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A Real Customer's Experience with Service Consistency Across Stores

January 16th 2018

Here's one Sainsbury's customer's real-life experience with varying degrees of customer service in two stores.

A customer is visiting a Sainsbury supermarket and decides before they start shopping to enjoy a light lunch. On visiting the Café area and looking at the menu, they see the option of a Gluten free roll, yet no option of what it can be filled with. On asking the assistant if a Gluten free roll filled with grilled bacon is possible, the assistant replied of course, took the order the customer paid and found a table. After a few minutes a member of staff arrived with the order on setting down the plate she commented, we now ensure all customers who require food meeting dietary requirements are protected and sure enough the roll was lightly warmed in a plastic wrapper.

This really delighted the customer, they were able to order the food required, not always possible when dietary requirements need to be met and the assistant explained why the roll was wrapped. This experience really set a high standard and elevated expectations of other eating places.

What happened when visiting another Sainsbury store?

A week after, the same customer visited another Sainsbury store and decided, based on the resounding success of the visit a week earlier to have another light lunch. On visiting the café, the menu showed that a Gluten free roll was available, so when the assistant asked what would you like and the Gluten free roll filled with grilled bacon was requested, the customer was informed, “we do a baguette”,  but I would like a Gluten free roll please, the customer replied. Hmm, not sure if we can do that? The customer offers some guidance of adding bacon to the cost of the roll, the assistant agreed that approach, with the food ordered the customer took a seat. When the food arrived this time, the roll was not in a bag and not warmed.

What could Sainsbury's do to improve the customer experience?

There are some really good examples here of how using a customer service survey like our Customer Experience Quality Analysis would have helped understand customer needs and built into their service process the areas of customer focus.

Consistent training – service should be replicated across all outlets in the same manner by all staff, ensuring customer needs and expectations are met in the same way. For example, staff should always positive in their response, so rather than saying “not sure if we can do that”they should say, “I am sure that is possible, let me check with my colleague.”

Communication – be clear through all mediums, so ensure that in this case the menu matches what can be provided.

Anticipate customer additional needs – if dietary requirements are asked for, why not offer other products the customer may like that meet their needs, sometimes these can be limited so using the café to promote own brand product is great marketing.

About Voice of the Customer Stories

Building on the insights gathered through our ongoin customer satisfaction benchmarking data, we have started looking at real-life scenarios and how those influence the way people rate their experience and feel about long term loyalty. 

Customer service surveys that offer qualitative, as well as quantitative data, gives you unparalleled insights into your customers' individual interactions with your staff, digital processes and products. These can enable you to pinpoint the areas of your business that need work so you can deliver a high quality customer experience.