Our mystery shopper noted improvements in customer service since her last visit. Is that something you have been working on? Definitely! We have a new initiative called HOT, which stands for Hello, Offer help, Thank you. It has refreshed our customer service and set a great tone in store. I have a superb team here and I love that their hard work has been recognised in this way. G33 is the first page I look at on a Saturday morning!
Have the price cuts and guarantees on price offered by Tesco and Asda had any effect on you? None whatsoever. And we are pushing our price crunches as well – the price crunch on frozen foods has been really successful and our like-for-like is good. We are keeping our loyal customers and attracting others from our rivals close by. I have noticed several customers coming in with used carrier bags from Tesco and Sainsbury’s to carry their shopping home – when I asked why they had switched they said that they prefer our store.
Do you visit those rival stores? Every week. The Sainsbury’s, which is very close by, has just had a shiny new refurbishment, which bothers me! And Tesco has opened a Metro very close by and is due to open another in a month or two, which will mean two Metro stores within a mile radius. But they cannot match us on presentation and availability because we have so much pride and urgency about what we do. We chase it all the time. The Tesco supermarket a mile away is pretty awful. I walk around it to make myself feel better!
How do you keep availability so strong? We have a 150-line check, which covers the key lines in the store. We carry that out once a day, every day. We have to do it manually, so it is a big job, but the team make absolutely sure that we stay on top of it. It is essential.
What has been a success in store recently? One of the best things has been our café, which has boosted footfall by seven or eight per cent. We are running a really successful Kids Eat Free promotion after school, which has done brilliantly.
And how do you personally make a difference in store? I rolled the HOT initiative out to every member of staff in the store personally, which was a good opportunity to spend some one to one time with every single member of my staff. And I have a passion to get things right. More importantly I have a really strong team around me. When we are up against it, we stand together. This is a fantastic store with fantastic staff and I absolutely love my job!