نشانه های استرس مربوط به ویژگی های خدمات مشتری در فروشگاه های بزرگ
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21032||2006||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6260 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, Volume 36, Issue 4, April 2006, Pages 313–321
A study was carried out in a large chain of warehouse superstores specialized in office supplies. The stress symptoms of 91 sales clerks and 28 managers in six warehouse superstores were documented with the Karasek and Maslach questionnaires. The results show different stress symptoms in the two populations. In managers, stress could result from an overinvestment in the work, whereas for sales clerks, stress could lead to passive behavior and a reduction in self-esteem. Stress in sales clerks is related to customer service characteristics, which were studied through work observation, interviews and a daily journal. Results show that there are many customers to serve and that the time that can be allotted to each of these interventions is less than one minute. In more than a third of such interventions, sales clerks must serve more than one customer at a time. The sales clerks’ work is constantly interrupted. On average, they cannot work continuously on the same task more than 1.5 min. Sales clerks are also stressed by difficult customers and pressured to sell extended warranties. Solutions are proposed mainly to reduce interruptions which are thought to lead to mistakes, stress, degraded performance, and increased workload.
The retail industry in Canada is the country's largest industrial sub-sector in terms of number of workers. In the province of Québec alone, this industry directly employs 400,000 workers and most jobs are in large businesses, including superstores (Guay, 2004). Very few ergonomic studies were carried out in superstores. In a previous study, the authors studied manual materials handling work in a population of stockers (St-Vincent et al., 2005). For a generalized perspective, the analysis had to be extended to the population of sales clerks whose main task, besides manual materials handling, is customer service. Indeed, one third of all employees in the retail sector are assigned to customer service. Results from interviews and questionnaire surveys among sales clerks suggest that customer service is a major source of stress in this population of workers. For example, studies that have investigated the risks involved in customer service show that time pressure, mainly arising from insufficient staffing levels, are one of the main sources of stress or dissatisfaction for sales personnel in retail stores. They are rushed to perform their job tasks, and they lack time and/or are frequently interrupted. Serving difficult customers (“nasty”, hostile, restless, demanding) is another source of stress and dissatisfaction for sales people (Broadbridge et al., 2000, Guignon and Cholet, 2003, Mahiou, 2002 and Zackos et al., 1998). Such stress and dissatisfaction would be related with reporting of shoulder and neck pain, just as mental demands (Holte and Rolf, 2002). However, according to Broadbridge et al. (2000), workers do enjoy contact with customers when they are regular customers, “nice” or appreciative of the help they are receiving: then, they are considered as a source of satisfaction. These authors also state that the employer's attitude towards the employees affects their stress level. Many suffer their superior's lack of recognition, appreciation and support. Younger employees are afraid to approach their managers with problems, and instead try to find solutions by themselves. Some younger workers are even afraid of being reprimanded or fired if they do not comply with their managers’ requests (Zackos et al., 1998). High psychological demands (Karasek's model) have the strongest relationship to burnout (emotional exhaustion from the Maslach Burnout Inventory) in the retail sector, followed by interpersonal conflicts with co-workers or superiors, and low job control (Tuuli and Karisalmi, 1999). Finally, Narayanan et al. (1999) have shown that besides interpersonal conflicts between co-workers, time/effort wasters and work overload are two other major sources of stress for sales personnel. Although several questionnaires-based studies have investigated the conditions leading to stress in the retail sector, a search of the literature could not yield any field study analyzing the work of sales clerk personnel. The aim of this study was thus to describe stress symptoms in warehouse superstores and to analyze customer service activities causing the stress symptoms. At the request of the company where this study took place, stress symptoms were described in a population of sales clerks as well as in a population of managers. In fact, upper management of this company was concerned about the psychological health of its sales clerks, as well as of its managers who also have to deal with difficult working conditions. The first part of this paper presents a comparison of the stress symptoms felt by the sales clerks and managers of six warehouse superstores of a large North American banner specializing in office supplies. The second part of the article summarizes a field study conducted in two of these six stores and deals with the characteristics of customer service causing stress in sales clerks.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study is original because it is based on systematic observations, interviews and daily journals. It shows that sales clerks and managers in the warehouse superstore sector suffer from considerable symptoms of stress. Stress is expressed differently in these two categories of jobs. Managers would be more likely to have a career plan, and stress would result from an overinvestment in the work. In sales clerks, who are younger and don’t have such as strong sense of belonging to the company, stress would result in a sense of low self-esteem. It would be interesting to understand how to motivate this population of sales clerks better and make its members more likely to stay with the company. Customer service is the main stress-generating task for sales clerks owing to the high number of customers to serve during peak hours. Interventions to correct the problems should minimize interruptions, whose most common consequences reported in the literature are mistakes, stress, a reduction in performance, and an increased workload. Future studies addressing this issue, should provide a more in depth analysis of work strategies used in varying customer patronage conditions.