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Talking Business: Manage performance to ensure unbeatable customer service

Across the globe, retailers face an increasingly competitive market and ensuring an excellent customer experience is vital in securing brand loyalty. It is therefore essential that retailers implement processes to support performance management, including identifying top performers, and up-skilling those employees who need to develop in this area. 

A key way to achieve increased custom and build sales is by delivering exceptional customer service. It is important that retailers incentivise employees to deliver great customer service and apply careful performance management when this is not the case.

So, how can retailers effectively use performance management to deliver higher levels of service and motivate employees?

There are practical methods which retailers can adopt, such as:

  • Set clear expectations It is important to ensure that all employees understand the levels of service expected of them and the importance of great service to their customers. Introducing a clear set of performance targets is one way to achieve this.
  • Incentivise employees to go the extra mile Employees are more likely to demonstrate exceptional service if their efforts are rewarded and appreciated by the business. Positive feedback can help motivate employees, as can rewards such as bonuses to those who meet and exceed performance targets.
  • Offer coaching and training When service levels are not being met, it is important to coach employees to remedy any performance issues sooner rather than later. Having a clear training programme in place can assist with this.
  • Be consistent It is important to take a fair and consistent approach in situations where an employee is underperforming. Before applying any disciplinary policy, the business should consider whether coaching can solve the issue. It is often best to offer the employee a reasonable period for improvement. It may be necessary to give the employee a warning where there are continued performance issues. More serious disciplinary action may also need to be taken depending on the particular circumstances. A consistent approach will ensure that all employees know and understand what is expected of them.

Achieving outstanding customer service requires retailers to apply a number of factors, including introducing clear processes for managing employees and ensuring that senior managers lead by example. An improved customer experience brings the benefit of repeat custom and a boost to sales.

Luke Tapp is a senior associate, specialising in employment law (Middle East), at Pinsent Masons


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