Following on from our review last week, it was with anticipation that the ShopperTrak team tuned in for the second instalment of Channel 4’s ‘Liberty of London’, returning to the store where preparations for the run-up to Christmas were already underway. Loyalty was at the heart of this week’s episode as the programme examined how staff interact with shoppers to build a rapport, tailoring their service to suit the individual and to provide the best possible customer experience.
In any line of business, customer service is of paramount importance, and in retail, it has a direct effect on whether or not the shopper will return to the store. This is even truer at Liberty where high-end price tags mean that everything must be perfect for the consumer to justify making the investment. In episode two, viewers met Jules and Trudy in the haberdashery department who know many of their customers by name, even receiving Christmas gifts from them from time to time. As Trudy remarked, the difference at Liberty is that customers are treated ‘like people, not cash cows.’ The business also recognises its best staff and knows when to put them on the shop floor, paying close attention to busy periods.
Management of customer relationships can differ between departments. In the carpet section for example, head of department, Bruce, stressed the importance of maintaining a strong level of trust with each of his customers. Whether they’re a teacher or a multi-millionaire, ‘nobody wants it publicised that they’re spending an awful lot of money’ he explained, asking the cameraman to leave during one transaction later in the programme.
Staff sell more than just merchandise
It can be easy to underestimate how powerful staff can be for selling the brand to a customer and it’s vital that retailers understand that they are the company’s best ambassadors. Monday’s episode highlighted the enthusiasm of Liberty’s staff – assistant Judy Rose beamed as she talked about a fabric that the company had named after her, while Emma, head of art fabrics, has a house filled almost entirely with Liberty purchases. Employees such as Emma, who have worked at the store for over 20 years, are prime examples of the importance of staff loyalty and ensuring they are rewarded in return for hard work. ‘I will never work anywhere else,’ said Emma, ‘I am Liberty’. Those who are performing well should be encouraged with incentives for meeting targets for example.
While the customer is always a priority for the retailer, it is essential that staff are too – they are your primary ambassadors. Get this right and loyalty to the brand, as shown at Liberty, will develop from the inside out.