Encouraging customers to give feedback about the service they received can be a significant business driver for retailers, according to one of the UK retail industry's most charismatic entrepreneurs.

Nick Wheeler, founder of men's formalwear retailer Charles Tyrwhitt, said knowing they may receive poor reviews – which can then be accessed by senior management – drives staff to offer good customer service, and can ultimately benefit the wider business.

Talking at the British Retail Consortium's (BRC) annual Symposium event in London, last week, Wheeler explained how his company recently ditched traditional mystery shoppers for online feedback service Feefo, in order to gauge reaction to its products and service levels, as well as receive general comments about its customers experience of the brand. The retail boss was also made chairman of Feefo in 2013.

People do not like receiving bad feedback, he said, adding that the online tool it uses has an "incredibly powerful" effect on the business.

"Everyone is on their toes and wants to give great service all of the time," he told delegates at the BRC conference, suggesting that it's also important for staff to enjoy coming into work.

During his presentation, Wheeler – who also gave a keynote speech at this year's RBTE in London – noted that the way Charles Tyrwhitt collects and uses customer data is helping the business grow – and he said he was confident that the company can be a £1 billion operation in the coming years.

In a similar way to Littlewoods owner Shop Direct, which is also widely viewed as a leader in the way it manages customer data and personalises its messaging, Charles Tyrwhitt's mail order history arguably meant it was well-positioned to meet the requirements of a digitally-led retail world.

Whether customers are signing up for a catalogue, purchasing something online or handing over their email address at the point of sale, there are multiple points at which Charles Tyrwhitt has been able to create and develop relationships with consumers over the years.

"Ecommerce was in our blood," explained Wheeler, who first launched Charles Tyrwhitt in 1986, before opening its inaugural store in 1997 and launching a website one year later.

"You get so much data and you can really use that to your advantage."

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British Retail Consortium