Tag Archives: customer satisfaction

Walmart Finally Gets It: Employees Matter

19 Oct

For years, Walmart has had tough labor practices and been heavily criticized for them. For example, it has been sued by many women for unequal pay and promotion opportunities, fought hard against employees unionizing, paid low wages, etc. But, now Walmart is loosening up; and it realizes that happier employees can mean happier customers due to better customer service. It has even brought back store greeters in many locales where they had been eliminated to reduce costs. Yes, this comes at a time when U.S. revenues have been weak.

As Neil Irwin reports for the New York Times:

“A couple of years ago, Walmart, which once built its entire branding around a big yellow smiley face, was creating more than its share of frowns. Shoppers were fed up. They complained of dirty bathrooms, empty shelves, endless checkout lines, and impossible-to-find employees. Only 16 percent of stores were meeting the company’s customer service goals. The dissatisfaction showed up where it counts. Sales at stores open at least a year fell for five straight quarters; the company’s revenue fell for the first time in Walmart’s 45-year run as a public company in 2015 (currency fluctuations were a big factor, too).”

“To fix the situation, executives came up with what, for Walmart, counted as a revolutionary idea. As an efficient, multinational selling machine, the company had a reputation for treating employee pay as a cost to be minimized. In 2015, Walmart announced it would pay its workers more. Executives sketched out a plan to spend more money on increased wages and training, and offer more predictable scheduling. The results are promising. By early 2016, the proportion of stores hitting their targeted customer-service ratings had rebounded to 75 percent. Sales are rising again.”

“An employee making more than the market rate, after all, is likely to work harder and show greater loyalty. Workers who see opportunities to get promoted have an incentive not to mess up, compared with people who feel they are in a dead-end job. A person has more incentive to work hard, even when the boss isn’t watching, when the job pays better than what you could make down the street.”


Click the image to read a lot more from Irwin.


A Walmart trainee perfecting a cereal display in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Credit Melissa Lukenbaugh for The New York Times

A Walmart trainee perfecting a cereal display in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Credit Melissa Lukenbaugh for New York Times.


Do Shoppers Really Believe Customer Reviews?

26 Sep

As marketers, we have become increasingly knowledgeable about the power of online customer reviewers. And we recognize that many shoppers place more weight on these reviews than on company-sponsored communications.

Let’s look at some research by Trustpilot, a customer review consultant to business.  According to eMarketer:

“In early 2016, Trustpilot surveyed 1,132 Internet users ages 18 and older. In all, 80.7% said reviews were somewhat or very important to their purchase decisions. Few users said reviews did not influence their decisions when deciding on a product to buy. Just 4.7% said reviews were somewhat or very unimportant.  When it comes to when users are most likely to read reviews, roughly half said it’s while they’re on a site, before adding the item to their cart. Nearly a quarter said they were more likely to read reviews earlier in the process: while on a company’s Web site, but prior to actively shopping. Another 18.5% read reviews primarily before visiting a company’s Web site at all.”

Stage of the Buying Process During Which US Internet Users Are Most Likely to Read Reviews, Feb 2016 (% of respondents)
Retail Touchpoints wrote this about Trustpilot’s research:

“While the majority of consumers believe online reviews help them along their shopping journey (88%), only a fraction of these customers (18%) actually trust that all the information contained within the reviews is valid, according to Trustpilot. This significant gap reveals that it is critical for businesses to not only incorporate online reviews into the shopping experience, but to deploy them in a way that will build trust and transparency with the consumer. To close the gap between those seeking out trustworthy online reviews and those who believe the reviews are fully authentic, Trustpilot recommends that retailers gain a greater understanding of how shoppers read, write. and believe in online reviews. Half of consumers feel the overall rating of a review or a high-level, easy-to-understand aggregation of a company’s feedback to it are the most important factors when it comes to reading online reviews. Additionally, 20% cited how recently the reviews were posted as the most important factor, while another 20% said the number of reviews posted for a product is more relevant.”

