In this assignment I will be writing about the importance of having good communication skills in customer service. I was assigned to a two week work placement at Superdrug where I had to deal with different types of customers and their needs and expectations. I also was instructed by the supervisor to give good customer care and service to customers.
Explanation of what a customer is
Customers are people or businesses who pay for goods and services or benefit from a particular business. People such as:
* The elderly
* Insurance companies
In this task I will be explaining the meaning of internal customers. I will also be giving examples of what an internal customer is.
Internal customers are those people and employees who might use a company’s services and products. Examples of internal customers are:
The store Manager is an internal customer because he/she benefits from the company when the company gets sales. They also may get a pay rise if the business does really well. The manger depends on the business to get sales, if the business does badly the manger is then at risk of losing money or getting sacked.
The security guard is an internal customer, for his/her service of making sure goods are not thieved from the store he/she benefits from the business by getting a months salary and also may get discounts from the business.
The cleaner’s job is to make sure that everything in the shop is clean and presentable. The cleaner benefits from this by getting a monthly salary and may get a discount on the products he/she buys from the business.
In this task I will be explaining the meaning of external customers. I will also be giving examples of what an external customer is.
An external customer is an individual or business outside of the company who receives goods or services from that particular company. For example:
Banks are external customer because they benefit from the money that is given by companies. They benefit from this money because when the money is given to the bank the bank loans the money to other companies and make profits off of it e.g.(interest).
The suppliers are external customers because they provide the products for the businesses and the businesses therefore buy the products from them. The suppliers make a profit from that money used to pay for the product which enables the people who work with the supplier to get a salary.
People are external because they buy products from the business and in return they get good service and quality products.
Customers at Superdrug and their needs and expectations
In this task I will be identifying 4 types of customers I came across while working at Superdrug and what their needs and expectations were.
While on my work experience I came across a range of different customers such as:
* The elderly
I didn’t come across the external customers who are:
* The cleaners
* The manager
* Insurance company
Internal customer needs at Superdrug
The store Manager needs to come to the store and buy product in-order for him/her to get paid. The manager also needs employees to come to work early in-order for the store to open if no-one comes in to work the business will have to get closed down and the manager will lose his job. He/she also needs holiday entitlement
The security guard needs to get paid for his/her services. Him/her also need to have at least one lunch break and needs to be useful e.g. (watching out for thieves).
External customer needs at Superdrug
The bank needs Superdrug to put more money into it that they take out so the bank can make profits. The bank also needs the money to get into the bank on-time and always have some of that money in the bank.
The needs of the insurance company are for Superdrugs to pay them.
To meet customer needs knowledge of the products are necessary. A lot of elderly customers come in to the store for the in-store pharmacy, the customers brings their prescription to the counter and or they may ask you for something you will have to understand what they need so that the customer can purchase the product. The customers are also like to be buying the product from a decent enough price and have good quality.
Superdrug attracts a lot of teenage customers because they like to buy a lot of hair products and perfumes. They need good value for money as they don’t work to get money themselves and quality products.
Internal customer expectations at Superdrug
The store Manager expects employees to come in every day and give good customer service and expects a permanent job. He/she also expects the employees to be polite and pleasant to him/her, and expects the business to look after him/her e.g.(sick pay).
The security expects to be treated with respect by all staff in the store, a lot of thieves come into the store everyday and if the security is to catch one of those thieves he/she expects to be praised and maybe get a pay rise for the hard work. For his/her service of making sure goods are not thieved from the store he/she expects to benefit from the business by getting a months salary and also may get discounts from the business.
External customer expectations at Superdrug
The bank expects Superdrug to pay their money on time and use they right forms. They also expect the money to come in regularly.
The Insurance Company expect Superdrug to pay their money on time every month and not make untrue claims because this will make the insurance company lose out on money. They also expect Superdrug to fill the form out correctly when apply for that particular company.
Elderly customers expect to be treated with respect and when asking for a prescription they expect staff to be polite and the prescription to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. Elderly customers also expect to have easy access around the store.
