By Dr. Gary Edwards, firstname.lastname@example.org
Localization is the name of the game in multi-unit retail. Large retail chains offer consistency, scale and other benefits, but if the brand fails to deliver exceptional experiences to local consumers, it’s unlikely that the retailer will gain any real traction in today’s highly competitive retail marketplace.
The most effective multi-unit retailers give local store managers the ability to mold retail experiences to local shopping preferences. Customer feedback plays an important role in shaping local customer experiences. However, many chains send volumes customer feedback to local managers rather than providing them with the summary information they need to make meaningful improvements to local experiences.
The bottom line? Multi-unit retail isn’t getting any easier, and stores live and die according to the quality of the experiences they offer their customers. Unless multi-unit retailers find new ways to put actionable customer feedback insights into the hands of local managers, their ability to reap the benefits of increased customer loyalty, brand advocacy and other rewards will be extremely limited.
The local retail dilemma
Local managers value customer feedback and see it as a cornerstone of Customer Experience Management (CEM). So the issue isn’t whether or not local managers will use customer feedback if it is offered to them (they will), but whether the feedback they receive will be presented in a manner in a format that can be easily translated into local improvements.
The problem is that local retail managers face practical challenges that complicate the CEM process, underscoring the need for a more streamlined approach to customer feedback analysis. These challenges include:
Simply put, the local retail dilemma is that site managers need visibility to local customer feedback insights in order to create first-rate customer experiences. But in many cases, local managers lack the time, skills and experience to capture those insights in any meaningful way.
Translating customer feedback into local improvements
More and more brands are recognizing that customer experience management is primarily a local retail activity. Consequently, chain retailers are eager to push ownership and responsibility for the customer experience to lo