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11/19/2013 - Study: keys to customer satisfaction

While low prices can help draw consumers to their doors, companies must do more in order to be successful.

Just in time for the holiday season, a new report reveals how retailers can enhance the appeal they present for their customers so that they'll keep coming back to them again and again.

"Understanding what drives customers back to the store is critical to a retailer's business performance," said Sheri Petras, CEO of the customer satisfaction and analytics firm CRI Group, which performed the analysis. "This study provides retailers with an understanding into how to improve their customer satisfaction within the segment they serve and their brand communities."

Using its Retail Satisfaction Barometer, the organization came to a few conclusions about retailers based on how customers ranked certain aspects of the shopping experience based on a measurement scale ranging from 0 to 100. Where companies performed well was with respect to their physical store and online presence. However, where work needs to be done is prices and checkout, as these scores were in the mid-to-high 70s.

Among the recommendations, CFI Group advised that retailers focus on pricing - making merchandise as affordable as possible - as this continues to be a main driver of customer satisfaction. Additionally, the organization suggested business owners "train, train, train your associates." The more comfortable customers feel in a store - which is heavily affected by the services rendered - the more likely they are to buy things.

With the holidays here, this is the time of year where retailers turn their operating losses into profits, as evidenced by "Black Friday" and all the sales promotions that come with it. Company managers may want to consider reviewing their businessowners insurance policy to account for the increased flow of customers as a hedge against any accidents that may take place among staff or patrons.

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