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Lush named best for service by shoppers

It looks as though customer service is still a huge factor for UK shoppers, after the latest survey by Which highlighted those retailers that are deemed to go above and beyond to make customers happy.

The winner of the best customer service accolade was won by handmade vegetarian cosmetics company Lush, with Richer Sounds, John Lewis and The Disney Store all coming high in the customer poll.

Based on the views of 12,500 shoppers, Which?'s survey gives 100 of the UK's big retailers scores for the level of customer service they are deemed to give by the general public. 

The biggest gripe that customers had when it came to service they received in high street shops was encountering unhelpful staff members. 

This is perhaps why Lush came out on top, as the company has become known for its friendly and attentive staff that are trained to help all customers, know their products inside out and maintain a happy demeanor at all times.

In contrast to this positive example of customer service, the lowest mark in the survey was given to WH Smith for the second year running. Customers seem unimpressed with the service they are receiving in the store, with it being described as dated, falling behind the times, not well stocked and very cluttered.

Other shops that received low customer stores out of the 100 included in the poll were HMV, the 99p Store, Homebase and EE.

Richard LLoyd, Which? executive director, said: "We've seen time and time again that consumers won’t settle for bad customer service and our high street shops survey confirms this. Those stores giving people the care and attention they want have happy customers who return."

Customer service is one of the best ways to create customer loyalty, as those that feel taken care of when they shop - even if they don't end up buying anything - are more likely to return.

Ensuring your shops are well stocked, tidy and have an easy-to-navigate layout is also important, although training your staff to know your products and to give the best service possible are vital aspects to a successful retail business.

While training is an important part of ensuring consistent service, you should also hire the right people for your brand. Taking time to find the right candidates for your store can make all the difference.

People with cheerful demeanors seem to be favoured by customers, who like to feel that staff are always happy to help. A simple smile can make all the difference between a customer leaving your store happy and willing to return, and walking out feeling like the service they received was sub par. 

Failing to continue this level of service can see you slip in customer favour, as Apple found out this year. The technology giant pushed Lush off the top spot in 2013, however; the retailer fell to 13th place in this year's poll.

Customers found it difficult to book appointments with the genius bar, which meant they felt like the level of service they had received had changed. While it still placed high on the survey, Apple fell a long way in customers' opinion as a result of the changes to customer service.

Of course, you can't just fall down the list of favoured retailers, you can also climb up it. Clarks shoe store saw one of the biggest improvements in customer ratings, jumping from 70 per cent satisfaction in 2013 to 79 per cent in this year's survey.

The retailer managed to push its way up from 26th in the poll last lear, landing just outside the top five in the most recent survey - a huge accomplishment. It just goes to show that with hard work, positive changes to service, staying on-trend and by changing with with the times, you are able to alter customers' perception of your brand.

Looking at the service offered by those retailers named within the top five of the Which? poll is a good place to start when seeing what you could do to improve customer satisfaction and service. Emulating these brands in the way they treat customers,while ensuring what you implement suits your business, is a great way to keep your shoppers happy and get them to come back. 

Just remember though, it is far easier to fall down the list than it is to move up, so you should make sure you keep your business working to the highest possible standard.