With over 10,000 stores worldwide, budget supermarket titan Aldi is a global leader. But to be on top you have to stay on top, and while Aldi has been extending its UK presence ever since it first opened its doors here in 1990, the market remains extremely competitive.

Its HR team knew that affordability alone wasn’t enough to cement success, and a focus on an excellent customer experience was vital to future proofing the business. Out of this realisation the ‘Best Version of Us’ initiative was designed with the expert help of provider Team Academy.

The passion, energy and immense planning channelled into this collaboration by both Team Academy and Aldi “bowled over” the judges and proved Team Academy’s mantra that “life is too short for boring training”.

The road to customer service success began with the analysis of customer insight data with a view to identifying the main causes of dissatisfaction.

With a firm evidentiary basis in place, three objectives were then outlined: setting very clear goals for all colleagues towards satisfying customers’ needs; engaging the workforce so that they feel motivated and improving processes to be better for customers and simpler for stores.

Next, Team Academy and Aldi worked alongside each other to design seven workshops for the programme that were dynamic, engaging and dared to be different, importantly drawing on each other’s expertise. Through interactive workshops featuring games, quizzes, role play and group work, Team Academy aimed to make the training as exciting and memorable as possible.

For Team Academy, engaging leaders was essential to delivering a step change in service so they engaged the boardroom and senior leaders by rolling out the same training programme to them. This one-day workshop included regional managing directors, store operations directors, area managers and store managers. A ‘train the trainer programme’ to transform Aldi’s best managers into their best trainers was also developed.

All 30,000 store operations colleagues were trained in the new Aldi customer service principles to make sure a clear business expectation was communicated to all customer facing departments.

Aldi invested £2.24m into the design and delivery of the training programme, awarding all store colleagues five paid training hours, but it paid off.

In 2019, overall customer satisfaction for the year reached a record 76.7 per cent – a 4.78 per cent uplift on the previous year. Aldi also saw a significant decline in customer complaints, with a 28 per cent decline in complaints about queues, a 14 per cent decline in complaints about staff friendliness, and a 10 per cent decline in complaints about speed and accuracy of scanning.

And while the programme has paid business dividends, feedback from staff indicates the level of impact it has had all the way through the organisation and in the experience Aldi customers receive every day.