Saturday, July 28, 2007

Accenture study says room for improvement for service at retail

We've all been there -- casually browsing and minding our own business at a local store, when all of a sudden a salesrep appears from nowhere to begin "the conversation." Trying to assure the salesman that you're just looking around might get him to back off to a far corner of the store, but rest assured, the moment you pause, scratch your head or look up, he's going to pounce again, in the name of customer service.

Or maybe you've found yourself at the local electronics store purchasing a new TV, DVD player, or other high-tech gadget. You go to the counter ready to make your purchase, but the salesrep won't let you pay until you've gotten the full 10-minute spiel on upgraded cables, an extended warranty, and professional installation services.

Does it bother you? It sure as hell annoys me. And apparently I'm not alone. According to a recent study from Accenture, "During at least one of their last four visits, 89 percent of consumers with annual income below $50K became irritated by a retailer’s actions; 94 percent of consumers with annual income between $50K and $99K became irritated; and 95 percent with incomes of $100K or more became irritated." Ok, so for all intents and purposes, nearly everybody has been irritated by a retail experience in one of their last four outings to the store.

While cross-sell and up-sell opportunities still abound at retail, and many customers in Accenture's survey admitted they'd be willing to spend more than they had originally anticipated if the conditions were right (e.g. they were at one of their preferred retailers, they received preferential treatment for their loyalty, etc.), too many retailers botch the opportunity by offering the wrong level of service (either too much or too little), or the wrong sales pitch. Accenture recommends a four-part strategy to help improve matters, making sure that the Right person with the Right skills always be available to the consumer at the Right place, and at the Right time.

Want to know what they recommend? Then I suggest you download the PDF.

Tags: customer service, retail experience

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