|Study: Uninformed associates drive away nearly half of all potential customers|
|Written by Jeremy Burns|
|Wednesday, 02 October 2013 02:17 PM EDT|
Almost 50% of all consumers believe their smartphones are more useful than store associates in helping them make buying decisions, according to a new study from Motorola. A study from Red Ant—a consulting company focused on using technology to help retailers drive experiences—revealed similar issues on the employee side of brick-and-mortar retailers.
In the Red Ant survey of more than 1,000 retail associates in the UK, 47% of employees revealed that they were unfamiliar with the products they were selling. The survey also found that 67% of consumers were disappointed by poor product knowledge, while 40% preferred shopping online in order to avoid shoddy customer service.
“Many retailers are failing to spot this problem,” said Dan Mortimer, CEO of Red Ant. “It’s not necessarily about giving consumers the tools to access the information themselves. It’s about using technology to enable employees to provide a more valuable, enjoyable experience and keep customers coming back for more.”
The research pinpointed poor training as a probable factor in this disconnect between customer and associate. Nearly three in four (74%) frontline employees believe retailers should do more to improve staff familiarity with products offered in their stores. More than half (58%) of the associates surveyed said they had received less than two hours of official training for their role.
Many of these ill-prepared associates reported using tactics to deflect issues stemming from their lack of product knowledge, including directing customers to a colleague (73% reported using this tactic), lying to about a product they weren’t familiar with (63%) and simply leaving the customer unattended on the store floor (48%).
“The decline of the high street is seen as inevitable, but our research shows that better knowledge and product information for shop floor staff could improve consumer sentiment and boost employee confidence, increasing the number of sales made in-store,” Mortimer said.