Have retailers lost the art of customer service? 

In this article, we explore whether retailers have lost the art of customer service based on the recent findings of our report into what drives high-performing teams.

When was the last time you walked into a store and received amazing customer service? What did your server do, and what impact did it have on you? 

Maybe they treated you like a human being by genuinely listening to your wants and needs, or perhaps they had a warm and friendly aura.  

Exceptional customer service is crucial for creating customer loyalty. In fact, a recent study found that after receiving a high-quality experience, 90% of customers were prepared to buy more, with 93% more likely to become repeat customers. But just how customer-centric are today’s retail teams? 

Our recent global study 

At KultraLab, we recently published the findings of our latest global study ‘The Secret DNA of High-Performing Teams’, in partnership with The World Retail Congress, InBeta, and The University of Manchester. Our research, which draws on over 4,000 data points across 200+ interviews of high-performing teams, set out to uncover what makes retail managers and teams thrive. To determine this, we assessed each interviewee against 25 high-performance behavioural ‘moments’, including customer moments, team moments and operational moments. 

In fact, customer moments were some of the least evidenced behaviours in all the teams we interviewed, with only 1% of high-performing teams showing strong customer empathy, and only 2% coming out strong for assisting and advising customers with their purchases. 

What does this mean? 

Has retail lost the art of customer service?

With today’s customer service heavily focused on store presentation, product placement and quick and efficient service, deeper customer connections are evidently taking a back seat. This could be a cause for concern for retailers. 

Having said that, many teams are still going above and beyond to create memorable and impactful customer moments. For example, one coffee chain manager we interviewed shared how their colleagues continuously demonstrate creativity for their customers. He said: 

As this example shows, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a someone’s day. Often, simple acts of kindness, moments of humanity, and going a little above what’s expected can completely transform a customer’s experience. 

The Future of Retail 

Customer service within the retail world is moving towards more immersive and personalised experiences. Despite the emergence of omnichannel, physical stores still matter, with one recent study finding that new stores can boost online sales by 29%. Customers still crave human interaction and a personal touch. 

With service standards and expectations at an all-time high, and set to continue as companies prepare for Gen Alpha, retailers need to be willing to adapt to keep up with the ever-changing demands. If not, they risk being surpassed by newcomers who are more flexible in their approach. Customer empathy, rapport building and providing personalised advice are just some of the ways retailers can create a successful customer experience in the coming years. 

How ready are your managers to adapt to the evolving needs and expectations of their customers? What steps should they take to keep up? 

If you would like to learn more about how you can future-proof your business and its managers to create exceptional customer experiences, contact us at info@kultralab.com

To read the full report download your copy here