The Retail Customer Dissatisfaction Study


Retail TouchPoints: New Study Reveals Sales Staff Driving Shopper Defections – 2/28/08



A recent study by The Verde Group and the Baker Retail Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School shows that sales staffs are the single biggest detriment to the shopping experience, resulting in more lost business and negative word of mouth than any other shopping problem. The Retail Customer Dissatisfaction Study also estimated that the defections caused by a lack of sales help or a poor associate experience ultimately results in a six percent loss of business for retailers.

Discussion questions: Are overburdened store associates a primary driver of poor customer service at retail? What can store managers do at the store level to engender friendly and helpful sales associates? Should more safeguards such as a “save desk” be set up to minimize these apparently widespread poor sales experiences?

My post:

The focus in recent years on short-term financial results has created an industry full of over-burdened store associates and front-line managers.  These people are not happy and this attitude translates to the customer in countless negative ways.

The only surprise is that these studies continue to be a surprise.  Retailers like The Container Store and Apple understand that the customer experience is always defined by the sales associate so they invest in compensation, initial and ongoing training, and make all decisions congruent with the brand vision. 

Let’s hope retailers are serious when they say that 2008 is the year they put employees and customer experience first on the investment priority list.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist



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2 Responses to The Retail Customer Dissatisfaction Study

  1. Hi Mike,

    Not only does The Container Store invest in employees it does a fantastic job of balancing the needs of the employee with the needs of the customer. Did you know that, while 30 percent of its employees are full-time they still manage to give all full-timers two consecutive days off each week?

    Unlike you, my expertise isn’t retail, but I don’t know any other major retailer offering this.

    Cindy Ventrice
    Employee Loyalty Specialist

  2. Mike Osorio says:

    The Container Store is truly an amazing retailer. It is not that difficult to provide those 2 days off in a row and yet so few make it happen! What a difference it makes for those loyal employees! With so many retailers struggling, I am hopeful that some of them will invest more in their greatest asset – their people – and launch a new era of honoring the retail profession.

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