I have talked at length about the importance of creating a great experience for your customers, otherwise they will simply go elsewhere, perhaps lost to you forever. Unfortunately, not many retailers are achieving this, from my experience and contacts I talk to, I see and experience a lot of transacting. By transacting I mean, staff going through the motions, barely doing the basics, not going out of their way to connect, just happy to get you in and out as fast as possible. That’s not an experience, it’s neutral at best.
I came across another US retailer, (yes sorry it’s another US company but I can’t find too many here doing it really well), who, according to a survey carried out on emotional ratings (conducted by Temkin Group and similar to NPS) came second, above Chic-fil-A and well above Amazon. This was across 10,000 consumers and 268 companies so a very large survey.
The company is called Trader Joe’s, which has in excess of 450 stores across 41 states and 38,000 + employees. Their approach to retail is nothing amazing, yet they perform extremely well against the competition, which is the grocery chain category in the US is extremely competitive. So what makes them stand out? Here are a few reasons and the good thing is, we can all do this!
- Their store managers (called Captains) spend most of their day on the shop floor and directly interacting with customers. They can make decisions to alter the store and its products to meet local needs. Trader Joe’s is very reactive to customer needs, we can’t all do this of course but having the store manager on the floor is critical I believe to directing and influencing the team to provide that great service. You can’t manage what you can’t see.
- They connect with customers on an emotional level. The entire team is focussed on making what is normally a tedious task, fun. This comes down to once again, having the right staff who want to make that experience happen for customers. They have a huge number of staff, yet are able to provide a consistently high level of service.
- Trader Joe’s ensures their team is content and motivated. Again this is about their approach to hiring the right staff, ones who are happy and cheerful. The team wears Hawaiian shirts to resemble fun and a holiday feel. They also pay them well and provide other benefits such as health care. We can all do this, hire the right people, get to know them and challenge them to bring their best every day. Retail is fun so make sure you allow them to enjoy themselves and bring their personalities to work. Your customers will love it.
- Their employees are never shy of going the extra mile. They cited a great example of how a team member went out of their way to deliver food to an elderly gentleman. They don’t deliver, yet the store took it upon themselves to help this person out and delivered the product for FREE. How many times could we just do a little bit extra to make someone’s day yet our rules prevent us? Of course, you have to be careful but this is a key opportunity to really impress that customer and lock them in for life.
As I mentioned there is nothing amazing in these four points, and if they can do this across 450+ stores, I’m sure we could do that in our stores here in Australia. We have to make every customer’s interaction an experience and doing these four things will go a long way towards that.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.