Service, service, service

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In Marketing Week’s Trends research feature “Time to brush up on your floor play” this week, we revealed that 38% of shoppers say they have found shop staff don’t live up to a store’s image. That’s a worrying, and damaging statistic for retail marketers.

A marketer’s mission is to build brand values and trust in the brand and attract shoppers to stores. There’s no point if the people on the ground that customers encounter ignore these values and the real experience fails to live up to what a retailer’s marketing has promised.

It means a lot of shoppers going home with a negative perception of both the brand and the service the retailer offers and potentially means that 38% of shoppers won’t come back.

What heightens the sinister nature of this stat is that it means 38% of shoppers could take to social media channels and share that negative perception with the rest of your customers, and potential customers.

Thanks to the changing media landscape and the ever-growing use of social media, retailers now have no control over their relationship with consumers.

Everything is transparent and up for public discussion as never before. More than ever giving good service is key to retailer’s success.

The only way to control it, is by getting the customer proposition right in the first place, according to Andy Horbny, group CEO of Boots Alliance who spoke at the Retail Week conference in London this week.

And the only way to do that is by making sure your staff are top notch and fully engaged with the brand.

Dalton Philips, Morrisons CEO said this very thing last week when I asked him how the supermarket’s brand communications would reflect all the recent changes it has announced, such as its store trials and online ventures.

His response was that before it came to consumer facing brand communications, Morrisons needed to focus on communicating its strategy internally and making sure it is fully entrenched within the business.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty and continued pressure as consumers face further unemployment, rising costs and diminishing disposable income, it is the basics of good customer service that will hold retailers steady.

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