DIT provider of choice for Supervalu



DIT provider of choice for Supervalu
Area of Clip:
Page 1 of 3
Sunday Business Post*
Sunday, 13 March 2016
Focus on service
at Supervalu
The supermarket group
committed to deliver
on customer service as
retailers and staff go the
extra mile
he winner of Best
Change Management
Initiative, at this year’s
IITD awards had to
clearly demonstrate to
the adjudicating panel that theirs
was the most outstanding and innovative people-focused change
management initiative in Ireland.
That’s exacdy what Supervalu did
to claim the prize.
The retailer’s award-winning
initiative was focused on attaining
service excellence in Supervalu.
Matt O’ Callaghan, HR Director,
Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland
recounted that the grocery retail
sector was particularly challenged
between2008 and 2012 with a significant dip in the overall market.
“All the multiples were focusing on price and value during
this time. However, on review of
our key internal measures, we
saw that the inconsistency gap
in customer service amongst our
retail partners had grown. Mystery shopper, the key measure of
customer service, showed the gap
was widening between the lowest
and highest scoring stores. ”
Louise Sheehan, HR Business
Partner, who was responsible for
leading out the initiative on the
ground said, “While we were continuing to invest in value in 2012,
which was crucial, we recognised
that we also needed to think further down the line and dial up our
local and service credentials.
“With over 221 locally owned
and locally-run Supervalu stores
throughout Ireland we knew we
had a major opportunity. Our sustainability research pointed to the
facttha the consumer of 2015 was
looking to reconnect with their
communities. This presented us
with a massive opportunity as one
of the few local Irish multiples in
the market.”
According to Anne Rigney,
Head of Retailer Training & Development, “Supervalu firmly
set its sights on delivering a level
of customer service that was not
available in Irish grocery retailing.
“This type of customer service
would differentiate us in the market place and drive sales through
higher levels of customer loyalty.
We call this type of service; service
The strategic aim and vision was
for Supervalu to be recognised as
industry leaders for excellent customer service by 2016. Shoppers
would experience a consistently
high level of service excellence,
with every staff member going
the extra mile to deliver the best
shopping experience for every
customer’s visit.
“From 2012 service excellence
was fully integrated into the strategic commercial plan and was
prioritised within the business
with full executive sponsorship
and governance through a Retail
Excellence steering team,” said
Crucial to the success of this
model was buy-in from the Supervalu retailers. “It has long been
our ethos that we work in partnership with our retailers, who
are our customers. Their passion,
energy and commitment to this
programme is superb” said Rigney.
“In order to fully deliver our
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Sunday Business Post*
Sunday, 13 March 2016
programme it was
we engaged our retailers from the
start. We did this through our annual Supervalu brand conference
in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
We ran workshops throughout
the country to seekideas andinput
from retailers on how we could
deliver an in-store programme
to suit their needs,” said Rigney.
“We used these workshops as
an opportunity to build the key
behaviours associated with our
service excellence programme,”
said Sheehan.
“From here we discovered that
stores required in-store support
from a Musgrave trainer to deliver service excellence training to
management and staff. They also
required a number of tools and
supports to ensure follow through
at store level”
Each trainer on their first visit
to each store spent time with each
manager as well as the store owner, to fully understand the store’s
requirements for support. This
ensured training was tailored to
the specific needs of the store.
“This programme has also been
ground breaking for our business
due to the numbers of people we
have trained and developed over
the three years. Between 2013 and
2015 we delivered 2,700 training
days and trained over 14,000 employees,” said O’Callaghan.
Service Excellence
From the outset a set of clear objectives and measures to track
performance of the Service Excellence programme were put in
“We measure our level of customer service through our mystery shopping programme which
is run through an external provider and we also engage the services
of Red C to conduct a monthly
pulse with our shoppers,” said
“The key objective of year one
was to deliver service basics in all
stores. In year two we focussed
on moving stores to the next level
which is service excellence and
finally in year three we focused
on sustaining the move across all
stores,” said Sheehan.
Over the last three years Red C
lu stores have consistently outperformed competitors for staff
helpfulness and expertise.
O’Callaghan said, “It is widely accepted that sustained behavioural change requires a solid
investment in time.
“Through a highly structured
and easily measured three-year
programme we have achieved our
ambition of service excellence.”
Sheehan said, “Importantly the
programme has delivered the desired change, consistently reflected through a recent customer survey. We achieved a response rate
of over 19,000 customers with 90
percent of customers stating that
the service they received in Supervalu was either good or excellent.
“Customers love the familiarity
and personal service they get in
Supervalu. 75.8 percent of respondents said the standard of service
in Supervalu was either better or
much better than our competitors
Given the successes of the programme Supervalu has launched
the next chapter which will run
from 2016-2018. This will help
us to sustain the progress we have
made over the last three years
while also enabling us to further
differentiate our brand from the
The very impressed IITD adjudicating panel said; “This is a
cleverly integrated change programme based on a clear and
effective framework which allowed Supervalu demonstrate its
achievement of very ambitious
long-term goals, enabled by the
palpable passion and commitment
from senior management. On that
basis, it is the worthy winner of
the Best Change Management
Initiative 2016”.
The Bigger Training
Supervalu’s success with this
change programme while highly
laudable is but a snapshot of parent company Musgrave’s overall
commitment to training.
“Our combined training budget
of over €2.5 million demonstrates
that training is an integral part of
our culture. We have run a host of
training initiatives and we constantly innovate in this field, ” said
run an Honours Degree
programme in retail, a Diploma
in Retail Management and a Diploma in Professional Butchery,
all in partnership with DIT.
“We provide in-store training
across all areas of the business,
from strategic leadership development programmes to fresh food
expertise and operational excellence programmes ”
She stressed, “How we do training is as important as what we do.
To that end we are in the process
of launching an exciting eLearning initiative, a new departure for
us. Blended learning programmes
will soon be available for all staff
in every store, providing a time
saving and convenient training
Real Food, Real People
2013 and 2015
we delivered
training days
and trained
over 14,000
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Sunday Business Post*
Sunday, 13 March 2016
Pictured at the IITD Awards in Killashee House,
r • ,
February 26th 2016, was the team from Supervalu,
Winners of Best Change Management Initiative