Our shopper was particularly impressed by an assistant who went to the back of the store to locate the chips, which had sold out. The shelves were otherwise full, the queues short and the items easy to find, making the whole shopping experience a pleasant one. If it weren’t for one out-of-stock item, Tesco in East Didsbury would have been vying for the top spot. An assistant spent a lot of time helping to locate the ham. The shelves were full and the checkout assistant offered to pack.
Staff at Sainsbury’s in Gloucester were also helpful, taking our shopper straight to the items she needed. The queues were short, but she was not offered any help packing her bags. It was fortunate that the Waitrose in Brighton also boasted strong customer service, as the store’s confusing layout meant our shopper had to ask for lots of assistance. The aisles were cluttered with stacking trolleys, making it even more difficult to navigate the store.
Asda in Maryhill, on the other hand, was tidy despite undergoing alterations, but was let down by availability. Staff were handing out guides to the new layout and our shopper noted the checkout assistant was particularly friendly.
Winner: Rob Sims, store manager, Morrisons, Chippenham
You recently extended the store. What changes have you made?
The extension took place a year ago, and has made a huge difference to the store. We have additional ranges and offer a lot more non-food than before and are really reaping the benefits. We have also employed an extra 80 staff since and gained a lot of new customers. Our challenge now is to ensure the message of value, great service and freshness continues to reach all of our shoppers.
What is your relationship like with rival stores? Sainsbury’s in Chippenham is our main competitor – we are the two largest supermarkets in the town. We compete very well against them and have 20% more customers since our extension. We both have a football team and we play each other. We last played a couple of weeks ago and on that occasion it was victory to Morrisons. We would like to make it a more regular thing.
When was your store last in the papers? Just last week. We are working with the council on improving recycling facilities in the area. The council approached us and asked us if we could help, and we agreed. We are providing extra facilities for customers to recycle more materials, including plastics and cardboard.
What happens at staff meetings? We recently launched a Give Me Five initiative, where we have five-minute meetings with the staff. The head office sends a message and we add to it with a message from management. We get to communicate what we do and why to everyone. It’s a very strong communication tool and is doing really well. I think it is important to talk to the staff and I enjoy it. I have been with the company for 30 years and understand the tough and nicer parts of everyone’s jobs. Everyone works really hard here and the management and deputy management teams are very active.
Does your head office give you any freedom with promotions? Yes, we get lots of freedom on which promotions we want to draw more attention to. We can tailor them to suit our shoppers. Head office sets the promotions and we can then have an input on how much stock we have and how much of it we want to put on display.