UK supermarket chain Tesco has always been afforded a reputation for providing a positive customer experience. But new competition, along with growing customer expectations, a down economy, and a lack of customer focus have taken its toll on the retailer.
The company announced today that it would add 20,000 jobs over the next two years, boosting its workforce by 7 percent. Many of those jobs will be created in the customer service department. In these days of automation and cost containment, Tesco’s move reinforces the idea that the human element of the customer experience is critical to a firm’s success.
“At the core of this investment is our determination to deliver the best shopping experience for our customers, bar none,” said Tesco CEO Richard Brasher in a statement. “We will invest in more staff on the sales floor at busy times, greater expertise and help in the crucial areas of fresh food, and enhanced quality and service across our stores at all times.”
The move comes after a disappointing holiday season for Tesco, which saw its first profit warning in 20 years, according the Wall Street Journal. The company is also looking to boost its reputation after it, along with a number of other UK companies, was criticized for a controversial work-experience program in which employees did not receive mandatory benefits.
Youth unemployment is a big issue in the country, so the move is seen as positive for employees, customers, and the company’s overall reputation.
It also shows that Tesco is willing to invest in actual people to improve its customer service functions. In these days of automation and cost cutting, it’s nice to see a company making a long-term investment in the human element of the customer experience.