Customer Service Within Sainsbury's Supermarkets
The aim of this report is to look at the different methods used by
research companies to measure customer service and show how they work
and how affective they are. The report will then use a questionnaire
along with the support of Sainsbury
' s Bridgmead store to see how
their customer service
is rated by their regular customers.
The different methods of measuring customer service
Customer satisfaction is the extent to which the requirements of the
customer are met by the supermarkets
and shops. A service is
considered satisfactory if it fulfils the needs and expectations of
the customer(s), whether the customer is the general public or another
Measuring this satisfaction is an important element of providing
better, more effective and efficient services. When customers are not
satisfied with a service as provided, the service is neither effective
nor efficient and can result in a loss of business.
Why do we measure customer satisfaction?
The level of customer satisfaction with services is an important
factor in developing a system of service provisions such as the 7P's:
Â§ Physical Evidence
Theses areas of any business are responsive to the customers needs
while minimising costs and time requirements and maximising the impact
of the services on target populations. The reason being each 'P'
represents a different part of the business, which a customer will
have to interact with during their shopping experience.
In order to develop a service delivery mechanism that addresses its
customers' needs, desires and expectations, it is necessary to:
* Know what customers are thinking about you, your service, and your
* Measure and improve your performance.
* Turn your strongest areas into market differentiations.
* Turn weaknesses into opportunities for improvement.
* Develop internal communication tools to let everyone know how they
* Demonstrate your commitment to quality and your customers.
Feedback and information form important elements in effective service
delivery systems and should include:
* Level of customer satisfaction and
* Quality of the service.
Ways to measure customer service
Many companies make the mistake of jumping straight into conducting a
survey, without giving due consideration to the survey design process.
If a customer survey is not designed properly it will not meet its
objectives and can provide misleading information.
As the report has said before there are many ways to measure customers
service, but not all business are suited to the same way of measuring
the level of service.
The best way to get fed back from a customer is through a
questionnaire. This is the best because:
* The questions asked can be very open or closed.
* The questions can be very broad or very detailed.
* The questionnaire can be offered to the customer to fill in at the
store or to take it home and fill it in.
Other advantages to using a questionnaire are that they are easy to
construct and analyse that any business can afford to have some sort
of questionnaire to offer to customers and help them improve their
Even though the questionnaire is the best method for finding out the
customers experience there are areas of the questionnaire that have to
be constructed well in order to get the desired information.
In a questionnaire the main area is in the question and as the report
has said there are many types of questions that can be asked. The
different questions that can be asked are:
Â· Open ended -This question allows the customer to put down any
statement they want like areas of improvement, what was good/ bad etc.
and these types of questions are usually found at the end of a
Â· Closed Questions - This is the most popular question as it allows
the company more control over what the response will be, but also will
give a clear view of how the customer viewed the area the question was
Another use of the questionnaire is that the questions used can be
linked to the 7P's. By linking the questions to the 7P's it will allow
a better and clearer analysis of that particular part of the business.
Q: When you were at the checkout was the employee:
This question is a good example of how a question can be linked to a
key area of the 7P's. The idea of linking an area of the 7P's to one
questionnaire can cover a whole section and, depending on the
companies requirements a business can have more detailed questions
covering one point and only one question covering a single point.
By using the 7P's it gives any questionnaire a structure in which a
company can build around. The advantages are that it will make the
analysis a lot easer to understand as each section of the
questionnaire will have a heading of one of the 7P's. Also it can act
as an index, so going back through the questionnaire to find a
specific point is made easer.
The other aspect of a good questionnaire is the wording of the
questions as the customer will need to understand what they are being
asked if they are expected to answer. There are two ways to minimise
1. Would be to have the questionnaire filled in by a member of staff
on behalf of the customer. Thus the employee would be able to reword
the question if the customer did not fully understand the question.
2. Is where the company hand out a few pilot questionnaires out to
staff only to see if they are able to answer all the questions
successfully and see if there are any potential problems with the
questions being asked. Also if the customer says something, but the
question is closed the employee will still be able to make a note of
what the customer has said. Where as the customer may have decided not
to if they were filling the questionnaire in on their own.
Another way of measuring customer service is through the use of focus
groups. These are good and often go into more detail than a
questionnaire can as more time will be spent on each question. Also
more suggestions will be put forward as to how customers fell the
business can improve.
The down side to this form of research is that it is very costly and
can take up a long time, which people participating in will need to be
compensated for their time. Another problem is that the questions
asked in these focus groups are mainly open, which means making a
clear analysis of the responces is very hard. Also the quiet people
participating in the focus group could become influenced by the strong
members of the group, which means a valid point that someone has may
not get voiced.
