Customer service expert says: ‘What a difference a name makes’
New research carried out in three countries has found that in garden retail businesses, something as simple as wearing a name badge can make a huge and immediate difference to customer satisfaction levels.
The study, carried out by mystery shopping and customer experience experts Shopper Anonymous (www.shopperanonymous.co.uk), found that when garden centres they work with introduced name badges for all staff, customer satisfaction ratings rose by a remarkable 12% almost overnight, in comparison to those that didn’t require staff to wear badges.
The figure came out of the study of 10,000 mystery shopper reports carried out in garden centres and related retail outlets over the last eight years in the UK, Australia and New Zealand by Shopper Anonymous.
Mystery shoppers wanted staff to be wearing badges so they could distinguish between staff and other shoppers if uniforms weren’t being worn; said they trusted staff wearing name badges and were more likely to build up a relationship conducive to making a sale with someone who wasn’t anonymous.
Founder and Managing Director of Shopper Anonymous, Jonathan Winchester, says the findings carry a stark message for those running garden centres and nurseries:
“Who wouldn’t want to see an almost immediate rise in satisfaction from their customers? It’s a no brainer, isn’t it? It may seem like a minor thing but customers like to know who they’re being served by and it makes it easier for the staff member to build rapport, thus making it easier to sell on. Badges also make staff more accountable for their actions and attitude as customers know who to complain about.
“I often hear garden centre owners saying ‘my staff don’t want to wear name badges’ but it should be part of conditions of employment, and management need to lead by example; after all, the manager is the first person customers want to be able to identify!
“A lot of consumer focused businesses such as garden centres really don’t know what customers think of their staff or service or whether they come away with a positive or negative impression, as they’ve never been mystery-shopped. It’s only by regular checking through a programme of mystery shopping that you discover the valuable insights and small changes such as introducing name badges that can make huge differences to the business.”
Jonathan’s top tips for introducing name badges into your business:
- First names only: this helps allay security fears
- Don’t make the badges too shiny: they need to be readable under bright over-head lighting
- Make sure staff understand the benefit of wearing badges and make their importance part of staff training.
- Senior staff need to lead by example by always wearing one.
- Ask your mystery shoppers to specifically look for name badges when dealing with staff, and reward those identified and successfully mystery shopped.
- Also reward those who remember to wear their badge with spot prizes and team awards.
Paul Cooling of Cooling’s Garden Centre near Sevenoaks in Kent introduced name badges for all staff a few years ago and has seen the difference they can make:
“Having people’s names on view definitely helps improve the perception of good customer service. Some of those in the upper echelons of retail have had name badges for their staff for some time and Coolings now do the same; if anyone is without a name badge, the rest of the team pull them up on it as it lets the rest of the team down.
“If someone is giving good service, the customer will look for that staff member’s name and look for that staff member again in the future. We often get complimentary letters mentioning good service and mentioning people by name – which goes down very well when they’re pinned up in the staff room, boosting team morale.
“Staff are definitely more aware that they’re accountable when they’re wearing their name badge. When we introduced them one or two people felt it intruded on their privacy, especially some of the less outgoing staff members, but now they all wear it without questioning it.
“Giving the staff name badges has definitely been a benefit to the business. We spend hundreds of pounds a year on the badges themselves as all staff have two, one on a fleece and one on their inner shirt so there’s always one on view, so we definitely think it’s worth it.”
About Shopper Anonymous
Shopper Anonymous UK is the UK’s leading mystery shopping company, specialising in improving customer service standards by providing businesses with constructive, non-emotive feedback through our mystery shopping programs.
Shopper Anonymous programs are unique due to the quality of observations. Mystery shoppers are hand-picked and fully trained, meaning the quality of the feedback is accurate and written in a style that explains the experience in a full, constructive but honest manner.
Shopper Anonymous worked with many HTA members who appreciate the quick turn around of the feedback and action planning support programme which ensures the mystery shopping really focuses on helping owners and mangers grow their businesses.
Set-up in 1995 by Jonathan Winchester, in Perth, Western Australia, Shopper Anonymous have developed the highest quality mystery shopping product in the world.
Ten years later, after successfully expanding the business into the Eastern States of Australia and New Zealand and selling them, Jonathan moved back to East Sussex to establish Shopper Anonymous UK.
For more details see http://www.shopperanonymous.co.uk or call 01424 858 230
For all media enquiries including images, interviews and the chance for journalists to go ‘under cover’ as a mystery shopper, contact Steve Bustin on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07803 729208.