Store Associates are the Biggest Influence on Customer Loyalty

By Brian Harris

If I was a supermarket manager, I would call my associates together for a special meeting about the results of this study. I’d want my employees to know that they have the biggest influence in a customer coming back to our store. My employees are not only important—they’re THE most important part of the customer’s shopping experience!

Now in its eighth year, Retail Feedback Group’s (RFG), 2015 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study found that supermarkets have the most success with the most customer satisfaction, scoring an average of 4.44 on a five-point scale, where 5 is the highest score.

Areas of Excellence and Improvement

Shoppers rated supermarkets highly in key customer service areas, including feeling like a welcome guest (4.70), deriving food expertise from store associates (4.66), and encountering exceptional service (4.66).

The two highest-rated core experience factors were quality/freshness of the food and groceries (4.47) and cleanliness of the store (4.44). High marks were given to friendliness and attitude of the store personnel (4.43) and the speed and efficiency of checkout (4.41). However, helpfulness and knowledge of personnel (4.35) scored a lower rating, as well as availability of personnel to provide assistance (4.26).

“Our findings show that two of the three lowest-rated areas among the core experience factors are people-related – helpfulness and knowledge of personnel and the availability of personnel to provide assistance,” said Doug Madenberg, RFG principal. “It is important to strengthen these areas, especially considering how store associates can positively influence overall satisfaction.”

The Takeaway

Customers want to feel at home when they’re purchasing groceries. The more at home they feel —from the moment that they step into the supermarket to the moment they step out of the door —the more loyalty they’ll feel to that store and the brands that the store sells.

One of the ways to enable personal interaction between employees and customers is to upgrade technology so that tasks that formerly had to be done on ink and paper can be done with more efficiency. With mobile technology, managers free themselves from desks and workstations and automate processes. This results in more time to help customers and more time with associates.

Associates will become more knowledgeable and helpful when their managers are a visible presence in the store, leading by example—not just by directive.

Think it will cost you a lot of money to upgrade to mobile technology? Think again!

Check out our post on enacting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

Subscribe to Zenput's Blog