Phones 4u has made two major changes to its approach to customer service including ditching its 45 minute sales script.
The changes were made after a lengthy trialling period over a number of months.
Phones 4u staff have been given a new set of cue cards – the fifth such change since 2004 – as the retailer decided to alter its approach to customers. The retailer’s infamously detailed cue cards, known as the 45-minute script, have been ditched in favour of a less-prescribed approach. The reduced prompting system will feature basic questions aimed at what one staff member described as ‘smart selling, rather than up-selling’.
The retailer’s decision to dump the hard-sell approach reflects an industry trend. New entrant to the mobile market Apple pioneered a ‘play-time‘ approach, which has been mimicked by Nokia in its Regent Street store, and a similar format is being used in T-Mobile stores with its ‘experience tables’.
Phones 4u has also overhauled its customer feedback system, with less reliance on mystery shops. Staff bonuses will be based on the scores generated by a system introduced by ‘customer engagement’ company Fizzback. Customers will be asked to give feedback after they buy a phone and receive their first bill.
Phones 4u head of marketing Jim Slater said: ‘We were pleased to find out that our sales teams were consistently helpful and courteous, but we also wanted to make sure that they had fully explained both the phone’s features and the price plan.’
A Phones 4u spokeswoman said: ‘The new initiative allows us to gain feedback from our customers after they have shopped with us to clearly see which areas of our business are delighting customers, and to rapidly address any areas that need improving. We will, however, continue to use mystery shops as a way of further evaluating our staff performance.
‘Managers’ bonuses will now take into account the delivery of good customer service, making our sales staff accountable for the service they offer in store.’
Last week the retailer was hit by an Ofcom investigation into allegations of mis-selling at its stores.
Phones 4u is the first mobile retailer to be formally investigated by Ofcom for mis-selling, after the regulator received ‘a large number of complaints’ about the company.
Consumer Direct and Ofcom’s advisory team received complaints that included misleading information about tariffs, onerous terms and conditions for cashback deals, offering upgrades on phones without telling people that there’s a charge, and not informing people of their cancellation rights.