In the retail industry, the customer experience is paramount to the success of brands and retailers. The customer experience is what will lead to brand loyalty and repeat business. Today’s consumer has so many choices and the retail industry is extremely competitive. Online shopping, mobile technology, big box stores and the introduction of American retailers like Target into the Canadian market space make it more important than ever for retailers to be competitive.
The cost of labour is one of the largest expenses that retailers face, and unfortunately it is one of the first places that retailers cut costs when doing business. Cost cutting of customer support services in retail directly impacts the customer experience and can do more harm than good in the long run. Cost cutting of customer support services can cost more long-term business to the retailer than cost savings may achieve in the short-term.
When a retailer implements cost cutting measures that result in cost cutting to customer support services the only person who suffers is the customer. Cost cutting measures in retail result in:
1. Longer line ups
2. Customers not being able to find all of the brands that they need because items that are in-stock appear to be sold out because shelves have not been re-stocked
3. The inability to find a customer service representative to ask questions to
4. Demotivated employees who are overworked and as a result provide a lower standard of service and more.
Jobs that keep the customer happy and coming back are vital.
In the retail food industry especially, when a consumer has a bad customer experience, for example not being able to find all of the brands they like at a single grocer or long line ups, it doesn’t take long before the consumer will make the choice to switch to another store where they have a positive experience, even if in the end shopping there costs more. This is a classic reason why more expensive retailers exist and thrive. Retailers who offer a better customer experience can get away with charging higher prices because customers will pay to have a better experience.
Do customers have unrealistic expectations with regards to the service that they demand? We don’t think so. At the end of the day if you want to dominate in your market space and be the most competitive, the old adage ‘the customer is always right,’ rings as true as ever.
The investment that a retailer makes to keep their customers happy and that will lead to the best customer experience results in increased brand loyalty and profitability for both the retailer and the brands that they sell. The consequences of cost cutting measures that impact the customer experience are too severe to be ignored.
Retailers need to find ways to save without cutting in places that impact services to customers with proper planning and with good guidance. Planning is key, and impacts to the customer must be considered and minimized where cost cutting is a consideration.
For more information about how you can find ways to affordably improve the customer experience in your store, please contact Storesupport at 1 (877) 421-5081 or visit www.storesupport.ca.