Are Retailers Getting the Most Out of Customer Surveys?
A new white paper from the National Grocers Association (NGA) and the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART) identifies a myriad of best practices for how grocery store managers track and respond to customer feedback.
The report was based on interviews of six managers of stores that feature a "feedback mechanism," or a way for shoppers to complete surveys on their shopping experience. To prompt shoppers to complete the surveys, a toll-free phone number and/or survey microsite is printed on register receipts. Checkout clerks also routinely point the information out to customers.
Survey questions included whether they were greeted pleasantly by store employees, as well as ones around product availability and accessibility, the appeal of specific categories and departments, and the checkout experience.
The report identified six unique ways each of the managers capitalized on customer feedback:
Focus on Greetings: The first store manager zeroes in on the store greetings rating score "as a rallying point for staff," seeing success at the entrance extending across service areas.
Guide Staff Performance: A second uses the feedback to enable open and constructive discussions with the team about how well they are performing. With conversations grounded in actual customer comments, employees accept criticism and share in the praise.
Dawn Delegation: The third begins his day early with a review of the survey responses received overnight, then performs a kind of triage, by forwarding most of the comments to the appropriate department managers. This ensures that a response reaches every customer who wants one.
Cultivate Culture: The fourth makes certain that staffers, especially checkers at the front end, are continually aware of feedback being received from customers by posting both praise and complaints in the break room. An open workplace culture and peer comparison helps motivate individuals to perform at their best.
Team Empowerment: The fifth designates a trusted assistant to do a first-pass review of all shopper feedback received in the system. She handles the more routine responses and forwards only the most pressing matters to the manager.
Human Touch: The sixth has a regular a practice of responding personally to every comment he possibly can, even if the topic may seem trivial. He delegates some matters to department managers.
Managers also use the feedback data to measure their stores against sister locations, their entire companies, and national norms.
The study concluded, "It pays off handsomely when the retailer also has a plan in place to listen actively to both praise and complaints, and then take consistent action to let customers know they are both heard and greatly valued."
- NGA-CART Innovation Center Research Showcases ‘Active Listening’ as Grocery Best Practice – National Grocers Association
- Shopper Service Encounters: Discovering Best Practices for Grocers – National Grocers – National Grocers Association
How should store managers capitalize on customer feedback surveys? How can the overall customer feedback process be improved? Overall, are you a fan of customer feedback surveys?