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6 Ways Food Retailers Can Use Customer Experience Data


Consumers make an average of 83 trips to the supermarket per year, according to Consumer Reports. With 52 percent of consumers reporting to PricewaterhouseCoopers that they return to a grocery store based on the in-store experience, it’s important that retailers pay attention to what customers are saying, to build customer loyalty and retain business over time. Understanding what your customers are saying about your store, your employees and your products can help not only to optimize elements of your customer experience, but also to mitigate any risk of losing your customers to a competitor or even facing legal action.

Layering this type of customer feedback on top of the point-of-sale and CRM data you already have offers a holistic understanding of who your customer is, and how she’s experiencing the in-store environment. Here are six ways customer experience data can help shed light on what is, and what isn’t, working for your customers.

1) Identify the Struggling Departments

With so many departments in a store, it’s unlikely that they’re all performing at the same high level necessary for success, regardless of how much effort you may believe is being invested. Looking at customer experience data can point your management team to specific areas of the grocery store that may have poor quality or poor customer service, and then focus in on what changes are necessary for improvement. By keeping track of store-wide performance, both at the departmental and the regional level, you can ensure that no one area is dragging down the overall experience.

2) Demonstrate the real value in promotions

Purchasing data will let your team know what promotions and coupons are popular with your shopper base. By looking into customer feedback data, it’s possible to know not only if customers appreciate certain promotions, but why those promotions are valued. For instance, are your shoppers buying a certain product because that specific brand is a favorite, and perhaps your purchasing team can investigate other items from the same brand? Or are shoppers brand-agnostic when it comes to that product type, and promotions can be used to move excess inventory?

3) Show product availability versus inventory

Inventory is a great way to understand what items you have on hand, but product availability is a different ballgame. By listening to customers’ favorite brands or specific products, not only can you stock the items that are more likely to sell out, but you can adjust delivery times for when those shoppers are more likely to purchase those items. Further, if you notice a specific product category isn’t selling, it may be an issue of stocking a preferred brand -- something your customers are able to tell you.

4) Motivate and engage staff members

In collecting customer experience data, shoppers can provide valuable insights into which departments have staff members who are going above and beyond. In the case of one U.K.-based grocery store retailer, weekly employee recognition reports are sent to the director of customer services and to other team members, spotlighting those who are delivering excellent customer service. The initiative has led to increased employee engagement and has fostered a customer-first attitude among team members.

Not only does this recognize those star employees, but it also can be used to optimize staff training to impart that success to future team members.

5) Help avoid legal trouble – early

With the number of customers visiting all parts of your store, it’s likely that they will notice areas of concern before you will. These observations, coming to you in the form of customer feedback, can be monitored and organized so that certain types of feedback are addressed immediately. For instance, in one leading U.K.-based retailer, shopper comments that mention taking legal action or talk about finding mislabeled products or expired produce are fast-routed directly to a specialized service center where specific representatives reach out to the customers to remedy the situation. By having this sort of system in place, potential legal issues are handled swiftly and effectively.

6) Responding to your community

If your store is part of a larger chain, it can be easy to standardize across every location in the hopes of delivering a streamlined customer experience. However, each community is different. One group of customers may look for their products to be organic, pesticide-free and non-GMO, while another community may have a larger presence of a certain ethnic group looking for more off-the-beaten-track products. By listening to your customers online, you can be sure to stock the types of products they’re looking for, thereby building customer loyalty.

By truly understanding the voice of your customer, gathered from insights shared across call center notes, surveys, emails, online chat transcripts, social media posts, and more, you can capture a comprehensive understanding of what your shoppers are looking for. With this information, you can not only stock the right items, but respond to concerns and rave reviews, ultimately earning the appreciation of your customers and positioning the business for success.

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