Customer experience becoming more important to grocery store patrons

A recent customer satisfaction and loyalty study revealed that 97 percent customers are happy with the service they are receiving from supermarkets in part because of grocers' improving experience management.

A recent customer satisfaction and loyalty study revealed that 97 percent customers are happy with the service they are receiving from supermarkets in part because of grocers' improving experience management.

This emerging trend in the arena of service strategies requires businesses to ensure each touch point of their business is tailored to provide customers with the highest degree of satisfaction. For grocers, this includes the website where shoppers browse for coupons, the customer service representatives they call for help and the in-store employees running check-out lines, stocking shelves and managing the sales floor.

When asked about the service they're receiving from their grocer of choice, 57 percent said the stores they prefer to frequent are actively making efforts to cater to their needs, which could be boosting satisfaction.

"The research shows that consumers choose to frequent grocers that are actively tending to their needs," added Jones. "Consumers responded in multiple ways to say that they value the initiatives retailers have taken to make their product and service levels tailored and relevant to them. This is certainly a positive for those grocers that have invested heavily in customer-centric practices."

In order to differentiate themselves from competitors, some supermarket brands are focusing on customer service, store cleanliness and convenience. In fact, inconvenient checkouts were the most common reason shoppers gave for unsatisfying experiences in stores.

It appears mobile technology has made consumers less patient, since 40 percent of smartphone owners will abandon merchandise they were ready to purchase if there is a long line when they are ready to check out, while another 21 percent will leave products behind if there aren't cashiers available when they are ready to pay.

Faster service could become a vital part of a business' service strategies in the future, since nearly three-quarters of customers said they are likely to tell another person about their shopping experience if they received great service. The study found the number was just slightly higher among men than women.

Overall, the study found that while pricing strategies might be a carrot that lures customers in, excellent experiences are what truly set a grocery chain apart from competitors and drive loyalty.