The blog

Are High Street shops still delivering?

Posted on by Alan Gilmour

Recently I went shopping.

To visit a well- known High Street retailer that is present on every High Street. It is diplomatic not to name it. However this tale can be applied to many retailers, service businesses, well-known brands.

It was a Sunday afternoon and the queues at the one open till soon built up. There was only one till open because it appeared there were only two serving assistants in the shop.

The queue huffed and puffed and muttered under their breath that this brand had gone downhill in recent months. Maybe they were in trouble, it was opined. No one said anything out loud. No one mentioned their dissatisfaction to those wearing the uniform of the Brand. That is the British way.

Finally one man spoke out and voiced his dissatisfaction to someone whose badge said ‘Assistant Manager’. Of course it was nothing to do with her. Despite the badge. She was just following orders. And somehow managed to blame the queue on the customers for all coming in at more or less the same time and wanting to be served in a timely manner.

Supply and demand v1

An argument that ignores the obvious fact that it takes two factors to cause a queue – demand and supply to meet the demand.

Nor does it take into account that the people who pay the wages of those working in the shop should not be blamed for wanting service. But the people queuing, despite quietly expressing dissatisfaction with the lack of staff, did not want to make a fuss. Nor did they wish to see someone else create a fuss on their behalf.

This too is the British way.

But as marketers, do we not have a professional duty to speak out about a poor customer experience? Should we not seek to improve the Brands we work with and the Brands we consume?

True marketing is more than just making great ads, or coming up with whizzy, shiny new products. True marketing also obsesses about the experience that is designed and delivered to customers and colleagues.

And to ignore a poor Brand experience is to condemn the next customer to a poor Brand experience. And as marketers we should not want that.

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