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Are you being served? Part I

Are you being served? Part I

Is customer care in the GCC up to scratch? Communicate magazine investigates. Part I

November 7, 2009 2:55 by

“What surprises me in the Middle East is that a lot of retailers are [only] vaguely cognizant of that,” he continues. “The staff on the shop floor is least considered and is lowly paid, and training is incredibly weak. People are happy to spend money on advertising and store design, but what’s considered secondary is that staff. They think the brand does the talking and that staff are another piece of collateral. But staff are key. If you think you had a dreadful experience with Emirates Airlines or Starbucks, chances are very high you’re relating it to a person.”

According to Sparks, that is what the Grass Roots survey showed most prominently, and most worryingly: “Employers need to take a close look at the problem areas and take responsibility for them,” she says.

“One particularly worrying image that came out of this report was of the disengaged employee, who doesn’t take ownership and is just going through the motions. Yet it is unlikely, given the otherwise high levels of positive attitudes reported, that staff don’t care. More probable is a workforce that is not being given the tools or trust it needs to do the job properly.”

The survey reveals that 34 percent of shoppers found staff did not ask any questions to establish details about their needs. Sparks says that retailers need to look at training to counter the lack of initiative and poor sales skills, and to create a smarter workforce, rather than just throwing people at the problem. She says this can be done through incentives, in order to breed employee loyalty and buy-in.

Communicate magazine

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1 Comment

  1. Anupama V. Chand on November 8, 2009 8:06 am

    Nothing we didn’t know already, but how true this finding is! Invariably when you go to any of the hypermarkets, supermarkets and even groceries in Dubai today, you encounter the same stony stares, even apathy from sales staff, who are supposed to really represent the brand, and ensure the customers stay and shop through their warmth and politeness. Is it too much to expect these outlets to motivate their staff enough to keep a smile on their faces and in their step as they approach customers, and give them the service which I believe, they are certainly entitled to, the minute they walk into the given outlet? It seems like courtesy and consideration, despite being such an integral part of the Arab cultural psyche, have still not managed to get reflected in the retail psyche of this bustling metropolis…..a sad state of affairs indeed in a city that prides itself on being the retail hub of the Middle East.


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