There is a concrete link between retail store staffing and the customer experience that makes itself felt at the cash register, a new study shows. One retail chain found a 1 percent increase in customer satisfaction rendered a 0.2 percent increase in same-store sales.
Both quality and quantity of sales associates and manager are important, according to 5,000 consumers polled on behalf of Axsium Group, a workforce management consulting firm. Four out of 10 consumers said that interacting with highly motivated associates has a very positive impact on their buying behavior. Customers who were offered a helpful suggestion by a sales associate also had a shopping basket 31 percent larger than customers who had not.
But the penalty for an unengaged or unavailable associate is high—resulting in lost sales or walkouts. One in three consumers consider highly knowledgeable and well-trained associates as the single most important element when purchasing a luxury product. And three out of four consumers said they will walk out or buy less if there aren't knowledgeable-enough associates in the store.
"We all have stories about how an associate made a difference in our personal shopping experience, changing the course of a purchase," said Bob Clements, senior principal, Axsium Group. "And while these stories reinforce how important we think the associate is to the customer experience, they have historically served as mere anecdotes. To date, there has been no study or survey to back up these great stories with hard data. That is, there haven’t been any studies until now."
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