Thursday, August 10, 2017

High Street Habits

Well this is good news, I thought it was just me. What we have here are two contrasting surveys – one a survey of high street business owners and the other of their customers. And it makes for interesting reading.

The first comes from Business Advice
Superior customer service is the best way for independent UK retailers to compete against larger brands on the high street, while the rise of online shopping remains the most significant threat to high street business owners.
However the graphic below was quickly picked up by the Wanstead Conservative's parking action group (We Want Say) pointing out that "the second biggest threat to the high street is parking restrictions".

Now, I don’t know how many times I have to say this but here we go again. All the evidence, studies and practical examples show that if you remove cars from the high street it increases footfall, trade and profits. Why don’t the high street traders get this? People who arrive on the high street by public transport spend more money. It has been shown time and time again but will they listen? No. And if they don’t listen to this are they listening to their customers?

So let’s move on to the survey of high street customers and guess what? Parking is not even mentioned nor does “superior customer service” rate anywhere.

What it shows in the headline is that 90% of Businesses are losing out on billions due to poor ethics and that conscientious customers want trust in their trollies and good practice with their goods.

It shows that business should promote their credentials just as much as their products and customer service - 90% of people surveyed said they always take a business’s accreditation and record into account when it comes to things like tax, hygiene, staff morale and environmental issues.
  • Among the things customers look out for are hygiene certificates, with 95% of people saying this was extremely important to them.
  • 45% of those asked said they would only consider using businesses that pay their tax in the UK, while a massive 75% wanted to see indications that companies they use are taking care of the planet.
  • A business proudly displaying its certifications for all to see is a big draw for customers, who look for signs that the management are running a responsible establishment.
  • As well as all of this official accreditation, customers are also shopping around for businesses with happy and loyal staff, demonstrating that businesses are looking after their employees properly behind the scenes.
And it’s not just a race to the bottom of the bargain basement:

Typical of the comments received from survey respondents were ‘I prefer to go to businesses where staff have worked for a long time’, ‘I judge a business by how friendly the staff are and whether they seem like they enjoy working there’ and ‘I don’t mind paying a bit extra for a place with staff who really care’.

While many businesses may claim they have outstanding service, cleanliness and environmental procedures, it’s the stamp of authority on certificates and official ratings that really count’s.

Ken Thompson, a high street shopper in Birmingham, said: “With things like zero hour contracts going around, and all that pollution and tax evasion going on, you can’t trust anyone these days unless they’ve got proof they’re really a good company. I want to know where my money’s going so I always look out for certificates to make sure I’m in the right place.”

And he’s not alone. In fact, 67% of people said they wouldn’t trust a business’s claims about its own performance unless they were also backed up by formal certification.

Mark Hall said: “What we’re finding is that customers are becoming more and more discerning with the growing amount of choice they have and are aware of bad business practice too.

“It’s not just your products or services they’re buying into, but your business ethos as well, so it’s now more important than ever to get and display your credentials.

“As a business you need to be constantly telling potential customers who you are, and proving that you’re one of the good guys, to inspire that loyalty.”

So there you have it. If you want a hygienic, ethical High Street free of car pollution then you are gonna have to start shouting louder than the petrolheads.

1 comment:

  1. There needs to be a sensible balance between a good quality pedestrian environment and adequate parking, it's not just one or the other.