Teenagers expect good customer service from employees. They also expect the products to be of good quality and value for money. They also expect for the product that they want is always available.
Customer’s expectations at Superdrug are quiet high and are always increasing. While on my work experience I came across many different types of customer, below are just a few examples of customers I came across in the business and what their needs and expectation were.
Why you have to present yourself appropriately and prepare your work area before customers arrive in Superdrug.
In this task I will be explaining why it is important that staff present themselves appropriately and prepare their work area before customers arrive.
In Superdrug the majority of customers are members of the public, the appearance of both the staff and the premises are very important. It is important in a retail business that staff pays attention to their appearance because customers expect you to be smartly dressed, and also to be approachable this includes having good hygiene.
It is important that I had a positive attitude towards customers so that they may feel welcome to return back to the store and buy products. Knowledge of products and services is also very important because customers won’t always know about the product so they would seek advice from staff.
In Superdrug it is important that the work area is clean and tidy before customers arrive to provide a pleasant and sufficient environment to give the impression to the customers that the store is well looked after. It is important that equipment is easily accessible to those who need to use it. For example the tills would be turned on and appropriate amount of cash put in, and televisions advertising certain products so that customers can buy them. The work tops will also be cleaned before customers arrive.
It is also important to keep store safe for customers at all times this can be done by making sure that the till area is always tidy and making sure the walking areas no obstructions such as boxes and plastic wrappers left from staff stacking items. There would also be security staff protecting the store.
How Superdrug staff prepare themselves and their work area for customer service
In this task I will be describing how staff in Superdrug prepares themselves and their work area for customer service.
While on my work experience I had positive attitude when dealing with customers and was enthusiastic about the products I was selling. It is also important that I was polite and understood the customer’s needs so that the customer will be happy to buy the product I was describing to them.
In Superdrug it was expected of me to be professionally presented. The customers will have certain expectations including being approached by staff that is clean, smartly dressed and has good personal hygiene.
I was instructed by the manager to arrive at the Superdrug wearing a smart black blouse with smart black trouser and black shoes (no trainers). It is also expected of me to have clean hair and brushed teeth so my breath does not smell while talking to customers.
It was important that I had good posture which means standing up straight and looking confident so that you look approachable by customers. If I did not have a good posture for example slouching with my hands in my pocket customers may think I can’t be bothered and I don’t care about my job, therefore customers will not feel comfortable approaching me.
It is important that when I was talking to a customer face to face that I was to stand at least arms length away from them. Standing closer than the recommended length is invading that customer’s personal space and they may feel uncomfortable. Standing further away from the customer may give them the impressions that you are either scared or you don’t have time for them.
First impression of a business is very important. If a shop is first opening and the shop floor is dirty and staff looks scruffy, the customers may think the business is not run properly and may not get the chance to see the products. The customers will see the dirt and poor appearance of the staff and will expect the product to be poor quality.
Knowledge of products and services
Customers expect staff to know about the products and services that the retail outlet provides. It is important that staff familiarise themselves with the layout of the shop floor, this will enable staff to provide information regarding products (e.g. product whereabouts).
While on my work experience at Superdrugs it was required of me to have knowledge of the section I was working in and also know other sections around the store, I was given a sheet of paper showing everything that was in the store and where they were. By the end of the day I knew where every thing was on the shop floor, when customers approached me asking where a particular item was, I was able to tell them straight away. It helped to have the section I was given to work in because I had a lot of knowledge of those products as I am always buying those products myself.
Organisations guidelines and standards required for customer service
It is essential that Superdrug have a customer service policy that states the required standard for customer service. This ensures that employees know what to do when they are dealing with customers and will help them provide a high standard of customer care.
It is important that staff are good at working as a team, this can improve your customer service skills as you would have to use the same skills in order to build a good relationship with your team workers. For example listening skills, negotiation skills and assertiveness. Teamwork involves sharing ideas and working together, for example in Superdrug on the pharmacy counter processing customers prescriptions is customer service staff working with each other the till staff send prescription info to a computer behind the scenes, the prescription is then processed and given to the customer.
