Great Retail Store Managers Drive Customer Experience and Loyalty

There has been a lot written over the years about the drivers of a great customer experience. Much of the focus lately has been on technology and software. If you are a student of the game, you’ll remember concepts like one to one marketing, personalization and social media channels. “Innovations” have ranged from the basic mail merge (print and e-mail) to hiigh personalized e-mails, targeted offers and more have all been tested, tried and deployed.

There is overwhelming proof that brands that develop a great customer experiences get outsized rewards in market share and revenue growth. My good friend Len Devanna wrote on LinkedIn recently about this topic, citing a 2015 study from Watermark Consulting. Len wrote:

Forward thinking brands are aligning customer facing organizations around a unified view of the customer journey. Doing so drives cross-functional unity, and starts to unveil the internal metrics and KPI’s that are truly important… And they’re likely different than what you’re measuring today.

Customer experience leaders outperform the market via Watermark Consulting

I couldn’t agree more.

In the world of multi-location businesses (retail, banking, franchises, etc.) it’s worth noting how critical the location or store manager and personnel are in relation to customer experience. The challenge of course, is how to you to measure, track and understand the value of a smile, or a friendly greeting?

A store manager at a clothing retailer told me that if she walks into a retail store and isn’t greeted within a few seconds, she’s gone. That may be an extreme reaction but during my own mall walk, I did note the differences as I walked into different stores. In some stores, I was approached immediately while at others it felt more like a deserted ghost town. Keeping your best, friendliest people “on the floor” is a power move that apparently is still a major opportunity.

I’ve come across a stack of research over the past few months that really shows the drag that administrative tasks have on store managers. The estimates range from 18- 40% of time being spent on non-customer facing administrative tasks. This seems to apply across all multi-location business models. If you have staff interacting with customers in any sort of physical scenario, they are likely spending too much time focused on the wrong things!

Just yesterday I came across more evidence on Progressive Grocer (h/t to the great blog written by Zenput):

“Personal interactions with store associates and customers hold the trump card for solidifying shopper satisfaction and loyalty”

In multi-location and retail in particular, this all adds up doesn’t it? It should go without saying that an investment in having physical locations is capital intensive. With all the attention on digital and omni-channel experiences, perhaps it’s time to address the most critical investment in your network: your store managers and store personnel.

SpendBoss provides a platform that enables local store management to be more efficient while delivering corporate headquarters control, oversight and analytics to drive down costs and streamline store communications. The end result is that your store managers will have more time for the sales floor and high value activities – more time mattering.