W(T)H… Smith’s is the pits!
When I was a kid and my friends and I were old enough to go shopping on our own, WHSmith’s was up there with Woolworths for a ‘must visit’.
Ok, so they didn’t have the fabulous pick and mix, but I was a sucker for stationery and coloured pens.
Plus, if Woolies didn’t have a poster of your pin up du jour, you could pretty much guarantee Smith’s would.
Oh, happy days.
I must admit though…. I actually can’t remember the last time I set foot in WHSmith store. Probably when I stopped buying CDs (or maybe even cassettes!)
To be honest though, it sounds like I am not missing out on anything.
I should probably just stick to fond memories.
Because, as it turns out, WHSmith has been rated as the worst high street shop in the most recent Which? survey.
(Bottom of the) Top 100
Each year, the consumer magazine carries out a survey on 100 major high street retailers, asking 10,000 shoppers to rate the stores.
And this year, WHSmith didn’t come out well.
In fact, the were thoroughly slated, with customers criticising them on their customer service, value for money and the quality of their stores.
Shoppers said the stores were out of date, products were too expensive and customer service was poor.
Definitely not the end user experience modern day shoppers are seeking.
Though it doesn’t appear Smith’s are taking any notice of consumers and doing anything to improve.
Apparently, they have been in the bottom two for the last eight consecutive years!
So much for customer feedback management and using positive criticism to introduce improvements!
With such low levels of satisfaction – for so long – I am surprised that WH Smith’s haven’t joined many of the recent high-street casualties.
Last thing I heard, they had been contacted for comment but hadn’t yet responded.
WHSmith top brass are probably hiding under rock somewhere, concealing their shame and licking their wounds (fo the eighth time).
Other retailers picking up the rear of the survey were Clintons, Evans, Sports Direct, Homebase, JD Sports, Toys R Us (and Babies R Us), Dorothy Perkins and Burtons, Halfords and Miss Selfridge.
The best of the rest…
Not all high street retailers got short shrift, obviously.
John Lewis management were probably disappointed, considering they dropped to tenth place, which is their worst ranking to date.
But they still have more to smile about than Smith’s!
Other retailers were positively beaming…
Lush, Savers and Smyths Toys (who I have never heard of!) came out on top.
Savers discounted cosmetics were a big hit with consumers.
Smyths Toys were praised for their staff and levels of customer service.
As for Lush, they were praised for the smell of their stores!
Screwfix, Bodycare, The Perfume Shop, Waterstones, The Body Shop, Dunhelm and Ikea also made it onto the top of the list, offering shoppers the right sort of emotive end-user experience.
Change is afoot
Let’s face it, the world is changing. Consumers are changing the way they shop, particularly with the ease of access to online retailers.
Not to mention the fact that it’s easy to check out store reviews before deciding where to shop.
Of course, this doesn’t make it easy on high street retailers. Or any business, for that matter.
Some traditional businesses are struggling to adapt to change.
But that’s a defeatist attitude!
Change is good. From a business perspective, it should be seen as the perfect chance to seize new opportunities and make your mark on the modern world.
Of course, you need to know what your customers want. We can help you there. User experience monitoring can help you assess your business from the consumer’s perspective and make amends accordingly.
When it comes to the basics though, it really isn’t rocket science.
Consumers want choice.
Plus, good value for money.
And decent quality products.
Not forgetting first-class customer service. And round the clock, easily accessible customer feedback channels. People want you to listen to them. And take action.
Get it right and you will have the perfect mix for consumer satisfaction.
Which means they will be willing to come back to you time and time again. And they’ll tell their friends.
Oh, and it’s clearly a bonus if your premises smell great, too!