Survey results showed that 85 percent of consumers have provided some form of feedback to big box retailers, yet only 46 percent of respondents believe that brands actually use this feedback to make constructive changes to the customer experience. In addition, only 52 percent believe that feedback is shared with individual locations – even though the majority of consumers (81 percent) feel that feedback should not only be shared with local managers, but with all of the brand's employees.
The shortfall of confidence in brands' willingness to implement changes rooted in customer feedback is a serious concern for retailers. In fact, 83 percent of consumers agree or strongly agree that they would be more loyal to a brand if they knew the brand would act on their feedback.
"Our research proves that consumers really do want to provide feedback and engage in conversations with brands," said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer officer, Empathica. "But at the same time, they are clearly disappointed by not having any visibility into what happens afterwards. 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."
Consumers willing to provide feedback even without incentives
The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel also revealed key insights into the motivations and delivery methods that drive customer feedback. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming two-thirds of consumers prefer to share feedback online. The next most popular feedback delivery method was in person, but this was reported by only 13 percent of consumers.
When it comes to consumers' motivations for engaging with brands, approximately half of respondents provided feedback in exchange for an incentive or coupon. Surprisingly, consumers don't necessarily need an incentive to provide feedback. A larger share of respondents offered feedback simply to provide either a positive (31 percent) or negative (25 percent) experience with the brand.
Local customer experiences appear to be a motivating factor in customer engagement with 82 percent of consumers indicating that they are more willing to offer feedback to locations they visit often. Also, three out of four survey respondents were interested in seeing the feedback that others have provided about their brand experiences.
"Unfortunately, a lot of retailers fail at creating the transparency that customers desire. Admitting some areas of the business require more attention builds credibility and helps retailers realize the huge potential for brand advocacy," added Edwards. "There are large numbers of customers out there who are motivated to provide feedback for the brand. The challenge is identifying them and making it easy to share their experiences not only with the brand, but also with other local consumers."
For more information on the results of this study, visit http://www.empathica.com/consumer-insights/wave-1-2012-key-trends/.
About the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel:
The Empathica Consumer Insights serves as an authoritative voice on consumer based economic indicators; the retail, financial services and restaurant industries; consumer shopping intentions and customer satisfaction as reported by thousands of consumers in the U.S. and Canada. Results from Empathica's Consumer Insights, led by Dr. Gary Edwards and Empathica's Consumer Insights team, are published several times a year. The results are based on outbound Internet surveys with Empathica's growing Insights Panel, derived from more than 30 million consumer surveys per year. Results have been weighted to reflect latest Census distributions in the U.S. and in Canada, including Region, Gender, Age and Income.
Aforementioned data is reported by the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel – Wave 1 2012.