Argos - 'Raising the Bar'

Barcode (Argos) bn


 

Argos – ‘Raising the Bar’
 

Challenge

Faced with some of the toughest retail conditions for a decade and with the rapid influx of new competitors into the marketplace, Argos believed that the most effective way to differentiate was through superior customer service.

The business implemented a Mystery Shopper programme which immediately highlighted a short fall in customer service across stores. In response a number of customer service improvement measures were put in place which included pioneering technology, re-branding the business and refitting the stores. With numerous initiatives to deliver, teams to lead and a tough market to compete in, there was increased expectation and responsibility for Argos’ Store Managers.

Approach

Building on the success of our leadership and coaching programme for senior leaders in 2009 (Board, Regional General Manager and Area Manager level), we went on to design and deliver a company-wide management training programme for the entire UK and Ireland Store Manager population in 2010.

'Raising the Bar' has been delivered through 144 workshops to 750 Store Managers and, through them, has impacted 23,000 colleagues.

The programme focused on developing managers’ leadership and coaching skills so they could empower their teams to perform at the highest level. Ultimately it aimed to achieve the vision of ‘Making Argos an even better place to shop by delivering exceptional customer service'.

Results

The programme has had a significant impact on the leadership and coaching ability of the Store Manager population.  This, in turn, has enabled Argos to deliver superior customer service.   

The cumulative ‘mystery shopper’ average for 2010 was 89%, the best performance in its history and up 6 points on the previous year’s average. Staff engagement and direct customer feedback via ‘Tell Argos’ were also up on a like for like, quarter by quarter basis 2010 v 2009. These scores were achieved in some of the toughest retail conditions for a decade.

Argos, in partnership with Lane4, was shortlisted for a 2011 Oracle Retail Week Award in the ‘Customer Service Initiative of the Year’ category. 

 
“Before the training programme, our Area Managers and Store Managers were purely focused on process – the customer was the last thing on their mind. The training really engaged, enabled and empowered them. Now they are leading from the front, creating a level of belief, ownership, accountability and pride in Argos that will leave a lasting legacy and become part of the DNA of Argos.”

John Douglass, Former Retail Operations Director