Thought leadership

Aldi and Lidl are retail brands with a very different take on customer experience management. Both are brands that have soared in popularity in recent years, flourishing at a time when customers no longer hold staunch loyalties to one particular supermarket, but will wander in search of the best deals. And not only do Aldi and Lidl offer competitive prices, but they are also delivering positive in-store experiences, shifting the customer experience management training paradigm.


Both Aldi and Lidl have made significant progress in Nunwood’s UK CEE rankings. Aldi has climbed five places to number 15, with an excellent score of 7.84, whilst Lidl has leapt up to 33rd place, with a CEE score of 7.70. As such, the success of the brands' customer experience management training programmes can be seen throughout The Six Pillar SystemTM.


Hard-working employees can deliver a personalised customer experience

As Nunwood's fifth annual analysis of UK customer experience demonstrates, some of the best customer experience management brands focus on their employees first, ensuring they're aware of how hard they'll need to work for the benefit of the customers. Indeed, industrious and well-equipped staff members are best placed to deliver a more bespoke, individualised customer experience, which would explain Aldi's first-rate Personalisation pillar score of 8.22. Customers have praised the staff that are "always polite, helpful and friendly," with one customer typically noting that, when they had been stuck in a queue for some time, an employee filling shelves saw the need to open up a new till and prioritised this over the task they previously were engaged in. In fact, our customer verbatim contains countless examples of this and similar behaviour from the brand's staff, and customers seem to expect their Aldi experiences to be this way; they know that a staff member is less likely to take them to an item they are searching for (the chances are they will just point), but they know that their interactions will be friendly, to-the-point and fast. Moreover, customers see that this kind of employee helps keep the business at the forefront of efficiency, helping to keep costs down whilst providing great value for the thrifty shopper.


The importance of recognising the needs of the ‘time poor’ in customer experience management training

One pillar that is key in effective retail customer experience management is that of Time & Effort. Supermarkets have long been at the forefront of innovating in this area and continue to demonstrate awareness of how precious a customer's time really is. Lidl is a good example of this, with its outstanding pillar score of 8.38. The brand recently launched an advertising campaign in the national newspapers, claiming (albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner) that Morrisons had "found a way" to match its prices. Lidl then proved this point by publishing the 28-point process that a customer would have to endure in order to gain a discount on the Morrisons’ website, informing the reader that they could either follow each of these steps, or they could "go to Lidl" instead.


Aldi is also making headway in this pillar, with an equally impressive Time & Effort score of 8.44. As one customer stated: "I am always impressed with the efficiency of the staff… They must treat their staff well as some have worked there for years." Another customer added that the "speed of the checkout operatives" is "phenomenal", whilst a third commented that the staff "are quick and do not dawdle."


What's more, both Aldi and Lidl are changing the way we shop. For increasing numbers of customers, small is beautiful – a great value trolley of goods, browsed and purchased in 30 minutes from a choice of 1,000 items with a saving of 30% or more, compared to a two hour grind around a traditional supermarket choosing from 30,000+ items, is increasingly appealing.


Customer experience management training in the fast evolving retail world therefore has to start with diligent goal-oriented employees, which both Aldi and Lidl possess. And it seems to be paying dividends with excellent growth and, in the case of Lidl, a 20-place leap up the customer experience excellence rankings. How the brands' biggest retail rivals will respond in the months ahead however, remains to be seen.


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