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With news that Woolworths has fallen into adminstration, customer service specialists at Abeo Consulting are warning other business not to take their brand reputation for granted and take notice of the activities of their competitors before it is too late.

According to Abeo Consulting’s MD Derek Bishop, one of the main cause’s of Woolworths’ loss in profits is likely to be attributable to their customer service and had they drawn up a competitive analysis plan, it would have given them the ammunition to live up to the top dog title.

“Take Wilkinson’s for example, their customer service has been said to be more akin to John Lewis – if you ask where you can find a product in-store, the staff will take you directly to that product. However in Woolworths, you don’t get the same impression, you just get the feeling that the employees are not interested in the customers at all. It’s true that better customer service is proven to give you better profit”, explains Bishop.

Bishop says that Woolworths will find it hard maintaining or in fact improving customer service, given staff are uncertain of their future. He recommends that management should start communicating and help staff through the difficult period, as the shop floor staff will be the ones who make or break the customer experience.

“Managers need to be walking with the staff on the shop floor, staying close to them, as this is a very traumatic time for them. With managers becoming more sensitive to staff, morale will boost leading to improved sales and more money to put back into the kitty. At the same time, staff will have a huge number of ideas on how things should be improved in order to make a difference to the customer – engaging them will have a positive impact for the business. The employees also need to be kept informed on the movements of the company, if it is to completely collapse, so they would get a chance to create a back up plan if necessary. This will also contribute to higher morale and respect”, explains Bishop.

“Customer experience is so crucial right now as retail sales are already under strain, let alone within Woolworths. They need to start focusing on the customer experience again and put unbeatable prices to the side”, adds Bishop.
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Notes to Editor:

Abeo Consulting specialise in assisting Customer Service Leaders to significantly improve Customer Service, retain customers and reduce costs. They have a depth of expertise in Customer Service, Outsourcing and Leadership development.

Founded by Derek Bishop, a former AXA Head of Customer Service, in 2005, Abeo has a proven track record of delivering business results in high volume and complex environments, whilst leading individual teams through change a performance based culture.

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