Supermarkets are delivering better customer service than their high street rivals when it comes to non food areas such as clothing. But they fail dismally when it comes to core grocery.
A survey of 1,775 mystery shopping visits to a range of retail outlets, including 215 visits to the major supermarket chains, has found food retailers below par when it comes to areas such as greeting the customer, meeting their needs and answering enquiries.
Yet Asda came top when it came to service in clothing, ahead of high street specialist chains, while Tesco came third.
The supermarkets also performed better in other areas of non food, such as electricals, than in their core food and drink areas. But the complexity of the product meant traditional electrical retailers still met customer needs better.
However, supermarkets only just managed to struggle off the bottom of the Grass Roots’ league this year. They are placed 12th out of 14 retail sectors when scored on 42 areas of customer service.
The biggest problem appears to be staff knowledge. The index for this has fallen from 85% 10 years ago to just 68.8% this year in the survey. This compares to an overall retail average of 78%.
“Supermarkets are good at the things they have been concentrating on, such as service at the till and queuing, where they score above average.
“But staff do not know the basics, such as ‘where can I find a product?’ or ‘can you recommend a particular product for a menu?’ ” said Grass Roots executive board director Nigel Cover.
“Today customers are more savvy, searching on the internet or wanting to know more about where a product comes from. They want people who serve them to know as much as they do,” he added.
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