Close
 

Z’s head of retail on sustainability, the rise of self-service stations and what makes great customer service

  • News
  • March 3, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Z’s head of retail on sustainability, the rise of self-service stations and what makes great customer service

With 211 stores nationwide spanning from the tip of the North Island all the way down to the bottom of the South Island, Z knows a thing or two about being a part of a community.

Its focus on community led to it being a big winner in Retail NZ’s Top Shop Awards last year, including a People’s Choice Award for its Kaikorai Valley Dunedin store.

Forsyth says the journey to being community focused began five years ago, when the company established it wanted to make each of its sites famous in their neighbourhood.

This led to the creation of the Good in the Hood programme, where Z Stations give away $5,000 to neighbourhood groups each year.

“All things being equal, if we’re looking after people after in the community, it’s not too hard to extrapolate the people in the community might look after us,” Forsyth says.

 “We recognise that customers have a choice, particularly in fuel, with lots of places they can fill up.”

Customer service is something Z prides itself on to differentiate itself from the competition.

Over 2,500 of its staff have completed NZQA level two qualifications, as well as over 700 completing level 3. Several staff are also working towards a Bachelor of Applied Management.

"Investing in their further education is part of our commitment to our people," Forsyth says.

However, he says while there are guidelines for staff, Z lets their people be who they want to be and bring their personalities to the table in store. This is called the 'Z factor'.

This is what creates such great customer service, he says.

“We don’t have a standard greeting, it could be ‘Kia ora’, or it could be, ‘G'day bro’. We want our sites to be reflection of the neighbourhood,” he says.

“The way you’re famous in South Auckland and talk to customers is probably different in Invercargill, for example. What better way for staff to define that than to define it for themselves?”

He spoke of a letter he received from a woman whose car had broken down on one of Z’s sites while she was on her way to the airport.

One of the workers at the station jumped in his own car, drove her to the airport and dropped her off, he says, and then arranged for her car to go to the local mechanic.

“He didn’t do that because I told him to do that. That would never work. What we do is trust our people to make great calls, to treat customers the way they would want to be treated in the shoe was on the other foot. It’s a natural extension of being famous in the neighbourhood."

Customer service versus self-service

Customer feedback led to Z installing self-service options at its stations, Forsyth says.

He says there’s a group of people where speed is the most important, not service or interacting with a person, so they wanted to make the process easier for them.

Forsyth says about a quarter of Z’s customers now pay at the pump.

Interestingly, he says sales in store have actually gone up as a result of self-service.

“I’ve never been a proponent of forcing customers to do something they don’t want to do, like to go in store in order to buy something. There’s now smaller queues in store, so people are more inclined to buy." It's a win-win for everyone, he says.

The next big shakeup to service stations will be when payment cards on mobile devices becomes more mainstream and when customer data becomes a bigger part of the experience, he says.

He gave the example of a gas pump that greets the customer when they pull up and notes that’s the third time they’ve been into the store that month by awarding them with a coffee, which will be waiting in store.

“That’s the exciting stuff we’re starting to think about in the future, combine the best of both worlds: pay at pump and if you fancy a coffee, order the coffee on pump and it’s waiting inside,” he says. “People are increasingly time poor and looking to get in and out as quickly as possible.”

Pushing for sustainability

Z’s latest campaign alludes to its latest sustainability push, which will see the company invest $26 million in a biodiesel plant opening later this year.

It’s also investing in six additional electric vehicle (EV) charging stations around New Zealand.

Forsyth said like most things Z does, customer feedback led to its changes around sustainability.

This is reflected the latest data from Nielsen research, which showed consumers increasingly wanting to buy ethical and sustainable products. 

Two in five Kiwis will pay more for a brand from a company boasting environmental or social sustainability credentials, and 22 percent bought a product or service from a company supporting a worthy cause in the last month even though it was slightly more expensive. 

Other initiatives from Z include recycling coffee grounds, car washes having water reclaim units, LED lighting in forecourts and the soon to be rolled out biodegradable coffee cups.

“Those are directly things our customers have asked for and we’ve responded by doing them,” he says. “It’s making it easier for people to play their part.”

As for the future, he says the best of Z is yet to come.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

H&M's 2019 designer collab will be with Giambattista Valli

  • News
  • May 24, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
H&M's 2019 designer collab will be with Giambattista Valli

H&M's designer collaborations are met with global consumer excitement. Last year, Moschino was the chosen brand, and for 2019, it's Paris-based Giambattista Valli.

Read more
 
 

Karen Walker brings back its preloved Dove Hospice pop-up

  • News
  • May 24, 2019
  • The Register team
Karen Walker brings back its preloved Dove Hospice pop-up

After a successful debut last year, Karen Walker is bringing back its Dove Hospice pop-up at the Newmarket 'Playpark' store. It will once again sell vintage hand-knitted items to fundraise for the hospice charity.

Read more
 
 

Countdown's Own wins April's Ad Impact award

  • News
  • May 23, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Countdown's Own wins April's Ad Impact award

With an April full of public holidays and potential long weekends, the month was a big and busy month for advertising. But Countdown's own-brand campaign surpassed the competition to be named the Colmar Brunton Ad Impact Award winner for April.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Kiwi fashion label Maggie Marilyn launches new website

  • News
  • May 23, 2019
  • The Register team
Kiwi fashion label Maggie Marilyn launches new website

The new website launched by New Zealand fashion label Maggie Marilyn prioritises transparency and sustainability.

Read more
 
 

Sharesies CEO Brooke Roberts talks what it takes to become a B Corp certified company

  • News
  • May 23, 2019
  • Courtney Devereux
Sharesies CEO Brooke Roberts talks what it takes to become a B Corp certified company

There’s a movement afoot globally to create more companies that balance purpose with profit and view business as a force for good. Called Certified B Corporations, companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability can become certified. As of April, Sharesies investment platform was the first financial company nationally to qualify for the B Corp certification, joining just 22 other New Zealand B Corp certified businesses. CEO Brooke Roberts talks us through the process, and the benefits for businesses in becoming certified.

Read more
 

The benefits of rewarding non-transactional activities

  • Opinion
  • May 23, 2019
  • Ros Netto
The benefits of rewarding non-transactional activities

Product and price is all very well, but retailers are increasingly seeking to avoid discounting by incentivising non-transactional behaviours instead. Ros Netto, consultant at Truth Customer Academy, shares some advice.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}