Please don’t ask….

A very large, very famous, well known grocery store called me one time, wanting to ask me a few questions about my most recent shopping experiences at their store. I happen to fall in a very select group of customers – club card member who also has groceries delivered, has a household income in excess of X, etc., etc.,

They wanted to know what I thought about shopping for groceries at home. I was happy to oblige. An hour or so later, I had provided the call center representative a whole host of comments – everything from how the website provided product information and the sortability of the products, to the quality of the produce “selected” for me and the cheese that spoiled the next day after it was delivered. But more than that, I gave them ideas: a reminder list; a location in the store where I could pull up the items I’d recently received; including promotional samples in the shopping bags from their venders or extra coupons; email reminders (it’s been 5 days – you haven’t ordered milk…?) and a recipie/meal planner that would automatically find the ingredients and load them in the “cart.”

At the end of this very long “suggestion session” with the call center representative, she asked “Is there anything else you’d like to comment on?”

Now of course, I know what this is since I’ve written a few surveys: it’s the infamous “catch all” question that “just in case we haven’t asked you what’s really bugging you – here’s your chance!

I said “Yes, please. Would you please forward my comments to the appropriate management staff and decision makers? I’d really like to know if anything was ever implemented, considered, or if my time actually made a difference.”

Surprise. Months later – no letter. No email. No call. Nothing.

My advice: talking to your customers is important. Asking them their opinions and what’s “working” is vital. But don’t do it if you’re never going to implement any new ideas. Customers like knowing they’ve been heard. Include the results of their time/effort in providing you input in your company newsletter or on your website.  Be respectful of their time. If your clients took the time to give you their input or ideas, the least we owe as business people is to at least LISTEN and be THANKFUL.

Category: Customer Relationships, Loyalty, Market Research

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