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Retailers who fail to offer good service won’t get a second chance from disgruntled customers in today’s competitive market. A new survey has revealed that

UK businesses only have one chance to get it right - consumers say that if they receive bad service once they will never buy from that company again. For retailers ‘good service’

means getting the basics right rather than adding special extra touches and flourishes. When consumers were asked what good customer service actually meant to them the most common responses were, ‘helpful and responsive employees who quickly sorted out problems if something went wrong’. Rude and unfriendly staff were

seen as one of the most irritating things about bad service as well as a company that was slow to fix problems. The research involved more

than 2,000 adults questioned by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Mike Nigro, UK managing director said: “This research highlights the importance of high-quality, well-trained employees who deliver great service each and every time.

April/May 2012 Gifts for Garden Centres 5

Good service is vital in today’s marketplace “It also shows that consumers

are accepting when things don’t quite go as expected but it’s how issues are handled that can define great service. This is perhaps even more vital in an era where social networks allow people to complain online in seconds. “The British public are no

longer tolerant of poor service and quite rightly will vote with their feet. Nowadays we have a ‘one chance high street’ – if you don’t provide great service from the very beginning you won’t get a second opportunity.” Worryingly more than a third of

those questioned in the survey said they thought service from UK retailers had got worse in the past ten years. Since Britain’s high streets are

still under pressure from the struggling economic climate, it is significant that many retailers are increasingly looking for ways to increase footfall. Dr Tim Denison, director of

Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance said: “We continue to shop less often. The pain of squeezed incomes remains entrenched and the 20 per cent rise in petrol pump prices of the last two

years is also a key factor. “Promotions which retailers

used to great effect last year are also beginning to lose their punch in driving footfall into stores. They are simply fading into the everyday fabric of a difficult period for retailing, leaving little else in retailers’ first aid boxes to nurse shoppers back to health.” The challenge for retailers is to

make every shopper visit count with the target of pushing up conversion rates and transactions values. This means avoiding customer disappointment through stock-outs, lack of service and unacceptably lengthy queuing times. Recognising the importance of

raising the customer service bar, some retailers are planning on introducing more assistants onto their shop floors rather than being tempted to cut costs by doing the reverse. But Dr Dennison believes 2012

should not be written off too quickly for the sector and said: “With feel good factors surrounding the London Olympics and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and with Summer on its way, we should see more shoppers visiting stores in the coming weeks and months.”

New premises for Yankee Candle

It’s all change at Yankee Candle which has announced new European headquarters at Avonmouth and a brand new showroom in Thornbury, Bristol. The new headquarters are

designed to cope with future growth and include increased warehouse space, state of the art offices and first class distribution facilities. The current offices will close on May 25 and it will be business as usual in the new building from June 6. The new showroom (above) is

already in operation in Park House, a grade 11 listed building where the full Yankee Candle range of products is on display. Managing director, Clive Harper said: “It is important to be able to invite retailers, clients and visitors to a showroom where they view the entire Yankee Candle collection.”

Right Royal mask

Popular Prince Harry has been doing his bit for the gift business after with an appearance at a charity run wearing a mask featuring his brother, Prince William. The popularity of celebrity masks continues to rise with companies like Mask-arade supplying an increasing number of characters. Designs featuring the Royal family are expected to be much in demand at the Summer Jubilee celebrations.

More than 500 garden centres supported the first ever Garden Re-Leaf Day raising valuable funds for children’s hospice garden charity, Greenfingers. Events across the country included everything from school planting projects to family fun days and the event attracted national media coverage. The final sum raised will be announced at the Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association (GIMA) Awards Dinner in the Summer. Pictured above are staff at Monkton Elm Garden Centre.

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