Australian retailers are facing challenging times. They operate in a highly competitive market place and they are serving consumers that are empowered with information like never before. The consumer can effortlessly access online price comparisons and reviews for every category under the sun. Importantly, unhappy customers can reach hundreds of friends and family on social media to voice their anger if they receive a poor customer experience.

Retailers need to be able to exceed customers’ expectations and differentiate from the competition to thrive. Examples of ways to create competitive advantage are Every-Day-Low-Pricing, loyalty programs, exclusive ranging and superior service models.

The ability for retailers to connect with their customers and get feedback about their experience is criticalRegardless of the underlying business strategy, the ability for retailers to connect with their customers and get feedback about their experience is critical. The feedback needs to cover the key drivers for retail such as service levels, price satisfaction, availability and the ease of doing business. We recommend that the drivers selected reflect the market position for each retailer. For example, a retailer that is a price-leader should capture feedback about all elements of price satisfaction including value for money, every day pricing, specials and loyalty discounts; a retailer that is a service-leader should capture detailed feedback about the service levels on the shop floor, staff attitude, staff product knowledge, checkout experience and returns process.

We don’t recommend that you stop there. Retailers can also gather feedback from their employees to get their perspective on operational issues. Employees can be an invaluable source of ideas for problems solving and improvements for the future of the company. Retailers that achieve this must have a company culture that welcomes feedback and ideation from employees.

The combination of customer and employee feedback provides retailers with the insights they need to retain customers and grow customer value.

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