Measuring and managing the customer experience

Retailers must measure, manage and improve the experiences of their customers, in order to grow their businesses effectively. Customer retention and continued business growth depend on retailers' proactive ability to manage customer satisfaction and to ensure timely and effective customer complaint resolution.

The financial effect of poor customer service quality can be devastating, but may not become apparent for some time. In a typical retail environment, customers may visit the same store only once every two to six weeks. Depending on the frequency of repeat business, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months before lagging sales become an indicator that there are quality concerns.

By the time it is noticeable, the damage to an individual retail store may be irreversible. To prevent such customer erosion, two elements are required. First, a complaint management system can be brought into play to serve as a critical "listening post" for issues at the local unit level, at the district/regional level, and at the corporate governance level. To be effective, such a system must immediately sort and route complaints to the appropriate business roles within the organization, to ensure timely responses and management accountability.

The second element required is actually more critical to retail survival and success. It is a sensitive measurement feedback system that continuously "listens" to the unspoken complaints that occur when the promise of a great service experience is not met. While a complaint management system picks up more "catastrophic" failures (e.g., product availability, staff mistreatment, etc.) the "near misses" in providing excellent service experiences during each and every customer transaction create silent complaints. As they accumulate, these silent complaints can be potentially more lethal to a retail business.

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Topics: Consumer Behavior, Customer Service, Digital Signage Audience Measurement, Employee Training, Hiring and Retention, Online Retailing, Pharmacy/Drugstores, Psychology, Retail - Apparel, Retail - Automotive, Retail - Convenience Stores, Retail - Electronics, Retail - General, Retail - Home Center, Retail - Mall, Retail - Warehouse, Shopper Marketing, Specialty Stores

Companies: Opinionmeter International


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