The Case for Customer Surveys

November 29, 2012 by David RichComments

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What do your customers want?

I mean REALLY want?

If you manage or own a retail chain, you may have a pretty good idea about this. If you sell groceries, it's not a difficult question.

Or is it?

What about satisfaction? How do you know if your customer's demand for satisfaction is being met?

Think about this… Where I live, there are several grocery stores within a short drive, and two where I regularly shop. Both are regional chains and each has about 70 locations. One has built their reputation on quality and is considered a "standard" grocery store. The other built their reputation on providing great food - a great "food" store.

And there is a big difference.

Put aside the marketing aspects of this for a moment and think about the customer need. When I want a great filet mignon or a piece of fresh fish, I go to the place known for food. But when I need to do a weekly shopping for the house, I go to the "standard" grocery store.

How valuable would it be for the standard store to know that what I really want is a great steak?

At the "food" store, the meats are presented in a case and staff let's you pick your cut of meat. Then they wrap it and hand it over the counter. In the "standard" store, the meats are all wrapped in cellophane and stacked in a refrigeration case.

Sure, there are all kinds of implications to how merchandise is presented. But the point is in the power of understanding what drives customers.

It works both ways.

If the "food" store learned that I only shopped there for meat and fish, but did my core grocery shopping somewhere else, I bet they would want to understand why. Maybe I think their prices are too high. Maybe their store has a confusing layout. (All true.)

There is no way for either store to learn this about me unless they ask.

By developing a customer survey program, retail locations can get input that can make satisfaction levels soar. By understanding what drives customer satisfaction - to understand what customers want - you can take positive steps to over delivering. Do this, and you'll succeed.

But first, you have to ask.

Topics: Customer Satisfaction

Written by: David Rich

In more than a decade as President and CEO of ICC/Decision Services, David has grown the business into an internationally recognized customer experience management firm. In addition to ICC/Decision Services, David has started, bought and/or sold several companies in categories including the in-store demonstration, event marketing, market research, and social media space. He received his bachelor's degree from Syracuse University.


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