“Were you happy or not with your experience today?”
You have probably been asked this question on more than one occasion. Either when you were doing your shopping online or visiting a physical store or outlet.
The trend of having a device placed near the exit of a store has come to stay. You meet them in airports, on gas stations and convenience stores and many other places. It’s a trend that has evolved rapidly for various reasons: For one, it signals to the customer that: “Hey, we care about you as our customer”, which I guess is a good thing. It also gives the surveyor (e.g. the retailer) some sort of indication of how the store is doing in terms of customer satisfaction – i.e. were they happy or not. Also, quite nifty if you want to run a successful business.
Asking is committing
However, there are some issues that are inherent to this way to interacting with the customer. When someone is asked about his or her experience, and experience wasn’t all that great, then as a customer or a respondent, you expect your experience to change for the better the next time you visit the store. For instance, let’s assume you went to a store to purchase a pair of pants, and they didn’t have your size. On the way out you’re asked about your experience on one of those smiley stands. You look around to see if anyone is watching before you smack the red angry smiley with your hand.
Later that week, the store manager reviews the answers of the week, and notices your negative response. But she also thinks to herself: “Our average score is up from the week before, so I guess the new displays we had installed really worked!”
You go back to the store the following week, only to find that the store still doesn’t have your size. The disconnect between question and answer is obvious, nevertheless the smiley stand is more popular than ever.
The missing link
In our view, the appropriate way to interact with the visiting customer is obviously to ask about the shopping experience. But it’s also important to have a follow-up question to understand the why. Why was the customer happy or not, what was missing? What could be done to improve the experience?
From my experience in working with retailers over the past 11 years, I know that if you want to work with a KPI – for instance customer satisfaction, it’s not enough to measure it. You also need to understand specifically how to improve it. Does the store need to staff up during peak periods? Do they need to be more attentive to product range and availability? Does staff meet the customers in a friendly and helpful way? Does anyone really care about the new displays? The list goes on, and you really won’t know, if you don’t ask.
You can seek inspiration on what great questions to ask in this voice of the customer case, or in this blog post. Be sure to also visit this guide on how to avoid typical pitfalls when placing your device in the store.