In Superdrug it is important that the work area is clean and tidy before customers arrive to provide a pleasant and sufficient environment to give the impression to the customers that the store is well looked after. It is important that equipment is easily accessible to those who need to use it. For example the tills would be turned on and appropriate amount of cash put in, and televisions advertising certain products so that customers can buy them.
Safe and tidy work area
It is important in that Superdrug keep the work area clean and tidy. I did this by making sure that I cleaned up my rubbish after stacking the shelves. If the store is not kept safe and tidy it could cause hazards and may result in customers injuring themselves. It is also important that the workplace is kept tidy because staff may find it is easier to lose important documents.
Efficient use of space
It is important that in Superdrug there is enough space for all types of customers to walk about with. For example mothers with buggies and disabled people in wheelchairs. It is also important that items displayed on the shelves are easy reach by customers of average height. Remember high shelves can make it hard for shorter people to reach.
Health and safety
By law all employees/staff are required to take responsibility of their own health and safety and that of other e.g. (customers). It is also important that when staff use equipment they clean up after themselves or put the equipment in its rightful place. For example, when stacking out items on the shelves make sure the boxes or the products wrapping is not obstructing the aisles, this could cause a customer to trip and injure themselves.
It is important that staff follow the procedures of fire safety. All members of staff should know what to do in an event of fire and where the equipment is, for example marked fire exits, emergency evacuation procedures and fire extinguishers. While on my work experience on the first day I was shown all the nearest fire exits and it was explained to me what I should do in an event of fire.
There was a practice fire alarm and it was my job to make sure that all customers were safe and evacuated the building immediately.
It is important that all staff in Superdrug no what to do in case of an accident to an employee or customer. If a customer or employee has been injured it is important that you notify an appropriate member of staff e.g. (manager, first aider). If the injury severe you should dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
Health and Safety risks in the workplace
In this task I will identifying four possible hazards found in Superdrug.
Four possible hazards in Superdrug
Slips, trip and falls
In this task I will be identifying the potential hazards and risk in Superdrug. I will also be explaining how the hazards and risks could harm employees and customers.
If shelves are broken and not repaired quickly. A customer might want an item which is on a high shelf not knowing that is broken they will pick up the item and the products could fall on the customer which may cause an injury.
If shelves are broken and not repaired quickly. An employee can be stacking the shelves not knowing the shelf is broken they will stack items on there and the shelves will collapse onto the person causing an injury.
Slips, Trips and Falls
If the floor has just been cleaned and a hazard sign has not been put up. A customer could walk into the store not knowing the floor is wet, they would then walk in that wet area and slip and injure them self.
If an employee has just finished their task of unpacking products and stacking them on the shelves and they leave the rubbish on the floor, another employee could walk by not knowing the rubbish is there, the could trip over rubbish and fall and injure themselves.
If the fire exits are not clearly labelled for customers in an event of fire customers could be a great danger.
If employees leave their boxes and rubbish in front of the fire exits in an event of fire people won’t be able to get out of the building and will then result in a lot of staff and customers getting injured.
It is important that customers do not smoke in the building because if they are to drop the cigarette on the floor without putting out, this could cause the building to set on fire and put a lot of lives in danger.
If employees are to smoke in the building they at risk of injuring themselves and others around them, everyone around them will be breathing in second hand smoke which could damage their body severely. The employee is also at risk of causing a fire and getting sacked.
In this task I will be explaining the meaning of communication.
The meaning of communication
Communication is when people interact with each other and share information. For example, while on my work experience I listened to customer’s needs and what they had to say which is that they wanted to buy a 3 mobile, then I gave back the right information on products and services in order for them to buy the products they wanted.
Why it is important to have good communication skills
It is important to have a good level of communication skills because in the retail industry a large proportion of the work is dealing with customers verbally. Customers expect retail staff to be helpful, polite and to be well presented. Retail staff are required to have a good level of spoken English in order to understand customer needs and to be able to clearly provide information on request.
Throughout my work experience I think I had very good communication skills towards customers I feel that I showed that I was enthusiastic about what I was doing. And there for customers would not hesitate to approach me. In the end it is important that the customers get what they want, the business then makes money and customers will be happy to return to the store.
