Last week, one of our top speakers, David Smith (former People, IT and Loss Prevention Director at ASDA), spoke with our ‘Future Leader’ Members and made a point that’s so simple and easy, (yet unfortunately not nearly common enough) that I wrote it down in my CX4.0 folder and am pleased to share it with you all today.
As many of you will have read before, David was part of the turnaround team that steered ASDA from near collapse to be voted the No.1 Best Place to Work in the Sunday Times Awards. Given that 80% of the team were paid minimum wage it wasn’t through their pay packet that David won them over. When I asked him how then did he manage it he shared several points but one last week stood out for me:
“We set out to be Britain’s friendliest retailer, so we hired friendly people.”
It’s so simple, so obvious, so repeatable….and yet so rare. How often do you go into a retailer, service provider, estate agent, and are greeted by someone with a warm, genuine, friendly smile? “Not often enough” I bet many of you are saying.
David explained how they identified whether someone was friendly or not by assessing them for a day using different exercises. The result was to recruit some exceptional people who would regularly go the extra mile.
One story I loved was a customer who asked for assistance to find a pair of black trousers in his size. There were none on display so the shop assistant went into the stockroom and couldn’t find any there. Learning that they were to be worn at his daughter’s christening the next day, (the customer’s wife had told him that under no circumstances was he wearing his jeans!) the assistant called three other stores but they didn’t have any either. “What time is the christening tomorrow?”…”10 o’clock”…”Can you be back here for 8am?”…”Yes”…”In which case I’ll take a pair home that’s the right waist size and shorten the trousers for you and bring them here first thing tomorrow.”
This is just one of hundreds of stories that highlights why hiring the right people (make that the right, friendly people) is so important if you’re going to deliver CX4.0.
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