Career Conversations: Natalie – Customer Host, Epsom
For our first ‘Career Conversations’ insight we hopped on the train to visit our Epsom White Stuff Shop so we could have a cuppa with Natalie to find out all about what it is like to be a Customer Host. Natalie has been with us since the Epsom Shop first opened and has given us the inside scoop into life at White Stuff.
Q: How did you become one of the family at White Stuff? What’s your story?
I finished working at my position in Central London and decided that I wanted to try something new and look for a complete lifestyle change; this coincided with me noticing that White Stuff were opening a new shop in my home town of Epsom. I had always been a fan of the brand and product and I knew some of the heritage and backstory. It felt like perfect timing so I decided to apply and, following an interview, I was successful and offered a Customer Host position!
My life has been so different since working here; I’m happier and more confident and everyone I work with is just brilliant. We are a close-knit team who are more like a family.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you as a Customer Host?
I really like the variety of working in a White Stuff Shop; you could be working back-of-house on delivery and processing the new product (we get 50% discount and uniform allowance so I like to spot the newest items first!) or getting involved in visual merchandising and using the tools and guidelines from ‘The Tea Room’ (our Intranet) to make sure the collections are displayed beautifully for our customers.
Everyone at White Stuff has their own profile on The Tea Room, much like a social media platform, which is great as it means I can communicate with other Customer Hosts across the country, share ideas and photos and find out what everyone else is working on in their own Shops.
Amongst the varied responsibilities, my favourite part about my role is the customer interaction. Yes there are important operational tasks to complete but the customer experience is where I feel like I thrive; I love chatting to our customers and it’s so nice to be able to welcome them into the shop as a guest and a friend for a fun, warm shopping experience. For us it’s about being sociable with the customers; building meaningful relationships with them (whilst helping them shop and having a good laugh too) and I’ve even received some beautiful Christmas cards from some of our regulars.
Q: What development opportunities are there for you as a Customer Host?
We have ‘Hosting White Stuff’ which is a training and development programme that all Customer Hosts can participate in. It’s really handy, particularly when you are new to the Company, as there are three development workbooks to progress through. They are great for navigating your way around processes and procedures, but they also help you to grow into a more confident person as you are building key life skills that you can apply elsewhere.
The development books can be worked through at your own pace and for each level you complete you are rewarded with a pay rise; which is a very nice incentive to learn and develop. There is also additional responsibility gained with each level passed and I’m currently supporting some of my colleagues to develop through their own workbooks too.
Q: What do you love most about working as a White Stuff Customer Host?
Where do I start!? Without sounding cheesy, I really do enjoy my time with our customers. It’s because the interaction is natural, warm and great fun. White Stuff really encourage this approach and it’s one of the many reasons our customers chose to shop with us.
If you are interested in exploring Customer Host opportunities at White Stuff, pop into your local Shop to find out more.