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 Rania Habib
“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.