An Analysis of Communication Barriers in Customer Employee Interaction The case of Sainsbury’s Richmond branch 

Project Background

Communication, in today’s world is the pre-requisite for the success of any organisation. Organisations are spending ample sum of money to impart communication skills for their employees in the form of training programs to make them adopt these skills as it directly reflects in the performance of the organisation. More and more emphasis has given to communication as the organizations are going global.

As the organizations are going global, they need to adopt various strategic skills to run in tune with the global environment. This has its impact on the organisational behaviour where the work force comprises of employees with diverse ethnicities with different attitudes, perceptions, attributes and these factors affect their communication skills be it oral communication skills or non-verbal communication skills. This diverse work force with different cultures and traditions may also lead to communication barriers which need to be mitigated for the successful functioning of the organisation.

These communication barriers prove as a hindrance for the employee interaction within the organisation as well as the communication between the employee and customer. Organisations are taking various measures to curb these barriers which hinder the interaction process. One of the important measures is the management of diversity. Diversity results in conflict among employees because the cultural background of the employees reflects in their organisational behaviour. Since the employees come from different backgrounds they possess their natural style of communication.

The organisations must train the employees to form a uniform communication approach so as to maintain the interaction smooth and effective with the customers or between the employees. Moreover, interpersonal skills of these employees with various backgrounds are to be nurtured to promote effective communication as interpersonal skills are part of communication skills. Effective interpersonal skills in the form of proper negotiation, customer responsiveness tend to make customers amicable with the organisation. For instance, establishments like retail stores, pubs and restaurants employee part time employees to serve the customers.

These part time employees mainly constitute student work force which come from different nationalities. This is where the practice of management of diversity is required. Management of diversity includes the identification of the communication approach of employees with various backgrounds, detection of loopholes in their communication process and training them to follow a refined communication approach in order to retain customer satisfaction. The Sainsbury retail store is taken as the case in our project which employs many part time employees which come from different nationalities.

There generally exist a communication gap between the local customers and these non local service employees as the cultural background is different. When there is a communication gap, the customer may be dissatisfied and it impacts the business outcome of the store. Customers wish to visit the store repeatedly when they were made comfortable in the store with good service and effective interaction with good customer responsiveness. Customer responsiveness is attained when there are no communication barriers between the employees and the customers. The focus of the project is to minimize these barriers and the approaches and measures taken to mitigate this problem so as to enjoy the positive implications of it.


To investigate how managers can use communication to improve the performance of part time international students at Sainsbury’s Richmond brand


  • To assess the role communication plays in the employee-customer interaction and potential implication on customer satisfaction
  • To investigate what strategies managers can implement to improve the performance of part time international student workers.
  • To compare the customer satisfaction levels from engaging with  local employees versus engaging with  part time international student