Over half of UK retail workers admit to ‘knowledge gap’

More than half of retail workers (54 per cent) have admitted that there is a 'knowledge gap' around their products, with many feeling customers had more knowledge about products than they do.

A Censuswide survey of 250 retail UK retail workers conducted for voice communication specialists VoCoVo found that this lack of information around products and services risked staff giving inaccurate information to customers.

The research revealed that the issue was not down to lack of confidence, with almost all retail staff (98 per cent) saying they felt confident answering customers’ questions in-store.

Nearly half (46 per cent) admitted to knowingly providing inaccurate information to customers just to provide an answer.

Finding the right data or information is impacting retail workers’ productivity the survey found, with a quarter (26 per cent) of retail workers suggesting that the time spent trying to find information for customers and staff with required knowledge were the biggest cause of staff inefficiency in their store.

Other sources of inefficiency include the time spent checking the storeroom or warehouse for products (23 per cent) and the inability to multitask on the job (20 per cent).

The decision to provide inaccurate information could also be driven by time pressures, with nearly half of retail workers (49 per cent) stating it typically takes them longer than a minute to answer customer queries and nearly one fifth (19 per cent) saying it takes more than three minutes.

The biggest challenges staff face when trying to answer customer queries were multiple customers requiring attention at the same time (45 per cent), having too many products or information to remember (42 per cent) and the fact it takes too long to find the right information (34 per cent).

Martyn Jones, director at VoCoVo, said: “These findings highlight the pressure retailers are under when it comes to providing customers with the right level of information and assistance.

“We are now a very impatient nation and delivering good customer service comes down to being able to quickly access the right information - to cultivate an informed retail workforce, real time knowledge sharing is as important as training and up-skilling.”

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