On its knees!
Amazon has killed our retailers!
The high street is dying!
The hyperbole is increasing daily and the solution is complex. But how about we start with this ….
Retail Staff – instead of chatting to your mates – how about doing some selling and serving?
Is it just me, or has the number of times when I’ve experienced staff ‘chattin’ rather than serving’ increased dramatically?
It baffles me. Not just that staff are failing to sell – but that they’re completely focused on each other; even in great institutions such as John Lewis, where you would expect them to be taking care of their customers.
Just the other day, a transaction went like this ….
There are three people in this interface – ME: Partner 1: and Partner 2: And I’ve shortened it slightly for brevity.
ME: Can I have these please?
Partner 1: Takes the items and says to Partner 2, ‘Are you going to Julie’s thing tomorrow?’
Partner 2: (while serving someone else), ‘I might be, depends what time I get finished here’.
Partner 1: ‘If you’re going, do you want to share a taxi?’
Partner 2: ‘Yeah, we could just get an Uber’
Partner 1: “That’s £247”
Just as I was thinking: ‘That’s very expensive for an Uber!’, I realised that the final comment was directed at me.
If she’d given me a clue, like looking at me, smiling or saying please, I may have reacted a little faster.
I didn’t need to worry though because as she took my credit card and £247 instantly whizzed from my bank account to theirs, she barely missed a beat.
Partner 1: ‘I don’t like Uber. I’ll see if Gary can give us a lift…’
Regular readers will know that when I write about customer service, I prefer not to point out what’s wrong or share poor examples, instead preferring to share what’s right.
But I wanted you to feel, even third hand, what it’s like to be ignored. As I write this, I already know that you HAVE experienced it.
1. Super Scripts. Every member of staff needs 4 or 5 super scripts they can use to engage with customers. Not knowing what to say should never be a reason.
2. Managers – on the floor managing. When my daughter was 16, she worked in our local Waitrose. The checkout manager watched her like a hawk and if she missed a friendly conversation with a customer, he was straight over wanting to know why.
3. Train, train, train. EVERY DAY. It’s more important than ever to have some element of daily training. Before the doors open, during the day, after a shift. Short, focused, relevant.
It’s hard work but if we’re going to save the High Street it’s never been more important.
PS I haven’t even mentioned upselling, switching returns, recommendations, alternatives, positive first response, etc. What are your ideas for saving the High Street? Please comment below.
We’ll send a copy of my Best-Selling Customer Service Book, 5 Star Service to our favourite. Please comment here.