The German retail sector faces challenges such as declining sales, rising costs and fierce competition from online retailers. According to a recent study by the market research company Viga, the key to more sales is the store employees.

The Customer Satisfaction Survey shows that time capacity should be created to enable store staff to work more flexibly and provide customers with a superior shopping experience. Viga surveyed 1,000 consumers to find out what their wishes and expectations of store staff are and what good customer service means to them.

Good service still a key criterion

The study makes it clear that “good service” almost always leads to repeat purchases, while “bad service” would result in the purchase not being completed and negative word-of-mouth. 74.6 percent of customers said that “good service from a store employee would lead me back to that retailer/brand”.

Consumers attach great importance to interaction with employees and give them a key role in their shopping experience. Customers expect store employees to show them where the products are (64.5 percent), to answer questions about the product they want to buy or query (55.0 percent), and to suggest alternative products if customers cannot find what they are looking for (54.8 percent).

It is worth investing in time

So a first-class customer experience means first and foremost that employees can take their time when customers demand it. The potential buyers prefer to be able to look around on their own for the time being and to have staff available to answer questions and provide help when needed. According to the respondents, the most important criteria for a first-class customer experience in the store in 2019 are: friendly service (66.8 percent), skilled employees (59.4 percent), available employees (52.2 percent) and quick solutions to challenges (50.0 percent).

87.0 percent of German consumers stated that the ability of branch employees to guide and advise customers during the purchasing process was either important or very important. The perfect store associate must therefore be available when needed (58.5%) and answer questions (59.2%). Around half of them are prepared to wait up to four minutes for a store employee before dissatisfaction sets in.

Present employees are not everything

But not only motivated and present employees contribute to the perfect shopping experience, a well-organized (67.8 percent) and clean and tidy store environment (74.4 percent) are also extremely important to customers.

The study concludes: “Branch employees are both the most important asset and the biggest cost factor for retail companies. That’s why it makes sense for retailers to optimize their workforce management and store operations to unlock potential and gain a competitive advantage. In difficult economic times, it makes all the more sense to optimize your greatest asset because the alternative would be cost savings that would negatively impact key competitive advantages such as customer experience and service.”


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Link: The complete study “Saving time in day-to-day business – Smarter personnel deployment increases customer satisfaction” can be found here

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