Your supermarket has been running right along, but you’ve noticed that over time your sales continue to dwindle. The move isn’t massive — but it is noticeable, especially over a longer period of time. This light decline could be associated with overall drops in consumer spending, but there’s another possibility: customers simply are not in love with your offerings anymore. How can you combat a downturn so subtle that you may not even notice it at first. Sometimes, the best option is simply to ask your customers for their thoughts and then act on that insight to improve your overall customer experience.
Importance of Listening
An abundance of smiling customers and a hefty bottom line may have been the best measure of success in the past, but in today’s increasingly digital world there are myriad options for taking customer feedback. These can be anything from a quick call-in survey at the end of their receipt to a single question asked by every customer service personnel: Did you find everything that you needed today? However, no matter how much time you take in gathering this feedback, it is utterly useless unless you’re able to aggregate the data in such a way that it becomes actionable for both business leaders and front-line staff. Customer input can be gathered at each step of the process, including:
- Phone surveys when customers call your store
- Call-in surveys placed on customer receipts
- Printed feedback forms placed near the entrance or exit to the building
- Staff members actively asking for feedback as they walk through the store
The best way to gather information may vary based on the business goal that you’re trying to accomplish. When your primary initiative is to improve the overall customer experience, it may be good to gather insight from a variety of different feedback tools and then compare it to find data points that stand out on either the positive or negative side.
Improving Operational Efficiency
Regardless of how good your prices are, if your staff members are rude to customers then you’ve got a serious problem. The exact opposite can be true as well: if your service team is exceptional, your customers may be willing to support higher prices and consider your store to offer a better perceived value. Here’s a few ways that you can acquire data and use it to optimize your store’s efficiency:
- Aggregate data quickly by using digital polling mechanisms
- Encourage customers to leave online reviews or testimonials
- Get quick feedback from customers during checkout
- Ensure that carts aren’t being abandoned during checkout due to a lack of open lanes
- Learn from customers about any lost sales opportunities down to lack of stock on the shelves
Be sure that whatever type of customer feedback you receive can be quantified and distributed back to the store in a way that makes it most likely to be implemented.
Try some of these tactics and see if customer feedback provides that “secret sauce” — that extra special way of listening to your customers that allows you to continually grow revenue, increase store traffic and improve operational efficiency. Be sure to continually review your program to ensure you’re gathering actionable data!