Shoppers Talk, But Doubt Stores Listen


Call it the customer feedback riddle: A new survey shows that while 85% of shoppers say they provide customer feedback to stores when asked, only 29% believe it does any good. And only two in five think retailers care what they say, anyway.

The study, conducted by Empathica, a Toronto-based customer-experience consultant, and based on feedback from 6,500 U.S. consumers, revealed widespread cynicism about stores’ endless customer-feedback efforts. Only 46% think brands actually use feedback to make constructive changes, and only 52% think chains go to the trouble of conveying the feedback to individual locations. But 81% wish they would. 

In fact, 83% say they would be more loyal to a store if they could be sure their comments were taken seriously. Two-thirds say they prefer to do their kvetching or kvelling online. And while face-to-face was the next-most popular choice, it was only selected by 13% of the respondents.



Shoppers don’t seem to require any incentive to weigh in on a store’s performance. And 82% say they are more likely to comment about stores and locations they visit often. As more evidence that consumers are paying closer attention to customer reviews, three out of four survey respondents want to see what others have to say about the brand as well.

“Our research proves that consumers really do want to provide feedback and engage in conversations with brands,” the company says in its release. (Empathica administers some 30 million customer-satisfaction surveys each year.)

“But at the same time, they are clearly disappointed by not having any visibility into what happens afterwards. Feedback remains a one-way street and what consumers are yearning for is two-way dialogue. They want to know that their feedback is being acted upon in ways that will drive meaningful changes to the customer experience at the locations they frequent.”

1 comment about "Shoppers Talk, But Doubt Stores Listen ".
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  1. Robert Wright from iAsk , June 15, 2012 at 8:54 a.m.

    Hi Sarah,

    Excellent post.

    When the customer base clearly requests change and business development sell the change into the organization, it cannot stop there. The effects and the results of the effects must be measured, managed and communicated to the customer.

    When the customer doesn't know that value exists, it makes the job of communicating value less effective because trust has not been gained - actions must be communicated.

    What you are describing is IMO one of the main reasons why many consumer retail brands are locked in a life and death struggle - the customer speaks, they don't listen and as a result the basis for brand loyalty, "trust and liking" can never grow sufficiently to ensure that the customers first port of call is a "brand-able advisor".

    In order to add value, brands must be value-able. This is most easily achieved by providing staff with the tools to question, listen, record and pass on to a central intelligence gathering unit the information from each interaction (preferably). (Dependant upon the value of the goods and the customer).

    In conclusion; I believe that a post sale questionnaire needs to be built into the sales process... (I'm working on this:)

    Warm wishes

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