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    'Active Listening' is a Key Best Practice: Study

    NGA-CART Innovation Center releases first research report

    For grocery retailers, customer service reputation is strengthened by maintaining an everyday practice for listening and responding to shoppers' concerns, feedback and praise, according to research from the National Grocers Association (NGA) and the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology Innovation Center.

    The new white paper, "Shopper Service Encounters: Discovering Best Practices for Grocers," was researched and prepared by CART with sponsorship support from The Retail Feedback Group (RFG). Essential cooperation was provided by NGA member retailers, Coborn's, Gerland's and Yoke's.

    Through a series of structured interviews, grocery store managers provided key insights as to how they successfully track and respond to customer feedback using modern tools. The goal was to identify successful practices adaptable across their own organizations and by other food retailers.

    Respondents were asked about:

    • Methods of utilizing the customer feedback system on a daily basis
    • Techniques for integrating these ongoing practices into normal work flows
    • Effectiveness of various types of responses at store level
    • Anecdotes of customer wins enabled by the process
    • Measuring and describing success using customer feedback tools

    The findings revealed numerous practical and effective methods used by store managers to apply active listening to the everyday challenge of delivering excellent shopper experiences.

    Respondents identified diverse winning practices, ranging from the empirical (review shopper survey scores with store associates) to the highly personalized (respond individually to every shopper comment received). Several respondents addressed time management practices, appropriate delegation and use of the feedback results to instill a positive employee culture.

    The Center for Advancing Retail & Technology and the NGA have partnered to bring a unique service to the retail industry: The NGA Innovation Center, a network of live store environments in different markets across the U.S. available to research sponsors for testing merchandising concepts and piloting innovative solutions.

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