Aimia Inc., one of the world’s leading loyalty management company, and TRRAIN, Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India, recntly unveiled an innovative whitepaper–‘Insights into Exemplary Customer Service: Uncovering the Success Mantra’. The study shares insights on what drives retail associates to demonstrate outstanding service and go beyond the call of duty to deliver well beyond expectations. The paper identifies the tangible and intangibles around background, motivation, personality and the work environment that drive retail associates to intuitively respond to customer situations in ways that demonstrate great ownership of delivering customer satisfaction, and as a result enhancing brand loyalty.
Aimia and TRRAIN concluded that retailers must identify and recruit associates that demonstrate empathy and a desire to serve; provide a workplace with a climate of transparency and collaboration to enhance engagement; recognition must be balanced with adequate monetary and non-monetary rewards that include a work-life balance; and finally, the associates must be heard and respected as sources of deep customer insight, especially as it relates to the rapidly evolving consumer.
The key insights from the research indicates that Retail Associates (RAs) that demonstrate exemplary customer service and are characterized by similarity in backgrounds, personality traits and behaviors. Many migrated to other cities in search of work and sacrificed educational and alternative career aspirations in early years in order to supplement family income. The diligent and disciplined RAs are realistic, resolution oriented, tenacious and generally maintain a dignified and positive demeanor. They have a belief in reciprocity and see themselves as good relationship builders who are able to identify subtle human cues and connections to accordingly tailor their service style to the customer at hand.
Vikas Choudhury, Managing Director, India, Aimia, said, “This study develops a pragmatic repository of insights that allows us to amplify the links between customer service and customer loyalty, both from the social humanitarian angle as well as the commercial benefits one. The paper proposes a framework to identify and harness the intrinsic goodness in people and to facilitate creating real relationships with customers, one that drives service excellence.”
BS Nagesh, Founder TRRAIN, said, “This report is meant to stimulate a conversation among retailers, in fact any organization with a last mile customer connect, on how they can proactively identify and hire associates who can become customer service champions and maximise their potential.” This serves as a practical toolkit for retailers to hire more customer service stars, to unlock customer service potential, and to nurture and retain these role models. The study was conducted by Aimia in November 2014, with primary research support from IMRB International. TRRAIN award winners and runners ups were selected from 9000+ candidates, and surveys and in-depth interviews were conducted with them, their families and other stakeholders like their HR and store managers. The retail associates were from Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata and Siliguri.