How important is Innovation to your business and why?
If you don’t have good customer service you might as well lock up the shop. It’s crucial because you have to keep customers coming back. One of the first things people do these days is look at reviews and social media and customer service is key to that.
What three things have you done in the last 12 months that set you apart in Innovation?
- Our main thing has been encouraging loyalty and feedback. That’s through our loyalty scheme and our app. We have a suggestion box at the end of the till and look at reviews online too, responding to any that come up.
- We’ve trained staff to walk customers to any item they are looking for. New members of staff aren’t put on the till at first – they spent two to three months on the shop floor learning where everything is so they can help customers.
- My office used to be at the back but I’ve moved it to the front, right next to the tills. Now I can hear what staff and customers are saying. If there are any problems I can help straight away.
What’s the biggest trend or challenge you’ve adapted to in the last 12 months?
The biggest trend in customer service is Google reviews. We’ve had some really good ones saying our staff are friendly and helpful because we try to help all our customers. We’ve also had negative ones where people have had to queue. We responded by increasing our staffing in the post office.
What’s the biggest and best change you’ve made in your business in the last 12 months and why?
We’ve focused on making sure staff are friendly all the time and that customers get what they want. That makes a big difference to customer retention. We’ve implemented a lot of healthy items because we’re next to a gym. We’re involved in the community too – we sponsor five football teams – to make sure our name is out there in the area.
What have you done to retain shoppers in the last 12 months?
It’s been a mix of giving customers the service and products they require and creating a good vibe in the store. We’ve looked at their feedback and made sure our staff ask if they want anything else and how they can help. We’ve made it easier to walk around and find everything. We also use a lot of signage and promotional activity so it feels like customers are walking into a mini Tesco.
Who would you recommend retailers to turn to if they’re looking to improve Customer Service?
Look at other successful independent retailers. I’d also look at the big boys to see what they do. And even when you go to places like restaurants, look at their customer service – how do they serve you and what are their staff like?