The Golden Retail Season. Chapter 3: The Consumer Experience

How can retailers improve the consumer experience they deliver?   Smoothly and swiftly addressing issues consumers could raise as a potential negative, is one way in which retailers can improve the level of service experience they’re able to reach throughout the busy Christmas period. This also will aid the reduction of a consumer’s propensity to leave.

Becoming accessible to solve queries or complaints gives retailers the best shot at avoiding unhealthy criticism; having four stages of automated voices on a helpline won’t exactly delight a caller. Research indicates that half of all questions customers ask businesses are shared in the form of email, following this is phone calls at 30%. So be ready.

The Social Media Experience

Social media does not make up a large proportion of how people will report a positive or negative experience. However, as a communicative tool it can be highly useful. Social media gives retailers freedom to share brand values, character and personality, alongside product range or discounts. It certainly can be beneficial in affecting a consumers purchasing decision, as often buyers will take to social media for purchase justification; is the brand reliable, credible, will they deliver what they promise?

Not surprisingly, the biggest driver of action is a negative experience, and customers are 13% more likely (28%) to report an unsuccessful transaction over one that was problem-free. Around the festive period when trade peaks, avoiding negative conversations will result in retaining customers. If this is unavoidable, the large majority of consumers will seek fortitude from the retailer direct, which is good news for them as it puts the ball in their court to find an effective solution.

Give Customers No Reason To Complain

The interactiveness and empowerment of today’s consumer, gives them a voice that if they wish to raise, will be heard. Reviews, forums, social media etc. make it incredibly simple for customers to share their experience of a brand. It’s in the best interest of retailers therefore to do all they can to achieve positive relationships. The effect of backlash via forums may only result in a minor tremor, but one missed customer is one missed customer, why not aim for zero?

A reactive, positive stance on turning around potentially harmful consumer responses will help to better the consumer experience that your brand provides throughout peak trading times such as Christmas. Efforts will not go unnoticed and customers will be refreshed by an authentic commitment placed on appreciating them, and upholding the relationship. Being on the ball in regards to complaints will allow retailers to intercept all kinds of troubling noise, and if they’re savvy with the handling, what is to say an unhappy customer cannot be turned into a happy one? Current customers are less expensive to reach than new ones, so it’s definitely worth investing in maintaining existing consumers.

Stay tuned for Chapter 4 of our Christmas Retail Blog Series, which discusses the key takeaway from the research.

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