Today I want to share a short and telling story. I went to H&M to buy some tops for my son. My local H&M is 3 floors of stuff. I realised I was not going to be served on the 3rd floor – one cashier, a very slow, apathetic, young (read – inexperienced) guy, serving a lady with a mountain of clothes she wants to buy. Next to him 2 staff ladies, chatting to each other, laughing, not doing much else. He is looking at them jealously. Cool.
I go to the main floor with a larger cash desk which I expect would be manned by more than one person. Wrong. One slow, apathetic, young (inexperienced) cashier girl and a queue of 7 customers, in varying degrees of impatience. Not much movement. One customer leaves abandoning her bag. Another one. I step to the till and ask if she could perhaps call other cashiers to serve us. She coldly tells me, no, there is nobody else (how about those 2 laughing ladies upstairs?). I fuff, abandon my basket and leave.
I bet someone at the H&M HQs will look at this quarter’s data and record a sales slump in the UK. Oh wow, that must be recession and customer confidence must be low. Really? When have you last checked what your store staff is up to? Do you know how many cashiers you have at the till? Do you have a process where more of them become available once the customer queue exceeds three? Have you any idea what the customer service is like on the retail floor? No, of course not. These are difficult questions requiring drilling and a proactive approach. Blame it on recession instead.