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Customer satisfaction back in the limelight

RBTE 2014 in London, UK, was a full and busy event, packed with thousands of retailers and exhibitors from all parts of the globe. HappyOrNot, which attended as a show exhibitor, asked all retailers who came to our booth "Are you interested in customer feedback?" and over 80% answered "Yes!"

This enthusiasm was also mirrored during our co-presentation with Dixons Retail on the topic 'Successful Customer Service Satisfaction Initiative' which was at full attendance capacity. So why has such a seemingly it-goes-without-saying topic as customer satisfaction come back into the limelight? Where did it go? Did the economic downturn push retailers to focus so much on competing on prices that they forgot about the importance of customer satisfaction?

Following the financial crisis and economic instability from the late 2000s, many retailers have been coming back stronger than ever and reinventing themselves from all facets of their organisation in order to be the biggest and the best. With the high levels of competition in the retail industry, retailers understand that in order to be successful, it is not enough to have the best product, but that they must also have the best service. The retailers which are as equally focused on customer retention and customer satisfaction as on costs and sales are the ones which will succeed, because without customers, there are no sales.

The challenge, however, is finding the right means by which to measure these customer centric KPIs in order to provide retailers with data that is valuable, insightful, and easily collected from customers. How can anything improve without knowing where the weaknesses are? How can strengths be replicated without knowing what they are? Knowing what business operations are succeeding in the eyes of the customer is just as important as knowing where they falter, but it is typically much more difficult to gather feedback on a positive experience. As we know, "a typical business hears from 4% of its dissatisfied customers" – (Understanding Customers, Rudy Newell-Legner), yet they hear even less from their satisfied customers.

However, we would like to contribute some new statistics regarding customer experience from HappyOrNot's own databank:

These numbers stand to solidify the fact that customer satisfaction is a strong focus and business standard for many retailers, and one that they are very aware can make or break their organisation. Our customer base grows every day, and so does the volumes of feedbacks collected.

Magnus Feldt, head of people development at Elkjop, a division of Dixons Retail, commented: "Elkjop can see that there is a close correlation between increased customer satisfaction and increased conversion rate, this proves that working with customer centrism is a major factor in increasing bottom line results."

We know, and we can see that the desire in the retail industry to know is quickly growing, that it truly is imperative for retailers to analyse their current service performance, both good and bad, in order to gain intelligence into business operations to make strategic improvement decisions. Providing your customers with value, a positive experience, and quality service is what will lead to differentiation, growing profits, and being a retail market leader.