I work within the Argos Client Services team as a Campaign and Media Management Executive in Nectar360. I started my career in Sainsbury’s store in 2020 and transferred to the Store Support Centre (SSC) in early 2022.

I have learnt a lot in my time in the company and whilst reflecting on this, both in-store and now in SSC, I have noted as much as things are different, they are similar in many ways as well.

Similarities between store and SSC:

Firstly, I would like to highlight the emphasis on being your authentic self. Both in-store and in SSC you are encouraged to break down the barriers and create a safe atmosphere so that all colleagues and customers feel welcomed and able to express themselves freely.

This then helps build a supportive and fun team environment where it can often feel like they are a second family.

At the heart of both sides is Customer Care and making sure the customer journey is as easy, productive, and positive as possible thus helping to build stronger, more loyal relationships and retention. We champion the following skills daily – problem-solving, being adaptable, and working at pace.

Things you learn from working in-store:

In-store you see first-hand the importance of the customer experience. Catering your working style to focus and think about how you can ‘make things better’ and ‘be human’ in your approach to a variety of demographics. The store is the hub of all our key values and is constantly trying to build relations and trust with customers.

Teamwork is so important in-store – it is a hive of energy. With regular upskilling, learning about other roles and always offering support to colleagues or teams with busy workloads is encouraged. In this, we would often review ways of working, identify pinch points and ways to make it better. This enables us to support more efficiently in the future.

I saw first-hand how the work I did affected those around me, by doing seasonal and flow changes and multiple range reviews. The change in the presentation of the store, and the excitement that new products brought to both customers and colleagues, made it worth the hard work.

Change is constant. From changes in seasonal displays and range reviews to changes in colleagues – whether that is due to schooling, progressing to management or moving stores it makes being adaptable and open to new challenges so valuable.

Furthermore, the extra help SSC colleagues give at busier times of year (Christmas, Black Friday and Easter) makes such a difference. The extra hands helping work through the bigger deliveries, seasonal display top-ups and BWS always is such a huge help in the busy buzz of peak trading and colleagues are stretched and having to help across the store trying to support the other departments.

During in-store working it is so valuable to share opportunities and insight with colleagues working on the shop floor– discussing their interests, passions, whether they’d like to progress in the company for example. Conversations had during store support can change a career or open so many doors. This is how I got my role through networking and then demonstrating my skills and experience.

Things I miss from store:

Firstly, I miss the team I used to work with. I joined during 2020 opening a new store in my hometown at the peak of the pandemic. My colleagues were the only people other than my family I would see daily. The team closeness and support was incredible during this time. Together we empowered one another, and they became like a second family and some are now my closest friends.

Another thing I miss are the customers and having that first-hand experience of the people we are trying to support and cater for. The regulars you would meet and see on your day-to-day was so special, especially as for some, that face to face interaction may be the only one that the individual would have that day. Even being a friendly face on a tough day – being able to smile at them and even give a bunch of flowers on the odd occasion was so rewarding.

When range reviews were implemented one of my favourite things was seeing all the customer and colleague reactions, the excitement over what’s new. Be it the new Habitat range or food but also the excitement of the POS, the execution and how good it looked. After working hard, the evening before, coming in that morning to the newness buzz was always so rewarding.

Harriet Williams
Campaign & Media Management Executive, Argos Client Services