Advantages Helpful Staff
|Type of Product|
|Price of Product|
|Value for Money||Reasonable|
|Wide range/choice of products?||Good|
|Helpfulness of Staff||Helpful/Knowledgable|
|Repair/Replacement Service||Not applicable|
I am a part time Team Leader (which is like a supervisor) at Focus in Hertford, Hertfordshire and I have worked there for 4 ½ years. I was looking through the reviews for Focus and noticed that a lot of them were quite negative about the company, these reviews were written a while ago and things have changed since then, but I thought I should do a review from the 'inside' as it were.This review is not bias, it contains factual information and my honest opinion.
STAFFI think our staff are very helpful now although sometimes we have a lack of staff due to our wage budget, which is not the stores fault, this is down to our head office.
In 2003 a new training scheme was introduced, it is voluntary but it is also pay related, so most people tend to do it. This training consists of Bronze, Silver and Gold.Bronze gives you a basic knowledge of the store and the background on the company, you can not be signed off from Bronze until you can prove that you are fully competent at the job you were employed to do.
Silver is product based, it contains a workbook for every section of the store and gives you a basic knowledge of the most popular products. You also learn a lot about customer service, although this is covered basically in Bronze it goes into greater detail in Silver.Gold is very customer service based, you also do some 'keyholder' training, as after you have completed this section you should be looking towards becoming a Team Leader.
There are also options to go to workshops for the day on things like, plumbing, kitchens and building, and loads more, stores are asked that at least one person from each store is sent on these courses when they come up and certainly in our store, there are never enough places for everyone who wants to go. This means that whenever you go to a Focus store there should be at the very least one person that has had a decent amount of training on what ever you need.CUSTOMER SERVICE
We have it drummed in to us that the most important part of our jobs (and rightly so) is customer service.About 18 months ago the company introduced 'Mystery Shoppers', these are people from a contracted company that come in and shop and assess things like customer service, stock availability and the way the store looks in general (obviously we do not know who they are). These 'Mystery Shoppers' come to each store 6 times a year. I do not know the figures for the company as a whole, but the average score for our store is 93% and our last one was 98%. The figures for the region, this includes stores such as Letchworth, Borehamwood, Harlow, and the London stores are about 86%. Which, regardless of what you think of Focus, proves that we have a high level of customer service.
I do however think that the management should get more involved in customer service rather than just helping out when there is a problem, I think they should spend more time talking to customers and finding out their take on things.AVAILABILITY
The company target for availability (for each store) is 98%, which means that each store should have 98% of products in stock at all times, and believe it or not our store and region is never below that, but again I am not sure of the company as a whole.However, if you don want something that we do not have we are more than happy to order it in assuming that we can, something's we can not order for various reasons. If you do not want to order it or we cant, we will call our local stores and see if they have what you need, if they do we will reserve it and you can go and collect it, or in some circumstances we will get it brought to our store and you can collect it from us, 9 times out of 10 these item are taken from store to store by managers or team leaders in there own time.
SERVICES OFFEREDFocus offers o wide rage of services these include.
Interest Free Credit - If you spend over a certain amount of money (normally £200) you can apply for Interest Free Credit, this does take time as a member of staff will have to enter your details on the system, it usually takes about 30mins then you get a decision instantly, so you can take your goods away that day and not pay a penny for 6-12 months (depending on the offer at the time). For this you will need prove of address, dated within the last 6 weeks and proof of signature.Delivery - Focus do delivery, but I am the first to admit that the charges for this service are high. This is because it is a contract company that do the deliveries, so we have to charge them what they charge us. The charges start at £15.
OAP Discount - Every Tuesday OAPs get 10% discount on everything! You do need a card though, so get one simply take proof of your age to the information desk.Homemovers Discount - There is also 10% discount for homemovers, for this you will need prove of moving, eg. solicitors letter.
VALUE FOR MONEYI think Focus prices are about average from what I have seen, but I only flick through leaflets that get put through my door to compare.
We have good sales especially if stock is discontinued or if we are changing the range, sometimes there is as much as 80% off. I do think that our January sale could be better though when you compare our January sale to other stores such as Homebase and B&Q, ours is quite poor.VERDICT
I would recommend Focus, not because I work there, it is not my main job and I only work there weekends, and I have nothing to gain from giving you this information, but I do believe that Focus is a company that is going from strength to strength, as I said I have been there for 4 ½ years now and it has improved no end in that time, and continues to do so.If you have had a bad experience in the past it may have been a one off as no one can please everybody all of the time, but we do try our best.
One piece of advice I would give is, if you do have a bad experience write to head office rather than complaining to the store, this might sound like passing the buck, but most of the time complaints are about company procedure and not the store itself. If a member of staff is rude to you then by all means complain to the manager, but your complaint is something like refund policy there really is nothing that stores can do about it because we can only do what we are instructed to do by head office, even though we may agree with your grievance we have no leverage.
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