Mysterious opinion of the reader

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A survey analyzing customer service in bookstores shows that less than half of stores mention the possibility of a refund

In late 2021 and early 2022, 25 bookstores across Spain received two important visits from a mysterious reader. She was 39 years old on average, she was female in 56% of the cases, she stayed in each bookstore for about 15 minutes and went to each establishment in two fairly specific periods: between December 31 and January 5 and from January 24, when the Christmas promotion was already a thing of the past and the booksellers had more time for their customers.

Before going to the store, he’d called the store and later asked about the window. After continuing to search for the book, he contacted the clerk, closed the purchase, requested information about the return of the book, checked out, and finally made a detailed report on the experience.

This is a point-of-sale customer service quality survey conducted using the mystery customer methodology that awards a series of points at each stage of the sale to verify the quality of the bookstore’s customer service. Today it was presented at the XXV Congress of Booksellers, organized by the Spanish Confederation of Guilds and Associations of Booksellers (Cegal).

And the x-ray was positive. The average global score is 76 points out of 100, with the understanding that establishments between 71 and 85 points are in a comfort zone – mastery would be above 85 points, fragility would be between 61 and 70 points and alert would fall below 61 points . The survey also indicates the areas where bookstores fail the most and it is in the argumentation phase, where the companies analyzed are on the alert, with 60 points collected, and especially for two items with minimal scores: the complementary sale, to which barely 18 % worldwide and the fact that less than half of bookstores mention the possibility of return. Another important stage in the customer’s journey with a low score is the checkout, which is in a weak zone with an accumulated score of 66 points. Friendliness and speed are strong points in this case, but everything to do with customer loyalty is almost non-existent. Items like asking the customer if they have a loyalty card only got 14 points, and the clerks barely explained the benefits of having a card as that point only got 4 points.

From other parts of the report, less than 60% of bookstores give a full presentation over the phone, that is, they either don’t give the name of the bookstore or don’t give the name of the clerk who handles them. The shop windows of these bookshops, on the other hand, are on the threshold of the domain. Globally, only 54% of employees proactively address the customer and when the employee is busy, only 62% gesture or tell the customer that they will be helped soon. On the other hand, 100% of the visits attended by the evaluated employees are with a friendly tone. Finally, the return policy in the reviewed bookstores is not homogeneous and only 66% of the customers find it clear.

Thursday and Friday, more than 200 professionals (booksellers, publishers, distributors, etc.) will debate and share experiences, share round tables and workshops in the auditorium of La Casa del Lector (Matadero). In addition to this research, the Bookshop Card will also be presented there, which provides an X-ray of the current situation and will serve to generate projects that promote an improvement in the operation of bookshops. It explains how, thanks to the support of the Ministry and through Next Generation funds, tools such as Todostuslibros.com will be improved. And they will talk about things like public procurement and the inefficiencies of the sector, but also about manga, “a genre that has grown and that all bookstores have chosen, including the general ones, and that has merit,” says Álvaro Manso, member and spokesperson for CEGAL and head of the Luz y Vida Bookstore in Burgos― for bringing young people to bookstores, which are the future of the sector».

Source: La Verdad

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