Research issued by customer intelligence company Market Force Information, shows that Britain's struggling retailers are unknowingly driving customers from the high street. Even in these cautionary economic times, retailers aren't losing because of high prices, but because of poor service. In a recent poll of more than 5000 UK shoppers, Market Force formerly Retail Eyes found that 9 out of 10 people will leave a store with no purchase if they're not given the service they expect. Making things more challenging still for retailers, the service consumers expect varies by retailer type and brand.
Some retailer may mistakenly believe that consumers prefer to shop online, so customer service isn't as critical as it once was. Market Force's research found that 79% actually prefer to shop in storeprecisely because of the service they've come to expect. Four out of 10 (41%) shoppers said the biggest frustration from in-store staff is lack of interest in their needs and 59% want more staff to recommend products, as it makes the experience more personal.
Tim Ogle, CEO at Market Force Europe comments: "Good customer service doesn't have to be expensive. Small, inexpensive changes can have an oversize impact on whether someone buys in your shop and how much they spend. For example, our research shows eight of 10 (80%) shoppers want to be taken to a product when asking about its location. It's these little gems of insight that turn a question into a sale." He points out, "These findings should be a wakeup call to retailers looking for cost effective ways to grow their business."
Consumers were asked what industry they felt delivered the best service, and retailers lagged behind hospitality, restaurants, and even banks, which haven't been high on consumers' lists lately. Hotels were rated first out of 10 industries, with 31.48%% of the votes, pubs & restaurants came in second with 28.28%, while department stores were rated fourth (9.72%), supermarkets sixth (6.10%) and clothing retailers eighth, with just 2.69% of the votes.
The interaction of promotion and service can be a healthy one for the retailer, or a deadly one. Half of shoppers (51%) confirmed that promotions drive them into stores. But interaction with staff determines whether customers actually buy. So retailers that spend precious marketing budgets to drive consumers to their stores, but fail to help them buy, lose out twiceonce for the sale, and a second time in wasted marketing spend.
What do consumers want beside personal attention and recommendation? Market Force's research reveals that technology that makes payment transactions quicker is also high on consumers' wish list. Six out of 10 (63%) said they like to use self-service checkouts and four out of 10 (49%) like contactless payment options, as they feel it speeds up the transaction process.
Finally, 37% raised a whole new issue these shoppers feel they should pay less for items when purchasing through self-service checkouts.
Industry customer service satisfaction results:
- Hotels (31.48%)
- Pubs & Restaurants (28.28%)
- Banks (10.78%)
- Department stores (9.72%)
- Local convenience stores (6.48%)
- Supermarkets (6.10%)
- Clothing retailers (2.69%)
- Electrical retailers (2.24%)
- Mobile phone/ telecom companies (1.53%)
- Petrol stations (0.69%)
- 88% of shoppers will leave a store due to poor service
- 79% prefer to shop in store
- 41% said the biggest frustration from in store staff is a lack of interest in their needs and wants
- 59% of shoppers like staff to recommend products to them
- Six out of 10 (63%) like to use self-service checkouts
- Five out of 10 (49%) like to use contactless payment options
- 37% of shoppers feel they should pay less for items when using self-service checkouts
- Eight of 10 (80%) shoppers want to be taken to a product when asking about its location.
- 51% of shoppers confirmed promotions drive them into stores