Aussie retailers with the best customer service revealed, while most fail the test

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Aussie retailers with the best customer service revealed, while most fail the test

Lush Fresh Homemade Cosmetics is one of four local retailers that have secured a perfect score for customer service in a survey of 265 retailers.

Lush joins Apple, Nespresso and The Body Shop as the brands to achieve the highest possible score in BE Brands Australian Retail Survey, which ranked the customer service of brands over a six-month period.

Another 15 brands achieved “excellent” scores of at least 75 out of a possible 100.

These include popular local brands such as Aesop (90), Lorna Jane (88), Kikki.K (87), Gorman (78) and R.M. Williams (75).

The survey involved “secret shoppers” visiting the retail outlets and assessing the brands on six criteria.

Each criteria was scored with varying amounts of points. Brands could receive: up to 40 points for the “ability to articulate a brand story”; up to 20 points for “store look and feel” and “staff attitude and commitment; up to 10 points for “store consistency with website”; and up to five points each for “acknowledging the customer upon walk in” and “standard of approach within five minutes”.

But while there were clear standouts among the brands surveyed, Simon Hammond from BE Brands said they were plenty that fell way below the mark.

Fewer than 10% of the retailers visited were rated as “good retail brands”, while more than 30% of the businesses did not approach the shopper within five minutes of them entering the store.

Hammond said in a statement 60% of the retailers received a score of zero for staff commitment.

“The best brands create tribes of people who are drawn to what the brand stands for, not merely what it sells,” Hammond said.

“Their behaviour towards that brand becomes emotional and automatic.”

“The best brands train staff on why the brand exists, why it matters and ensure they are able to tell a story that’s linked to all other aspects of the brand.”

We try to “make their day”

 

Peta Granger, director of Lush Fresh Homemade Cosmetics in Australia, told SmartCompany this morning Lush’s mission is to treat every customer the same, regardless of why they walk into a Lush store.

“Lush shops are special places and people are drawn into them for many different reasons: from regular customers restocking their staple products to new customers mesmerised by the smell or just wondering what we’re all about,” she says.

“But for whatever reason people come into our stores, our goal is the same: to make their day.”

“Our approach to customer service focuses on really connecting with the person in front of us and finding out all we can about them, their skin, their hair, their lifestyle to be able to find something that is just right for them.”

But Granger says Lush’s approach to customer service is also influenced by “something broader too”.

“Lush is founded on ethical business practices and actively campaigns on animal rights, human rights and environmental issues, and so we attract staff who care passionately about these issues,” she says.

“This transfers into great customer services because our staff really care about people and genuinely focus on getting it right for their customers.”

Granger is also passionate about involving all Lush employees in decisions that affect their day-to-day working life.

“We also try to keep shop floor staff around at all important decision-making times – like when deciding the next ethical campaign, overhauling our training programs or choosing the next promotion for our windows,” she says.

“It saves us from the mistake of having too few people at the top, too far removed from the customer making all the big decisions and makes sure that the customer is always ‘in the room’.”

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Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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