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    Retailers Fail to Balance Employee and Customer Needs over Holidays: Poll

    CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- Many retailers were ill equipped during the holidays to provide great customer service while balancing employees' work/life preferences, according to the "Holiday Aftermath" survey conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by labor scheduling provider Kronos Inc. here.

    CHELMSFORD, Mass. -- Many retailers were ill equipped during the holidays to provide great customer service while balancing employees' work/life preferences, according to the "Holiday Aftermath" survey conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by labor scheduling provider Kronos Inc. here.

    The survey of nearly 600 retail employees uncovered that only 20 percent of respondents strongly agree that their employer was able to provide great customer service while ensuring their employees' work/life preferences were satisfied. In addition, when asked what their employer can do next holiday season to meet the needs of their employees and customers, the number one response was: schedule employees to better meet customer demand.

    "This survey is a wake-up call for retailers," said John Anderson, director of retail at Kronos, in a statement. "To the extent that they neglect the needs of their employees, they put themselves at risk of meeting the expectations of their customers. In order to remedy lackluster performance that many retailers experienced this past holiday season, they must invest in technology that empowers them with the ability to balance the needs of their business, customers, and employees."

    Many retailers focus on their workforce as an expense rather than an asset - cutting costs and not realizing the impact it has on customer satisfaction, noted Kronos. According to the survey, 37 percent of retail employees said they worked either too many or not enough hours this past holiday season. Of those that stated they did not work the number of hours they preferred, 23 percent said it had a negative impact on the customer service they delivered.

    The "Holiday Aftermath" study also uncovered that retailers are not only struggling to meet the needs of their employees, they also are struggling to meet the demands of their customers. The survey found that 57 percent of retail employees said their employer was unable to effectively match employee scheduling to customer demand this past holiday season. Of those respondents, 90 percent explained there were not enough employees scheduled to meet customer demand.

    The survey was completed by nearly 600 retail employees among the more than 1,000 respondents to the "Black Friday: Inside the Retail Employee Psyche" survey also conducted by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Kronos in October 2005.

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