HR & Benefits News is a monthly column by Chris Cooley, co-founder of MyHRConcierge and SMB Benefits Advisors.
In today’s big-box and web-to-door mentality, grocers are considered the most trusted retailers according to the 2018 CX Retail Trends Report.
“Almost 37 percent of consumers rank grocers as the most trusted retailers,” notes this Inmoment survey of 1,300 U.S. Consumers. “Retailers in the Big Box category like Target and Costco came in next at a distant 19 percent.”
Giving a quality experience still matters to your customers
Multiple studies show that today’s customers still care about the “shopping experience.” The study mentioned above, highlights two major things that can transform an otherwise mundane grocery errand into an enjoyable shopping experience: make customers feel special and deliver quality products.
At a time when digital transactions have left many shoppers craving human interaction, grocers who can deliver a one-of-a-kind in-store experience will earn trust from their customers and bring value to their brands. According to the Nielsen and the Harris Poll research conducted on behalf of NGA, loyal independent grocery shoppers spend 40 percent more on groceries vs. the average shopper.
It’s time for grocers to make the most of three major advantages over Amazon, Walmart and others big box grocery concepts:
- Know their customers and their preferences.
- Connect to the local community’s needs.
- Be flexible and willing to adjust to a customer’s immediate needs.
Hiring quality employees can make or break the brand experience
The shopping experience is the essence of a grocer’s brand. In today’s competitive marketplace, your team becomes the literal “face of the brand” to customers, as well as to the community. To keep their “most trusted” brand status, grocers must focus on hiring, training and retaining employees who deliver the one-of-a-kind experience that their customers expect.
You may be tempted to quickly hire someone to fill a vacancy in your company during this labor shortage. However, taking this approach can cost you big, and be disastrous to your brand, allowing big box competitors to poach your hard-won customers.
Here are three tips to help you hire and retain the right kinds of people:
1. Maintain your reputation in the community as a great place to work.
- Unspoken and unresolved work concerns often cause high turnover. For example, 72 percent of people will leave a job because they’ve been bullied or witnessed bullying in the workplace.
- Often businesses don’t recognize the damage to their reputation until it’s too late—customers, job candidates and others in the community become wary.
- Inexpensive yet effective ways to address the growing risk of harassment, bullying and fraud in the workplace:
2. Make it clear in job descriptions, training, coaching and evaluations that all workers are responsible for serving customers. Continue to educate your employees to be sure they know your expectation.
- Include your shopper experience expectations and specific examples in job descriptions (i.e. be friendly, proactively greet everyone with a smile, etc.)
- Use role play when training, coaching and evaluating workers to teach them how to address common customer interactions and challenges.
3. Put your unique brand of shopper experience front and center when you interview candidates.
- Ask the candidates how they would handle 2-3 common customer scenarios they might encounter.
- Pay careful attention to how they respond and make it a priority when you make your hiring decision.
In summary, ensure that you set yourself apart from the competition by embracing the “most-trusted” status of local grocers and be sure to hire and train appropriately to maintain this overall brand experience.
Chris Cooley is co-founder of MyHRConcierge and SMB Benefits Advisors. MyHRConcierge specializes in helping small to mid-sized grocers throughout the U.S. Chris can be reached at 855-538-6947, ext. 108 or at [email protected].