Big box retailers, grocery chains and convenient stores won’t necessarily build customer loyalty unless they offer an experience that consumers can take for granted wherever they choose to shop, based on the results of recent research from Steritech.
The Milton, Ont.-based consulting firm, which provides brand auditing and protection services, conducted a survey of more than 3,000 adults to produce its report, The Future of Customer Loyalty and Perfect Brand Experience.
The consistent experience consumers want from one store to the next may not be limited to having available stock, layout and other attributes. The same 74 per cent also said that staff reflect a brand’s values, which suggests people expect to feel the same positive interaction with employees across locations.
Order delivery and fulfillment was another area where consistency counts. More than half, or 55 per cent, said they blame orders gone wrong on the retailer, even if they use a third party for deliveries.
The research also underscored the impact when customers share negative feedback publicly. Nearly a quarter of consumers said they would leave a negative online review after one bad experience, and 52 per cent said they believe reviews accurately reflect a retailer’s CX.
Fortunately, an even higher proportion (29 per cent) said they would leave a positive review after a good experience.
“Given those online review statistics, it’s fair to say that negative experiences have a substantial impact on the bottom line. However, they are not the only contributor,” the report’s authors wrote. “When combined with other actions that consumers take, the potential revenue impacts of a single poor experience extend long past the initial transaction and the location where it occurred.”
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Steritech tried to underscore the fallout from bad reviews by estimating they cause businesses collectively lose $200 billion a year. The math behind this figure was never fully explained, and it’s so large as to be almost meaningless.
The study also doesn’t really break down whether the reviews in question consist solely of comments on social media or reviews posted on review sites such as Yelp. This matters, given that the latter tend to be more in-depth and rank higher in search results.
That said, the study is helpful as a reminder that great CX is more than delivering “moments that matter” in isolation. As more consumers begin travelling again, they are probably writing mental reviews (and editing them) as they enter every store location.
Those customers might warn friends and family through word-of-mouth not to shop at “that” location, but the negative sentiment could create a perception that tarnishes the brand as a whole. This makes it especially important for CX programs to monitor key performance indicators and gather feedback at a granular level to achieve the best results.
Steritech’s study is not gated and also provides a number of other data points that confirm or reinforce best practices in CX, particularly around what customers tend to value when they shop with retailers.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.