Customer service – Academy in Action 2021

In part five of a 10-week programme, the IAA and Vape Retailer’s Daryl Worthington look at how Derby retailer Neil Dosanjh can better serve his shoppers

Academy in Action - Customer Service

Good customer service isn’t just about making sure your shoppers have a straightforward visit. You should also ensure you leave an impression on them that makes them want to come back to your store, not only because of your products, but because you make them feel welcome. In turn, you can drive repeat custom and encourage bigger basket spend.

Derby retailer Neil Dosanjh has run Nisa Mackworth since 2005, initially as a Bargain Booze before switching to Nisa Local in 2013. Situated on a parade of shops by the entrance to a 14,000-resident housing estate, the shop has plenty of regulars, so Neil holds the idea of consistently good service in high esteem.

However, he is concerned that his staff need regular reminders and wants to set specific standards.

How can the IAA and Vape Retailer’s Daryl Worthington help Neil ensure his team maintains high levels of customer service?

Why I take part

“When you run a business, you think you’re doing a good job, but there’s always room for improvement, and I think the IAA is the only thing that can give us insight as to what that could be. 

“It’s been a valuable visit; it has highlighted that we could be doing better, which is brilliant because it’s exactly why we got involved. It seems quite daunting, but we’ll stick to our key priorities and see what impact it has on the business.”

IAA advice

Setting the standard and sticking to it

Neil has a noticeboard with pointers to guide staff, but gets different levels of customer service across his team. How can he ensure consistency across the team to deliver the best possible customer service?

Daryl says: “It’s important to write down specific standards so everyone is on the same page, especially when you have part-time staff working across different shifts and have multiple conversations about customer service with people. It’s difficult to keep momentum and consistency when staff that don’t work together have different interpretations of standards.”

ACTION ➜ Write down a list of customer service standards so each staff member has something to strive towards

Ensuring customer service standards are upheld

Neil finds that his team tend to do well with following standards for a bit, but after a while the attention paid to following them can drop off. How can he help drive consistently high performance?

Daryl says: “If you praise staff, they are more likely to maintain standards, resulting in happier customers. It’s important to observe what your staff do well and acknowledge it. Neil is off to a good start with praise on his WhatsApp group, but he can take this further by highlighting specific instances of staff hitting the new standards during meetings.”

ACTION ➜ Make sure that staff upholding specific customer service standards are openly praised for their work

Handling customer praise, suggestions and complaints

Neil says he doesn’t get many complaints at all, but isn’t tracking customer feedback and therefore can’t be sure. Could a formal log for praise, suggestions and complaints help him improve customer service?

Daryl says: “Having a way to record suggestions, complaints and praise helps when it comes to staff appraisals and knowing when to introduce something new. If you’ve noticed that a staff member has had several instances of praise and no complaints, you can reward that, and if you notice another is getting complaints, you can stop a pattern developing.”

ACTION ➜ Log specific shopper praise, suggestions and complaints to find opportunities to improve

Partner advice

It has been a very interesting visit and I’m excited to see what results Neil gets.

He has great customer service already, but by logging customer feedback, he might notice ways to improve that he might not otherwise have considered. I’m sure once he does, he’ll reap the benefits.

Daryl Worthington 
Vape Retailer

Find out how the visit went in the follow up feature. Click here

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