The reports survey for Sainsbury's Bridgmead
Looking at the possible ways that the survey could be carried out the
report has decided to go with a questionnaire. The reason, as the
report has shown, for taking the questionnaire is that it is easer to
analyse the response from the customers.
Developing the questionnaire
When developing the questionnaire the report decided to split the
report up into four different sectors. These sectors are:
Â· First impressions of the store.
Â· Areas of service within the store.
Â· Level of service at the checkouts.
Â· Overall level of service.
The reason for splitting it into the three sections is so the customer
has a clear idea as to the sections of the store they are being asked
to comment on. Also it will help split the areas of the questionnaire
up when the report starts to analyse the responces that the
questionnaire has been able to gather.
To make sure that the questionnaire was clear enough for the customer
to answer the questions the report decided to have a pilot
questionnaire that it tested on about 5 people. (The draft
questionnaire can be found under appendix 1.0)
The response that was gathered from the draft questionnaire was that
question 4 was not detailed enough as people had had an ok level of
service, but could only chose best or worst. Another question that
people were not happy with was question 5 as the question seemed to
finish too soon and needed to find out if the customer had done
anything if they were unable to find all the products they wanted.
The completed Questionnaire
After making the necessary changes to the draft questionnaire the
report has constructed the final questionnaire. (The final
questionnaire can be found in the appendix under 2.0)
From the draft questionnaire the report has added two extra questions
onto question 5, which will look into what the customer did after they
could not find what they were looking for. Also the report has
re-designed question 4 to be easer for customers to understand and
As mentioned in the report the questionnaire has been designed to be
analysed in four different sections. This will allow the report to
give more detailed feed back and suggestions on how to improve the
level of service within the four sections.
When analysing the responces from the questionnaire the report will
use pie and bar graphs as these will have more of a visual impact than
a table of results. (A questionnaire with the responces can be found
in the appendix under 3.0)
First impressions of the store
The following pie graph shows the response received from question one.
The graph shows that out of the customers asked 15 of them said the
store gave an ok first impression. This is good and to make sure that
the store does not loose any of these positive responces the store
could ask that the in store cleaner checks the front of the store
every half an hour.
In question three most of the customers rated the atmosphere of the
store as being pleasant and ok. [IMAGE]
Even though this is not a bad sign other competitors (ASDA) of
Sainsbury's have their own radio station, which:
Â· Plays the latest music, which customers may decide to purchase.
Â· Informs customers of the latest offers within the store.
Â· Informs customers of the latest news, etcâ€¦
This has been proven to help improve the level of atmosphere of a
store as it makes it feel more relaxed rather than tense.
Areas within the store
A bar graph of question 4 can be found in the appendix under 4.0.
Looking at the response from question 4 the report has found that the
best performing department (at the time of the survey) of the store
was the bears, wines & spirits department (B.W.S). The reason for this
was the expert knowledge that the employees had, which they were able
to pass onto the customers. This especially worked when offering
advice on a good wine for a customer.
Overall, all the departments performed well. Although there is still
areas that need to be improved as some customers felt that the level
of service they received was poor.
To improve the level of service in the other departments customers
suggested that they should be kept informed of the latest deals within
Also, specialist department employees should have specialist knowledge
on the products they sell and should be able to give their own opinion
on the products like B.W.S employees.
Question five showed that if a customer is unable to find a product
they want they will ask a member of staff to see if they can find it
out the back. The response from the question also showed that the
customers were very happy in the way the employee dealt with their
request and how quickly they were with their search.
Level of service at the checkouts
Looking at the level of service at the checkouts the speed at which
customers are being served at is very good and looking at the response
from question seven the till operators are greeting the customer and
offering to pack their bags. This shows that the last employee that
the customer will see is delivering the level of service that will
attract the customer back into the store.
(A bar graph of question eight can be found in the appendix 5.0)
From question eight the customer is noticing that the employees on the
tills are overall keeping themselves as well as their till clean and
presentable. This shows the customer that employees are committed to
giving a good service at the checkouts and each customer is an
individual and not just another customer that they have to serve
during their shift.
Overall level of service
Overall the customers felt that their shopping experience was
acceptable, which shows that the Sainsbury's store is just doing
enough to keep their regular customers happy. To improve this, the
Sainsbury's store needs to look at the level of specialist knowledge
each member of staff knows about their individual departments. By
achieving this it will help see which employees need some extra
training to inform customers better.
Looking back through the report has shown the key ways to measure
customer service and how affective they can be when they are used
properly. Also the report has shown how a well constructed and
executed questionnaire can help a business develop and improve its
level of customer service without having to drastically change the
businesses working practise.