Have you have won this award before? Yes, I was the manager here when we won the award last June. We were trading as a Safeway back then, but the store has since been refitted and rebadged under the Morrisons brand. In fact, I think it is 12 months to the day since we reopened as a Morrisons store.
How was the conversion process?
It was quite a lot of work, but the results are there and the customers seem to be loving it. But as a manager it is much the same, to be honest. You are in charge of a store unit and you have to execute the company strategy with the team you have in place. It is really about pride: we do it for ourselves.
What is the difference now? We now have the Market Street format which sets us apart from the competition. There is more theatre to it. Food is prepared fresh, right in front of the customers: the fish counter, the butchery, and so on. We also gave the store more of a local flavour. For example, the windows are etched in decorative style local to Stratford-upon-Avon.
Has any special training helped your store maintain its high levels of customer service? Not specifically. But we have a customer service ethic among each of the 300 staff here. We want to go the extra mile for them, so each of our staff is taught when they start here that it is about the personal touch. You have to interact with the customer, speak with them. If they are looking for something, don’t just point to the aisle - you have to take them over to where it is. Basically, it is about treating the customer the same as you would like to be treated. So it isn’t any special programme, just good, old-fashioned values.
What other major changes do you have planned for the rest of the year? We have a health and beauty refit coming up. The section will be renovated and we will get additional ranges and the More for Baby programme. That will be in October. We will just about have time to do that and settle down before Christmas.