Secret shoppers find top service

Winners of the Blackpool BID customer service awards at St John's Church, Blackpool.
Winners of the Blackpool BID customer service awards at St John's Church, Blackpool.
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TOWN centre bosses have praised business owners for recording their best ever customer service results.

The Blackpool Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) commissioned a review of customer service and satisfaction across a broad range of businesses during the summer.

And its third series of ‘mystery shopping’ visits produced record levels of customer satisfaction across almost 100 businesses.

Eileen Ormand, BID and town centre manager, told The Gazette: “This year’s programme produced excellent results with a combination of businesses which have maintained their 100 per cent score and businesses which have significantly improved to reach the mark or near to it.

“These results are very encouraging proving how in these tough trading times businesses recognise the crucial part which giving excellent customer service plays in keeping customers loyal and in attracting new customers.”

The town centre businesses scored an overall rating of 87.6 per cent, a rise of 3.4 per cent over last year.

The mystery shop visits were carried out by market research company Storecheckers and the areas monitored covered the key segments of a typical customer journey, including staff approach, customer service, sales, staff friendliness and overall satisfaction.

And customer service award winners were keen to tell why customer service is so important.

Iain Connelly of 3 Store, awarded the overall best town centre business prize, said: “It has to be good from the word go - you have to treat customers exactly as you would like to be treated yourself – that’s what we tell all our staff.”

Ashwin Ruprai from H Samuel added: “You always remember the bad service and you stay away from it. It’s important to give an individual level of service and you have to get it right every time.”

Paul Baker of Pets Paradise said: “It has to be the top priority – we always make people welcome – new customers as much as regular customers.”

Simon Wrigley of the Number Five said: “Customer service is the most important thing – first impressions always count, don’t they?”

Ed Cristiano, chairman of the Blackpool town centre business improvement district, welcomed the improvement.

He added: “I came over here 20 years ago and remember going to a cafe and being scowled at when I ordered a cup of coffee – it was madness. Since then, I’ve seen a massive change in the town centre and people are much more aware. People are realising the value.”

Businesses which scored full marks were: Pets Paradise, Amparo, Big Woody’s, Blueberries, Cave’s Corner, Leonard Dews, RockC Jewellers, Tower Music, 3 Store, Ann Summers, Beaverbrooks, Claires, Clinton Cards, Early Learning, Goldsmiths, H Samuel, Pandora, Ryman Stationery, Number Five, AJ’s, Elegance of Blackpool, Galley Cafe, Lounge, Lucky Star, West Coat Rock Café, Hogan’s, Fresh, Relish, Roasting Today, Sunseeker’s Travel, Age Concern, Amplifon, Going Places, Hair Boutique Salon, Thomson, Toni & Guy, Yorkshire Building Society, and Frenchman’s Cove.