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More than half of us decide not to return to a grocery store based on our in-store experience, according to PWC. So if the customer experience is one of crowded aisles, long check-out queues, disinterested staff or parking difficulties, then they might not be back. They aren’t afraid to share their feelings either, often online so that friends, family or anyone in their social network can choose to do the same.
Meeting customer expectations has become increasingly difficult. You need to understand how your in-store operations, such as reducing employee stress and promoting store brands, can be shaped to ensure long-term customer loyalty. Competition is fierce in today’s “Age of the Customer,” and it's imperative stores put the right strategies in place to guarantee a positive and unforgettable shopping experience.
Understanding your customers through their transactions is no longer enough; we need insights derived through their interactions with us. POS data will only tell you what was or was not purchased. It will never tell you why. Instituting a customer experience program allows you to gain the intelligence you need in order to win over customers’ hearts, minds and wallets. By combining POS data with customer feedback data, such as social media posts, emails, online reviews or survey responses, you can better understand the customer’s journey and motivations to purchase from you. More importantly, you can then act on the data, and make sure the in-store experience meets customer expectations. After all, research shows that 55 percent of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
There are six main ways grocery stores should be using customer feedback data to nurture a more positive customer experience:
Track Store-wide Performance
Is the customer happy walking in the door but unhappy after visiting the deli department? Is another location on the other side of town consistently outperforming others? Evaluate performance by department and even at a regional level. Feedback data can help you understand the journey the customer takes within your store and across various locations so you can better pinpoint exactly where the experience is breaking down.
Develop More Targeted and Relevant Promos
Analysis can reveal which promotions and coupons are the most popular with your customer base and why. By using data to better understand the offers that are working well, you can hone your efforts and better cater to your base.
Better Understand Product Demand
Empty shelves don’t sell, so understanding how customer behavior aligns with product availability is critical. If demand for bread is high on Tuesdays, make sure deliveries are slated for Monday. By ensuring your supply chain is in sync with customer behavior, you can stock the right products at the right time to reduce waste and increase sales.
Engage and Motivate Staff
Every staff member has the ability to make or break the customer experience. Use feedback data to develop employee recognition reports that can be shared with staff and be used by management to refine employee training programs. This type of a continuous feedback loop has been found to significantly increase employee engagement and foster a customer-first attitude among team members.
Whether the customer is talking about a mislabeled product or threatening legal action, your organization needs to be the first to know. Technology that tracks real-time feedback across all channels -- phone, email, social media, blogs, ratings sites, and more -- has the ability to also create alerts, route information to highly-trained representatives, and reach out to the customer so that issues can be quickly addressed before they become a major problem.
Keep Your Roots in the Community
PWC data revealed that nearly 90 percent of shoppers believe that stores have a social responsibility. Make sure that your store adheres to the values of the community and that they are reflected in your brand promise. Winning customer loyalty means catering to community preferences - whether it’s expecting your suppliers to adhere to sustainable fishing methods or by providing organic options.
By collecting, analyzing, integrating and acting strategically upon customer feedback, you can start to truly listen to the voice of the customer, uncover what they feel about your brand, and take deliberate steps to win them over.