3 Tips to Improve Local Customer Experiences

In multi-unit retail, customer feedback and customer experiences go hand in hand. Although enhanced customer experiences can drive brand loyalty and revenues, improvements to the customer experience need to be based on insights provided by customer feedback data.
Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between customer feedback and local customer experiences. In many instances, retailers have focused on curating global brand insights at the expense of insights that are relevant to location managers and local consumers.
To achieve sustained growth, multi-unit retailers need to constantly improve the customer experience – to do that though, they need to do a better job equipping location managers with the information and resources they need to translate customer feedback into actionable local improvements.
Empowering Retail Location Managers
Most location managers understand how important customer feedback is to the retail sales model and the Customer Experience Management (CEM) process. However, the manner in which multi-site retail managers receive customer feedback can be frustrating and can hinder the ability to manage customer experiences at the local level.
Retailers need to proactively address the way feedback is utilized across the brand. With that in mind, there are several ways retailers can empower location managers.
·         Streamlined Customer Insights. Instead of simply passing along undifferentiated feedback data to managers, brands should empower location managers with real-time customer feedback insights that apply to local consumers.
·         Actionable Strategies. Brands that provide actionable strategies for location managers (based on site-specific feedback insights) have an advantage in the marketplace because managers are freed up to focus on the execution of targeted improvements.
·         Virtual Knowledge Centers. High turnover rates among retail managers necessitate mechanisms that bridge the experience gap through the sharing of brand best practices. Leveraging social sharing technologies, retailers can create virtual knowledge centers that equip location managers with strategies that have succeeded elsewhere in the brand.
Leading multi-site retailers are using advanced CEM technologies to harness feedback insights and to enhance local customer experiences. The use of these technologies achieves several critical outcomes for retailers, including the delivery of concise customer feedback insights, executable strategies and brand-based best practices to local managers.
Most importantly, these technologies allow location managers to take ownership of the CEM process, enabling frontline management personnel to assume responsibility for improving the quality and consistency of the customer experience in stores.
Dr. Gary Edwards is chief customer officer at Empathica, a provider of social Customer Experience Management (CEM) programs to multi-unit brands in the retail, food services, banking, petro and hospitality sectors.

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