Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Customer-service training boosts Mothercare
Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 40, Issue 5
Customer service has improved, mystery-shopping scores have risen and labor turnover and recruitment costs have fallen at UK retailer Mothercare following a training initiative.
The company, which has 4,700 staff at its 231 UK stores catering for parents, parents to be and young children, targeted its customer-service training at 662 team leaders. They were given a new people role as customer-service supervisors and a folder of activities to help them to develop new standards. Training was part of a career-development framework.
The materials explained to customer-service supervisors how to undertake the training, suggested optional activities and featured various theories, checklists and models to help them to learn. For example, to help them to motivate team members to achieve all customer targets, the suggested activity is to visit the top-scoring mystery-shopping store in their area, find out how it achieves the results and implement any best practices into their own store.
The training achieved all its goals… and more. Customer service measurably improved. Mystery-shopping scores have risen from 58.2 per cent to just under 75 per cent. Labour turnover and recruitment costs have fallen.
Of the customer-service supervisors, 11 have been promoted to assistant manager and one to store manager.
Despite the large numbers involved, the training was created for £13 a head and was cascaded down – the training department trained a team of area managers, who in turn trained the 231 store managers. The latter were able to train the team leaders at two-hour workshops.
Julia Manning, Mothercare training manager, said: “The benefits to the business in terms of customer service and product knowledge will grow as the career-development framework becomes embedded in stores and as the framework extends to further levels of the business.”
The training won an East of England prize in the UK National Training Awards.