GAPbuster Findings: Virgin has Best Customer Service

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GAPbuster, a world leader in customer experience evaluation, recently gained a deep insight into customer service levels for entertainment retailing. The customer service evaluators investigate whether the customer experience in the "superstores" was on par with the retailer Virgin in the entertainment sector.

GAPbuster, a world leader in customer experience evaluation, recently gained a deep insight into customer service levels for entertainment retailing. The customer service evaluators investigate whether the customer experience in the "superstores" was on par with the retailer Virgin in the entertainment sector.

GAPbuster Worldwide sent its experience evaluators (mystery shoppers) into 10 stores of each of these qualifying retailers nationwide to experience the typical customer experience. Their chosen area was the DVD and CD sector because it has seen a huge amount of price competition and is also facing a major threat from online music downloading. The evaluations made were on the basis of five key areas: speed of service, staff friendliness, staff interaction and staff/store presentation.

Against expectations, on account of speed of service the supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda have all scored 95 percent, leaving Morrisons and Virgin trailing behind with 85 percent. The GAPbuster target was to queue for less than one minute and to be served within one minute of reaching the counter. This area could potentially have been an area of weakness due to lower staffing levels for the supermarkets. But as the figures suggest they competed strongly.

The retailer Virgin scored a perfect 100 percent score across the "staff friendliness" section. Virgin consistently fulfilled all the three major evaluation criterions i.e. providing a friendly greeting, interaction and farewell to the customers. Tesco and Asda also showed excellent results by grabbing 96 percent and 92 percent scores, respectively.

Staff knowledge and friendliness performs a key role in its brand communication and positioning. So, as expected the retailer Virgin emerged as the top scorer in the Staff Interaction section. The GAPbuster evaluators asked members of staff two questions to test their knowledge and helpfulness:

1) If I buy a DVD as a present for someone who lives in New Zealand, will the DVD work in that country?

2) Will a CD work on a DVD player? Scores were awarded on the basis of the staff member's ability to answer those questions.

Although Virgin was a winner but the score of 83 percent was just satisfactory. A consistent focus in this area could create a competitive advantage.

The four key areas those were dealt with in the presentation section were the exterior, interior and staff uniform/appearance. Adas scored 96 percent and won in this category. It bagged perfect 100 percent scores for store appearance and cleanliness and 80 percent for the wearing of name badges. The retailer Virgin was left behind all its grocery competitors on this standard.

In this very closely fought challenge this month, Virgin emerged as the victor with a score of 91 percent. Asda grabbed second place with 90 percent and Tesco stood third with 89 percent scores. Sainsbury's and Morrisons both were found to be significantly lagging behind. Virgin has delivered its winning performance by a consistently friendly service from front line staff and by outperforming its grocery competitors in the critical area of staff interaction.

Virgin can maintain this viable position in the entertainment sector if it is able to give its best in all the above mentioned factors in spite of the strong competition.

For additional information visit http://www.gapbuster.com

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