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Quick Summary

The Australian Customer Service Association has recently undertaken some extensive research across the country on the levels of service provided by various business sectors...

Retail Sector Rates Badly On Customer Service

3 min
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The research found seven typical Australian service "characters" that were commonly encountered by customers. These characters were:

The Amateur - The Amateur suffers from the syndrome that says "I only just started today" or "I'm just filling in". They don't know anything about the service they are providing - and they don't want to find out. If things go wrong they won't take the blame because they are new or "haven't been told". They often have many excuses.

The Bureaucrat - The Bureaucrat does everything by the book. They follow strict rules, policies and guidelines and will not be flexible to even minor requests or suggestions. They have an attitude that says "I just work here".

The Ostrich - The Ostrich seems to be blind or busy when customers are anywhere in sight. They are also often deaf and oblivious to customers. The Ostrich is too buried in work to notice you, or is distracted by something they should be doing. Work would be OK if it wasn't for the customer.

The Snob - The Snob is selective about who they serve and how they serve them. They make value judgements about customers and make it clear that they should feel privileged to be served by them.

The Robot - The Robot has standard ways of dealing with service situations and they cannot change for any reason. Their scripted responses are not genuine attempts at service, but formulas designed to avoid customised service.

The Buddy - The service Buddy is too chatty, too forward and too quick to serve you. They jump on you when you approach, follow you around, and don't leave you alone and constantly want to chat.

The Hit Man - The Hit Man is only interested in making a quick sale. This person will then push you out. Once the sale is made, you are of no interest to the Hit Man. They will do almost anything to make the sale - including making shallow promises, and undermining the competition.

The research tracked the incidence of each of these characters in various business sectors and found that the Retail sector performed very poorly across Australia - 89% of those surveyed had encountered problems in the Retail sector over the past 12 months. An incredible 91% of Australians had encountered a "Hit Man" in the Retail sector. Other characters were encountered with similarly high levels of frequency - 81% of customers had dealt with a "Robot", 80% with a "Buddy", and 79% with an "Ostrich".

On the one hand, these high figures are not surprising in Australia - the Retail sector is made up of a large number of small businesses, which typically engage least in training. There is no doubt that this lack of training contributes to this poor performance in the eyes of the customer.

While this situation is not surprising, it should be of great concern to Australians generally, and the Retail sector specifically. The Retail sector is the "front end" of service to our tourism industry, and as such should be providing leading edge service. With the fast approaching Sydney Olympics, this situation needs to be addressed with some urgency!

This Article is authored / contributed by ▸ Steve S. who travels from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Steve is available for Professional Speaking Work both Virtually and In-Person. ▸ Enquire Now.

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