September 5, 2013 - CFI Group, customer satisfaction technology and analytics firm, has identified the top drivers of retail customer satisfaction through its Retail Satisfaction Barometer (RSB). The ongoing, benchmark study was conducted to gain an understanding of how satisfied retail customers are today – focusing on intent to make repeat purchase, develop an affinity toward a brand and recommend retailers to peers.
"Understanding what drives customers back to the store is critical to a retailer's business performance," said Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group. "This study provides retailers with an understanding into how to improve their customer satisfaction within the segment they serve and their brand communities." The study utilized the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) methodology to measure six elements of the customer experience, including, physical store, associates, merchandise, price, checkout and online presence. All six elements were scored as drivers of customer satisfaction, ranging from zero to 100. Overall, the RSB found that retailers' physical store and online presence were meeting consumer expectations, but points to store associates, price and checkout as areas needing improvement, with the lowest driver scores of 78, 79 and 79 respectively. Customer satisfaction also varies based upon retail segment. The research found that consumers had the highest rating of satisfaction with the condition and cleanliness of traditional department stores and mall-based specialty stores, with scores of 87 and 85 respectively, over large-format value stores, which scored 81. Based on the RSB findings, CFI Group recommends the following actions for driving positive customer experience and engagement:
- The Price is Right: As the economy comes out of its recession, customers are still price and value conscious. Focusing on the store's strength as it relates to price – value, quality, sales, etc. can set a retailer apart from the competition and attract and retain consumers.
- Train, Train and Train Your Associates: Store associates are a leading driver of customer experience. Creating a pleasant, helpful atmosphere creates a better customer environment, and encourages customers to stay longer and purchase more.
- Maintain all Channels of Communication: Millennials prefer passive communication, while baby boomers are more inclined to engage with associates via face-to-face. Customers who can select the manner they choose (email, social media, phone, etc.) to connect with a retailer are far more likely to engage with associates in a meaningful way.
- Regularly Monitor and Measure Customer Satisfaction: Consistently benchmarking customer satisfaction will allow retailers to compare themselves against competition. Measuring customer experience allows companies to uncover actionable insights to improve performance across every customer touch point.