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Comment: ‘Clarke must focus on what people really need’

In advance of Tesco’s annual report and Philip Clarke’s expected recommendations to revitalise the company on Wednesday, Jo Causon, Chief Executive of the Institute of Customer Service, comments.


Comment: ‘Clarke must focus on what people really need’

Philip Clarke is anticipated to report annual profits of nearly £3.9bn for the year, however, this is expected to be overshadowed by Clarke’s recommendations. In light of growing customer and shareholder discontent, Mr Clarke’s blueprint is expected to highlight a slow down of store expansions and increased focus on customer interaction.

“The UK retail sector is highly competitive and while many consumers continue to feel the pinch, value for money remains a key footfall driver. But it is not just low prices motivating consumers, as the recent successes of Waitrose and John Lewis over the Easter period demonstrate. The whole customer experience influences loyalty and patronage.

“The Institute of Customer Service’s most recent UKCSI report highlighted a correlation between those companies scoring highly in terms of customer satisfaction and those with the highest market share.

“When market share falls, or companies identify that they have gone adrift of their value proposition, it is imperative to reconnect with customers.

“Efforts have already been made by Tesco to move away from a purely price lead proposition with the rebranding of its value line.

“Mr Clarke must continue to ensure that Tesco listens to and truly takes on board feedback received by shoppers at every touchpoint. But he must also evaluate the customer journey to identify what is important to real Tesco shoppers: from the layout of the store, to product choice and interactions with staff who are well trained, responsive and engaged.

“Complaints, whether online or offline, must be viewed as an opportunity to improve, and these need to be responded to and dealt with proactively at both operational and board level.

“Service delivery must be consistent across all touchpoints. A focus on Tesco’s online services is welcomed, but this must not be at the expense of its other services.”

You can hear best customer experience practice and innovation from Costa Retail, The White Company, Shop Direct Group,  Orange-France Telecom, Lush, Joules Ltd, Tesco Plc, Just-Eat, Topshop, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, The Logic Group, Empathica, Visa Europe.
Confirmed speakers from these companies will be presenting at the Retail Bulletin’s 3rd Customer Loyalty Conference, June 13th 2012, sponsored by The Logic Group. With excellent networking opportunities throughout the day and a chance to ask our customer loyalty experts their burning questions through our interactive conference sessions and Twitter feed, can you afford to miss this high-quality Conference? Click here for more details and registration.

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