Customer Service Levels Stagnating, Survey Finds


San Francisco, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/29/2018 --Customer service levels in the retail sector in 2018 are stagnating at a time when store owners can least afford it, a survey by customer service training organisation KiwiHost reveals.

KiwiHost CEO Jared Brixton said the company has surveyed customer service levels annually since 2008 when customer satisfaction was around 33%, rising to 64% by 2013, where they have since remained – give or take a percentage point or two.

"Rising wages, a more transient workforce that doesn't see retail as a long-term career option, tightening margins and rising fuel costs – not to mention competition from online giants like Amazon – have created a tough environment that discourages investment in people skills," Brixton said.

"Ironically, it is people skills – like communication, the ability to hold a face-to-face conversation and friendliness – that offer the only real competitive advantage to walk-in retail store owners."

Brixton said the advances of technology, including point-of-sale software solutions like Vend, have dramatically changed the landscape, but come with both problems and opportunities.

"Where your millennial workforce understands and is comfortable with technology (and the efficiencies it offers) the people with the money who still enjoy going into the store are 50-years-old plus; these are the customers who want personal, friendly engagement.

"It is imperative that store owners return to personable, informed customers service as a point of difference – the technology is there to make it happen, but training your staff in interpersonal, customer service skills will enable them to sell better, negotiate better and serve better."

Brixton said for many customers there's no real incentive to come in store except to try on sizes and perhaps listen to the opinion of a real human being.

"Your customer researches online. They're informed with reviews. They know prices, specifications, and availability. They can even buy cheaper online, but when they come in the store, even to try on a product or a get a feel for it, that is your opportunity to get them to buy then and there too.

"If price and supply are a bricks-and-mortar retailer's only differentiators, then they're going to struggle," Brixton said.

Caption: Photo by Charisee Kenion @charissek

For more information contact:
Colin Kennedy
Iron Road Limited
+64 27 2456060

Jared Brixton
Managing Director
KiwiHost New Zealand
Telephone: +64 3 343 5007 (office)

About KiwiHost
KiwiHost are New Zealand's largest provider of customer experience management programmes, with special emphasis on developing people and service skills across a diverse range of industries.

Since 1989 KiwiHost has developed customer service skills for more than 50,000 businesses. All this experience has taught KiwiHost that a real customer service experience is what people are looking for. The one thing that customers want most is to connect with the distinct business personality, and the only way to do that is through a company's own personal brand of customer service.

Media Relations Contact
Colin Kennedy
Telephone: +64 27 2456060
Email: Click to Email Colin Kennedy