Monthly Archives: October 2011

Mary Portas, I forgive you

When I watched Mary Portas Queen of Frocks last week I was concerned to see her reprimanding one of her team in front of the cameras. Of course in a fly on the wall type of program, the camera sees everything and it’s snippets like that that often make good TV. But it was a subject of debate amongst me and some of my colleagues last Wednesday.

But after this week’s episode all is forgiven. So why my change of heart? Because Mary states “The heart of it is customer service…. investment in the staff is beyond anything the most important thing.”

Alleluia! Someone in retail recognises the importance of customer service, and that it won’t happen by accident. You have to invest in your team.  And they’ve been learning from some of the best examples, spending time at the Savoy, and who better than under the guidance of Sean Davoran, Head Butler.

She goes on to say that it’s important that they know their product; and this is more important than being a salesman. I agree; and the same applies in hospitality; if your team are knowledgeable, confident and enthusiastic about the product or service you are offering that’s far more important than years of ‘sales experience’.

The proof of the pudding of course is what gets delivered. In fact I’m off to the initially maligned Guildford Army Navy store later today. Let’s see if any of Mary’s principles have rubbed off yet elsewhere.

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