The 5 Biggest Retailer Mistakes Customer Feedback Could Have Prevented

 

No one said running a store would be easy. But in 2017, it seems to be harder than ever. Retailers battle daily with high turnover, online competition, and a myriad of marketing decisions.  Constantly changing retail trends, customer expectations, and divided loyalties can feel impossible to keep up with.

Many business owners turn inward for solutions to these problems. They rely on gut instinct. They assume that what has worked in the past will work tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong – business owners are great judges when it comes to their operations. But they are a whole lot more effective when they have customer feedback to inform their decisions. Without customer feedback, they run the risk of making these major (but all too common) mistakes.

1) Not knowing which selling points matter most.

What keeps your most loyal buyers coming back? What impresses new visitors? The answers to these questions can be found in your customer feedback.

It is what they like about your business, rather than your own values, that will inform a winning marketing campaign. For example, if customers repeatedly applaud your speedy service, you may choose to add a speed guarantee to your next advertisement. If quality is what keeps people coming back, focus an advertorial on this topic. You won’t know what people value about you (and what messaging to focus on for your business) unless you ask!

2) Confusing or incorrect information posted online.

Google, Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor, Yelp – it seems like every day there’s a new website posting information about your hours and offerings. With so many sites and systems, it’s not surprising that incorrect updates can be posted on these online profiles.

Unless you spend lots of time monitoring these sites, it can take weeks or even months for a staff member to catch errors. This can lead to tons of missed opportunities and lost sales for your business. Customers are usually the first to catch these misprints, but may only share them with you when asked for feedback.

3) Not recognizing amazing staff.

The turnover rate for the hospitality industry topped 70% in 2016, and retail trends are not much better. Business owners are understandably concerned with keeping great employees on their payroll.

Experts say that recognizing good work, creating a supportive environment, and putting the right people in the right positions (especially in management) can help businesses avoid losing strong staff members.

But how will you know which employees are providing the best customer experience? How can you decide who to promote when the time comes? Customer feedback can provide you with all these insights, allowing you to retain your best staff year after year.

4) …or staff in need of improvement.

If a customer service representative is rude or inappropriate with customers, chances are you won’t find out until it’s too late. Perhaps a negative review will show up online, or you’ll hear some bad word-of-mouth around town. Maybe a staff member will leave because of the co-worker.

Wouldn’t it be better to identify this issue before it got to that point?

Customer feedback allows you to pick up on the behaviour patterns of your frontline staff. If one employee is repeatedly getting negative feedback from customers, you can address that issue before it leads to backlash inside your business.

5) Not offering what your customers want.

When a customer takes a survey, they are prompted to share what could have been done to improve their experience. Many use this opportunity to offer information about what offerings they desire from your business.

Revising your products and services based on this tried-and-true testimony is a great way to build your business in a way that speaks to the wants and needs of your customer base. Wouldn’t you rather make an improvement you know people want?

Can Customer Insights Be Your Biggest Asset?

The more customer feedback you can get, the better chance you have of catching important issues and growth opportunities before it’s too late.  Why leave your growth to guesswork? Feedback allows you to make informed decisions based on real customer data.

Yes, we are biased – Chatter Research uses SMS to help increase the response rate to customer surveys. But the tremendous response from our clients has proven that feedback can be a gamechanger.