Shift in Retailers’ Strategy: Customer Service a Key Success Factor

November 13, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce

Most retailers have come to realize the importance of customer service and are being proactive in removing barriers to their ability to deliver a superior shopping experience, according to a recent benchmark survey, “The State of Retail Workforce Management,” conducted by Retail Systems Research (RSR) and sponsored by Kronos Incorporated (via MarketingPilgrim).

Some 66% of the 160 global retail executives and managers surveyed said they are focused on providing a high-touch customer service strategy, and skilled employees play an important role in doing so.

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An additional 24% agreed that employees, regardless of skill sets, play an important role in customer service. Only 9% said they offer a low-touch customer service strategy in which employees play a supplemental role.

“The survey results clearly indicate that the days of the low-price model in retail are numbered,” said John Anderson, global practice leader of retail at Kronos. “The future of retail lies in customer-centricity, and creating and sustaining customer satisfaction will ensure differentiation and success in the long term.”

He added, “The workforce plays a huge role in this customer-centric journey. What retailers need are satisfied and knowledgeable employees consistently doing the right thing in the right place at the right time.”

Additional findings from the study:

  • Quality and consistency of customer service (cited by 61%), and driving store sales (cited by 51%) are the top 2 of top 3 business issues they are looking to improve via workforce management technology.

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  • 59% of respondents stated that over the past three years, the amount of work sent to stores by corporate and field management has increased, yet 73% agreed that there is a lack of integration between task and workforce management systems.

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  • 90% of the respondents considered analytics a relatively important component of workforce management. However, analytics solutions are still at a premature adoption stage in the current retail environment, with only 10% of the respondents having fully deployed labor analytics tools.

About the study: The “State of Retail Workforce Management” survey was conducted online by Retail Systems Research on behalf of Kronos in August 2007 and September 2007 among 160 global retail executives and managers. Participating retailers operate headquarters and presences in Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and/or Africa, and North America.

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