listeningNet Promoter Scores (see our earlier post: Net Promoter – the Most Common Retail Listening Tool) are just the beginning to really understand the Voice of the Customer.

There is a wonderful quote that “the plural of anecdote is not data.” Too often retailers and other small business owners believe that a story or two from hundreds of customer encounters every day is an accurate reflection of customer feedback about their stores or business.

To objectively understand how you are perceived in the marketplace, find out:
  • What do your best customers love about you?
  • What most frustrates your unsatisfied (past) customers?
  • How do your customers think about you differently than your competition?

For most retail managers, the only way to uncover these emotionally charged questions is to hire an objective third party. Focus groups and intercept surveys are the most robust methods – but also expensive. At Delaney Consulting, we use proprietary online surveys, shop alongs, video diaries and other methods to uncover honest feedback. It is human nature to overreact to negatives and under-react to positives. An outside firm like ours can help a management staff. We help them respond in a positive way to feedback. Then build plans to improve the business.

Use caution when relying on internal communication to accurately judge customer feedback. Rarely is employee feedback about “what customers are saying” accurate.

Next Post: Using Social Media to Listen to Customers