How do I ensure my customers have a good experience in-store during the Olympic Games period?

With the buzz surrounding the 2012 Olympic Games growing and an anticipated 11 million visitors due in London during the event, many retailers will be carefully considering how to manage or enhance their customer experience for the duration. However, without the right staff and staff management, a solid customer service strategy and a way to listen to what customers want, retailers risk losing customer loyalty or even custom during the extended opening hours.

The pitfalls can easily be avoided by putting some thought into how the store dynamic will change throughout the Games, says James Bolle, senior director of client services EMEA at customer experience management company Empathica.

For instance, when hiring temporary staff, “hire people who like people”, advises Bolle. “Be as stringent in your hiring practices for temporary staff as you would for permanent staff,” he says. “Ensure that you are getting people who are naturally inclined to be customer-focused, and a lot of the potential issues will look after themselves.”

Retailers also need to think about staffing rotas. “When you lack experienced team members, it’s ultimately the customer that suffers,” says Bolle. “Make sure your best people are spread across the week and don’t leave inexperienced staff to cope alone.”

Finally, staff should be allowed to have fun. Retailers should give employees the flexibility to participate appropriately in the major events. Bolle says, “Customers will notice the positive atmosphere and respond accordingly.”