Improve customer satisfaction in the retail environment

Offering excellent customer service and high customer satisfaction must start with understanding customer expectations. Businesses, shops, banks and all forms of retailers, need to understand their customers more than ever before, to ensure that they can satisfy their every need. By profiling their customers, they can effectively manage their experience, as each consumer will have different needs, expectations and pain points in stores.

Companies don’t want to hit customers with unnecessary delays – a happy customer is a loyal customer. They need to understand the psychology of waiting times to effectively comprehend customer satisfaction and ensure that they are the best they can be. Every opportunity should deliver exactly what the customer wants. And this delivery needs to be synchronised across in-store and digital offerings to provide a holistic experience of the brand.

The psychology of waiting times

With so many solutions available in the digital transformation era, there are lots of solutions that can effectively manage the customer’s satisfaction.

81% of customers wouldn’t wait for more than 10 minutes in a queue or if there were more than 5 people – 76% would simply give up and leave.

To improve the customer experience and manage expectations effectively, there needs to be more self-service checkouts, lots of open tills, managed queue lengths and enough customer service staff.

Psychologist, Donna Dawson, explains,

Research shows that management cannot afford to be complacent in the face of customer queuing and the advances in mobile phone technology. [If] a customer has experienced mobile payments and checkouts in a competing store, he or she will be less likely to queue for any length of time in your store for the same product or service.

Customers can simply choose to vote with their feet and go where the service is quicker and more convenient. All customers will soon adapt to the speed of mobile shopping, so management needs to increase customer satisfaction now.

Recognising consumer profiles

  • The Anti-Queuer cannot tolerate waiting and would consider leaving or shopping online instead. To improve their customer journey, include click and collect as an option.
  • The Stoical/Socialable Queuer views waiting as something unavoidable, even traditional. They will socialise with the cashier and may hold up the queue by packing slowly or paying in loose change. Ensure that there are lots of tills available to increase customer satisfaction.
  • The Impatient/Irritable Queuer dislikes time wasters and people who talk. A self-service till would improve their customer experience, as they can avoid these situations that cause them stress.
  • The Pro-Active/Bossy Queuer ­won’t wait for a long time and will either head for an empty self-service till, or immediately go to the cashier or shop manager to ask for another till to be opened. Self-service tills fulfil their need to be in control.
  • The Self-Absorbed/Selfish Queuer will use the queue to their advantage, without a thought for others. Even if there is only one person ahead, they will leave their basket on the floor or by the till and walk off. They’ll also save space for a friend.

Increasing customer satisfaction

Organisations need to effectively manage customer satisfaction, avoiding any gaps in the quality of service and productivity. To meet customer expectations, you first need to understand them. From what they want, their consumer profile and expectations – they are not generic. You need to be flexible to respond to different custom types and behaviours.

Providing manned tills and self-service options, integrating service to mobile applications and providing in-store digital content to guide and inform customers, will give a broad range of your customers everything they want. And partnering with a vendor who understands the fundamentals behind the customer journey can help retailers enhance and effectively manage their customer journey.