In this task I will be explaining 3 types of communication I came across when approaching staff in a business
One example of verbal communication that I came across as a customer was that when I asked a member of staff for a particular item they explain very clearly where the item was and they were very welcoming and polite
One example of non-verbal communication that I came across was that when I tried to approach a member of staff in a store they didn’t even make eye contact with me they just pointed to a section of the store.
One example of body language that I came across is that when I tried to ask a till cashier for some information they just shrugged their shoulders with an angry face like I done something wrong.
In this task I will be identifying six communication skills and why they are important
Appropriate spoken English
It is important to have appropriate spoken English in Superdrug. While on my work experience it was important that I was polite to customers and that my language was clear and straightforward so that customers would fell comfortable buying the products and to return back to the store.
Level and tone of voice
When speaking to customers it was important that I pay close attention to my level and tone of voice. For example, if my tone of voice is too loud the customer may think I am being angry towards them. The level of voice should be balanced, not too loud and not too quiet.
In Superdrug it is important to be welcoming and friendly. For example, I welcomed every customer that came into the store and ask if they needed any help finding anything. This encourage .customers to return to the store/
In Superdrug it was important that I know how to listen to customers. I made sure that I listened to the customer’s needs and what they wanted. I showed that I understood the customers and didn’t interrupt them unnecessarily.
It is important to offer and give help to customers. While on my work experience I made sure I did this. For example, opening doors for customers with lots of bags, this will encourage customers to come back to the store. I also offered to get products from high shelves and if the customer was looking for a product that my store didn’t sell I advised them on what others stores would sell the product.
Questioning is very important in customer services in Superdrug. When customers first enter the store the first contact with them was in form of a question. For example, ‘how can I help you Sir/Miss?’ or ‘what are you looking for?’ Questioning helped me find out the needs of the customer. Which then gave me information on what they needed, to ask another question like, ‘what is your budget for this item?’.
How can I provide good customer care and services?
In this task I will be describing how I can provide consistent customer care and services.
Good customer care
It is important in Superdrug that customers are satisfied with the way they have been treated; giving good customer care and loyalty will attract more customers to the store and keep Superdrug in business.
Giving good customer care means being polite and helpful to customers. It is important that I listen carefully to customers and ask them questions so I get an understanding of what the customer wants so that I can get the right products for the customer. Having a positive attitude towards customers is mostly important because without a positive attitude customers will receive a negative vibe and therefore will not feel comfortable with me serving them. For example, while on my work experience customers asked for products that were no sold at the Superdrug store, instead of saying ‘we don’t have that’ I recommended them to a store that might have it.
It is important when providing customers with information that I am clear and accurate about the product and that I confirm that the customer understands the information I have supplied. It is good to remember that when a customer enters the store, try and give customers more than they pay for.
Good customer services
When customers enter the store they should be assisted. In Superdrug every customer that entered the store was given information on the products that were sold there and the products features.
It is important in Superdug to provide after sales care such as refund and guarantees. Communicating with customers is an essential part of customer service. This includes letting them know what services are available and making sure they are happy with the product I have sold to them.
Good customer service in Superdrug attracts more customers and increases sales. It also improves the business reputation which means more customers just through recommendations. For example, two main factors that contribute to its business success are Superdrugs commitment to high standard of service and the expertise of its staff. To maintain these standards and keep staff up to date with new products Superdrug invests in training.
The importance of providing good customer care and services
Importance of good Customer service Customer service is the provision of care to customers from pre-service to after sales service. It may be face-to-face, over the telephone, written or via new technology using e-mail and the Internet. Superdrug use customer care to create an overall impression of an organisation that puts the needs of the customer first, to ensure quality and increase sales over competititors. Increasingly, Superdrug have customer services departments or customer services desks whose job is to ensure the efficient process of delivering customer care, including provision for those customers with special needs. Superdrug produce literature, which outlines their Customer Care Policy or Charter; this may include their policy on refunds, warranties, after sales service and how to make a complaint. Customer service is very important part of any business organisation.
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