SCMC 2016 Report: Service with a smile

Published:  14 April, 2016

Good people make good business, according to keynote speaker Mike Greene, CEO and founder of My Local and former star of Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire.

Greene told his audience of shopping centre managers: “It’s all about the people. It always has been and always will be.”

And he insisted that letting managers manage rather than simply implementing head office instructions, makes for happy customers and a sense of community ownership.

“We let all our managers run their own Twitter account,” said Greene. “They have all chosen their own charity to support within one mile of their store. People are very unforgiving so that’s why you want to connect with them and develop a relationship.”

Greene’s story is one of rags to riches. Having spent time with his mother and siblings growing up in both a hostel and a caravan, Greene went on as an adult to set up his own businesses. After going bankrupt with his early pizza business and losing his house in the same week, Greene started again and built his fortune acquiring and then exiting retail advisory firm HIM.

After retiring, aged 46, Greene started looking for another project. He bought 140 floundering M Local stores from Morrisons for £25m and last September transformed them into My Locals. Greene is using them to put his theories on customer service into practice.

“The benefits are great service, quick service, great quality and making the customer feel important,” said Greene. “You have to be able to serve people fast.

“When it gets busy, the eye contact goes down, but if you can teach staff in any shop that once their customer has moved on, to look further down the queue and say ‘I am sorry, I will be right with you’, then you see people’s whole physiology change. It’s good to be friendly and it’s really good to smile.” 


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