SPEAKER’S CORNER VODAFONE’S RETAIL RISE
There has been a steady but a sure rise in the retail business for Vodafone as a company. Vodafone has been able to notice its own improvement through the Mobile News’ mystery shopping column, and they have also been able to track through its own mystery shopping scores on a five week and 12 week basis and for these Vodafone were first on both counts. However according to Vodafone the journey to the place of prominence has been quite long. The results that were now evident were based on a programme that Vodafone was able to put in place four years back, after the company realized the significance there was in getting the customer’s experience within the stores right.
Vodafone restructured its training programmes and store set ups. Two years past the company announced that it would invest more in retail staff, which was a huge cash investment that thankfully was able to make a real difference. Currently Vodafone measures the footfall in every store to make sure that every store is sufficiently staffed in order to be in a position to support demand and ease the pressure on the members of staff. It is important to note that in the retail business, changes start slowly at the beginning and then they ultimately build quickly and suddenly. As is now evident in the past three months, Vodafone has gathered real pace, with the results based on its programmes, changes in the market, and putting the customer first.
Vodafone’s retail teams are surely in the position to be number one on every high street they are on. There have been changes to the company’s staff training, which actually starts from the time a staff member greets a customer to the time that a sale is closed. The process is not only based on how a sale is made but also on how to interact with the customer also. The company has also amended the way it recruits staff to take on customer service people rather than just people. Previously Vodafone had a very young staff which was not culturally balanced as the company needed it to be for the customer base that Vodafone was serving.
There has been a reduction in the amount of part time staff that Vodafone has had, this was a result of the company having discovered that having more full time staff was bringing better customer service from the point of view of consistency. The company has also made serious investments into employees by offering a formal NVQ programme and there have been results from that investment. The company is also happy to report that there has been a significant reduction of the retail staffs churn. At some point the churn stood at 40 percent per year and the company found it very difficult to improve customer service when they were always retraining.
In conclusion, the company has also made an important discovery that training, motivating and rewarding the staff differently, Vodafone was losing less people because their careers made progress and they were rewarded financially for their performance. It is great news that the churn has dropped to around 20 percent over the past year or so. Surely from this kind of situation Vodafone can only continue to raise and become a global giant in the retail business thus fulfilling its full potential.
(image source: pcadvisor.co.uk)