than wait in a long queue to pay."
Putting customers first is a well-used mantra, but Brits today are still coming up against surly staff and an 'am I bovvered' attitude.
In fact, as many as three in five of us (58%) state that uninterested shop assistants have contributed to poor service during a shopping trip.
"Staff who cannot, or will not, adopt a positive attitude towards customers and selling are worse than worthless to a retailer, as they are capable of alienating customers and seriously damaging the business," comments Neil Mason.
And while some may feel that British consumers are hard to please, it turns out that all it takes for us to be happy with the service, is a smile and a friendly welcome from staff (67% of adults would like this), good product knowledge (55%) and helpful shop assistants (50%).
He adds, "Common courtesy, such as good manners, a ready smile and a helpful attitude, cost nothing but mean everything to customers and are an essential element of any service orientated business.
These really should be a minimum requirement for any retailer and yet they remain amongst the main reasons why people feel that they have not had a good shopping trip.”
Worryingly, bad service is already having a huge impact on where people choose to  shop.
In fact, over one in five (22%) Brits have already stopped using a retailer because of poor customer service and over half of Brits  (56%) would do so, if they had a bad experience while out shopping.
But the ripple effect goes well beyond those directly affected.
Some 23% of adults have recommended to friends and family not to use a retailer and 16% have received a similar suggestion from their friends and family, all as a result of poor service.
Neil Mason said, "The clear business risk posed by delivering bad service is great enough to justify investment in staff motivation and  development, as  a contented  and  positive  work  force  is  more  likely  to deliver good service.

Retailers also need to get the ripple effect created by word of mouth working in their favour and encourage satisfied customers to recommend a friend."

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