Are standards in retail declining?

Customers are unhappy with the state of retail, with one in five claiming that standards have declined in the past year

According to research commissioned by data-driven customer engagement solutions company Engage Hub, retailers are under-delivering on customer experience, with 22 per centof respondents indicating standards have declined in the last year. Over half (52 per cent) of consumers believe retailers could improve the customer experience by being seen to take feedback on board better, and 41 per cent want to see retailers provide more tailored offers.

The research, designed to better understand how fragile a customer’s relationship with retailers can be, also found that when consumers started shopping elsewhere, better in-store experience (35 per cent), better delivery options (26 per cent) and targeted promotions (26 per cent) were key factors in their decision to switch. Indeed, where retailers have got it right, 48 per cent of consumers believed that good communication was having the biggest impact on their overall experience. This was along with how positively they dealt with a complaint (37 per cent) and where they were treated like an individual (34 per cent).

Despite 73 per cent of consumers believing that retailers consider the customer’s experience to be an important part of the service they deliver, a third (33 per cent) believe the feedback they give is either infrequently, or never acted upon. And 42 per cent believe that being seen to take feedback on board would improve their experience with Retailers.

Simon Brennan, VP Sales Europe, Engage Hub commented, “Retailers are under incredible pressure to innovate with their customer service and loyalty programmes, and it’s concerning to see so many people say that their experience is going in the wrong direction. Not only that, but when they speak out about poor customer service, feedback isn’t always being taken on board. What’s worse is this is clearly one of main ways that consumers believe that their experience could be improved.” 

62 per cent of consumers have seen that technology has had a positive effect on customer experience. Just 13 per cent believed that an over-reliance on technology had made the customer experience worse, indicating that in the main, technology is being deployed effectively by retailers to interact and engage with their customers.

Brennan added, “How retailers manage their customers’ experience is becoming a key competitive differentiator as the complexity of how it needs to be delivered increases. From tailoring offers to individual consumers with targeted campaigns, to a better range of delivery options, it’s crucial for customer experience professionals to better understand how the right customer experience will drive better loyalty.”

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