A high percentage of customer engagement is a valuable objective, and should be the goal of every manager and employees who deal with customers.

But how many times has a retail employee asked you: “Did you find everything OK?”

Your answer: “No.”

Then promptly, the employee fails to do something about it. Well, it’s happened to me countless times at chain stores. Not only in-person feedback, but in responding to online surveys, too. 

By failing to manage the dialogue, such companies run bigger risk of seeing complaints on Twitter, Facebook and in online reviews.

It turns out that a study shows 85 percent of shoppers at big-box retail stores give the requested consumer information.

But only 46 percent of surveyed consumers believe the information will be used to improve customer service.

That’s the word from Empathica, Inc. The company surveyed 6,500 U.S. consumers in 2012.

Shoppers indicated they wanted to answer the retailers’ questions, but they’ve become dissatisfied with the lack of responsiveness.

Some 81 percent of respondents believe their feedback should be shared with all store locations.

But just 52 percent think the stores, managers and employees get the information.

The irony? Four out of five respondents “agree or strongly agree” they would be loyal to such companies, if they followed up on the feedback.

Why customers leave

Indeed, my research shows customers change brands 70 percent of the time because they feel ignored.

 “Our research proves that consumers really do want to provide feedback and engage in conversations with brands,” said Dr. Gary Edwards, Empathica’s chief customer officer.

“But at the same time, they are clearly disappointed by not having any visibility into what happens afterwards,” he said. “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.”

The most popular delivery feedback is online.

About 50 percent will give feedback for an incentive. However, incentives aren’t necessary for the majority – 31 percent are willing to give positive input and 25 percent will give negative feedback.

 “Unfortunately, a lot of retailers fail at creating the transparency that customers desire,” adds Mr. Edwards.

“Admitting some areas of the business require more attention builds credibility and helps retailers realize the huge potential for brand advocacy,” he says. “There are large numbers of customers out there who are motivated to provide feedback for the brand.”

Obviously, big box retailers are wasting billions of dollars in research. Hopefully, your company has a better track record.

It’s imperative to act on valuable consumer feedback, and thank the customer. It’s good business. Besides, wouldn’t it be better to manage the dialogue?

From the Coach’s Corner, more suggested reads: 

Understanding Customers — Social Media Humbles Companies — Marketing is the understanding of your customer for the cost-effective process of selling the right product or service at the right time and at the right price. Inexplicably, Verizon joins the list of big companies failing to understand how poor research and judgment would draw fire from their customers and social media.

Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula — There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. 

At some time in the life cycle of every organization, its ability to succeed in spite of itself runs out.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.