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Valuing Consumer Input Makes All the Difference

Posted on 6.21.2012

A new study from Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions provider Empathica Inc. reveals that despite a strong desire to provide feedback, consumers are disappointed by brands’ lack of responsiveness.

The Consumer Insight Panel study shows that although 85 percent of consumers have provided some form of feedback to big box retailers, only 46 percent of respondents believe that brands actually use their feedback to make changes to the customer experience. Additionally, only 52 percent believe that their feedback is shared with individual locations – despite 81 percent of consumers claiming that feedback should not only be shared with local managers, but also with all of the brand’s employees.

This lack of consumer confidence should be a serious concern for retailers, especially because 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,” says 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.”

The study also reveals insights into the  delivery methods that drive customer feedback – with two-thirds of consumers preferring to share feedback online, and only 13 percent of consumers preferring to deliver feedback in person. 

And when it comes to the motivations that consumers have for engaging with brands, approximately half of respondents have provided feedback in exchange for an incentive or coupon – which is actually not necessary. In fact, a larger amount of respondents offered feedback to simple provide either a positive (31%) or negative (25%) experience. 

Another motivating factor of customer engagement is distance, with 82 percent of local customers indicating that they are more willing to offer feedback to locations that they visit frequently. Furthermore, three out of four survey respondents are interested in seeing other customer feedback in regards to 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.”

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