The Opportunity: Extending system excellence from back to front end
As the Head Franchisee for The Body Shop, OLT Retail Ltd operates all 27 stores across the country. For owner Barrie Thomas, embracing technology is what has to happen in order to benefit the business. Already ahead of the curve, technology such as a state of the art POS system, and a two-way staff communication tool using intranet to keep staff up to date on what is happening within the company is already part of the company’s make up. This made the decision to incorporate Customer Radar, a simple system for customers to let the business know what they thought of the service, an easy one.
Previous feedback had been collected through social media and mystery shoppers, although the latter has never proven particularly effective. “I’ve never had much faith that mystery shopper programmes provide a reliable means of drawing conclusions about a store’s performance, as the sample size is just too small to provide statistically significant results,” says Barrie. “Having a reasonably scientific mind, I know that if you take action based on too small a sample size, you can’t be sure you’re addressing the right problem.”
How It Happened: Ease of implementation
The Customer Radar team seamlessly integrated the technology into The Body Shop’s systems, and the feedback began to appear instantly on the dashboards, where main staff and the retail support centre team were able to glean insights about their customers straight away.
At the store level, the insights collected enable managers to monitor how their staff are being perceived by customers. Responses ranging from “friendly” or “helpful” to “not knowledgeable enough” or “too pushy” help them identify any coaching needs or justification for giving praise, having a real impact on both the attitude of their staff and the service that customers receive. It also enables regional managers to identify any training needs and gives the customer service team the opportunity to quickly address any concerns raised by customers.
The Impact: A bigger body of insight than ever before
Incorporating feedback from customers has added another step into The Body Shop’s sales process. All staff tell customers about Customer Radar, allowing the business to get maximum feedback and benefit from more customers lending their thoughts. For Barrie, he can now “monitor what ‘real’ customers are saying about their experience in the Body Shop, which is very insightful.”
Feedback has already affected real change within the organisation at the most important level – contact with customers. While The Body Shop prides itself on it’s ‘no animal testing’, the business extends itself to philanthropic projects also, including ‘Spinning Top’, the in-house charity. While staff were enthusiastic about asking customers for donations, insights revealed that many people don’t like being put in the spot like this, so staff are now more sensitive around this matter, and feedback is revealing the difference. Additionally, customers have said that they would like more product samples, so the team are looking at ways to provide these.
Barrie highly recommends Customer Radar to businesses in the retail space. “I know of no other way of getting so much feedback from ‘real’ customers. 4% of our customers respond, and, in some stores, it’s closer to 10%. That’s an awful lot of customers telling me what they think of us and it comes at a fraction of the price of any mystery shopper programme.”