A third of retail workers say it’s become more difficult to deal with customers since COVID-19 outbreak

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As the retail industry looks to get back on its feet, one third (33%) of UK retail workers have admitted that they’ve found dealing with shoppers more difficult than before the COVID-19 outbreak. This according to the latest ‘Work Different’ research from Qualtrics.

The research, which surveyed 2,000 UK workers, also reveals that over three-quarters (85%) of retail workers do not feel that they have been shown any more gratitude for their work than usual, despite operating on the front line of the pandemic. This sentiment is also reflected in the fact that 88% of those working in retail believe that their role has not been acknowledged as more valuable now than it was before the COVID-19 outbreak. This lack of perceived appreciation is leading to a third (33%) of retail workers feeling less connected to their customers.

Commenting on these findings Nan Russell, XM Scientist, at Qualtrics said: “Retail staff have not had it easy these last few months. Customers annoyed by shifting store policies, reduced hours of service and low stock have been taking their frustrations out on the frontline staff. Unhappy customers make for unhappy employees who in turn perpetuate the cycle.”

“In times like these, it’s more important than ever to understand the link between customer and employee experience. Your employees need to be kept up to date with changing policies and the reasoning behind them so that they can better serve your customers. Your customers then need to be informed of changing store procedures so that they aren’t taken by surprise.”

“On a higher level, you should have active listening tools in place so that employee and customer feedback is taken into account when you design and implement new policies, especially in a shifting environment. With the right data and analysis tools in place, this feedback can be turned into actionable points to help mitigate any friction that arises between your employees and your customers, making the transition back to the high street better for everyone.”

The Return to Work Pulse is available at www.qualtrics.com/back-to-business-employee. To find out more about how Qualtrics is working with businesses and workers to make work better, visit www.qualtrics.com