“The report identified several best practices to help businesses create more trustworthy customer feedback strategies, including: ensuring online reviews are easy to find and showcasing them to customers during every step of the shopping experience; giving customers a forum for reviews and inviting them to leave their opinion; responding to negative feedback in real time; asking the customer to update their reviews once the situation is resolved; and analyzing sentiment to continually improve business and products.”


Here is further information and advice directly from Trustpilot: an infographic and a YouTube video.




Americans Don’t Trust Mass Media

20 Sep

Yes, the mass media have been criticized in many quarters for their coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. But the issue of trust goes far beyond political coverage. It deals more directly with the competition from nontraditional media that has led to (1) more “got you” stories, (2) the quest to be first with a story even if not certain about the facts, (3) the focus on headlines more than content, and much more.

According to a new survey by Gallup:

In 2016, “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.”

Gallup began asking about media trust in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.”

Click the chart to read more.


How Effective Are Social Media?

9 Sep

With virtually every large company — and many mid-sized and small firms — now involved with social media in some question, one of the big challenges that remains is: How can we measure the effectiveness of social media? Yes, we can rather easily track the number of likes we get and generate reports on comments at social media sites. But how can we measure return on investment (ROI)?

To help address the effectiveness of social media, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business recently conducted a study of chief marketing officers (CMOs) at a number of companies.

As reported by eMarketer:

“Social media ad spending continues to grow in the U.S., with eMarketer forecasting the format will make up more than 20% of digital ad spending by 2017. Yet even as marketers’ social media budgets increase, many are still struggling to make sense of its overall impact on their business.”
“Based on an August survey of U.S.-based CMOs by Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, executives from across the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sectors are still figuring out how to gauge the true effect of social media on their business. The problem is more pronounced for those in the B2B sector, where nearly half of respondents haven’t yet been able to show the impact of social media. Many in the B2C sector have had better luck showing the qualitative impact of social, although 60% or more of CMOs still they did not know the channel’s quantitative impact.
Take a look at the two charts on the Duke study from eMarketer. See what CMOs say their companies are doing to assess social media effectiveness.



A Fun Infographic on Scheduling Daily Activities

7 Sep

How do we spend our time during the day? Do we plan these activities in advance? Are we obsessive about sticking to a schedule? Do we succeed in completing our activities every day?

Consider these observations from Jennifer Gueringer, writing for the NetCredit blog:

“From breakfast to bedtime, we are creatures of habit. For those of us with a more settled lifestyle, our schedules remain consistent from day to day for weeks on end. Chances are, though, your routine has taken shape without much forethought — or at least without the kind of scientific insight that can help to maximize energy levels, productivity, and happiness. If this is the case, it could be time to rewrite that schedule with more attention to how the time of day affects your body, your colleagues’ moods, and even the outlook for your dog.”

“If you like to ease yourself into the day, your new regime may take a bit of work. Exercising before breakfast has been shown to help with weight loss — and that doesn’t mean you can shove breakfast back to 11 A.M.! No, breakfast is a dish best served within an hour of waking if you want to kick-start your metabolism. If that’s all a bit of a shock to the system, you may want to check in on Twitter before you leave for work. Studies have shown that’s when the happiest tweets hit the press — a perfect post-workout pick-me-up.

Take a look at NetCredit’s infographic on “The Peak Time of Day for Everything You Do.” [It’s a little — ok, a lot — rigorous for me. 🙂 ]

Courtesy of: NetCredit


THREE Infographics to Help Improve Customer Satisfaction

1 Sep

As we know well, the minimum requirement for consumer loyalty is customer satisfaction, a concept that needs to be thoroughly understood and sought by companies.

Recently, Salesforce developed the three infographics shown below on customer satisfaction and how to improve it As reported by Ritika Puri:

“Customer satisfaction is one of the toughest, most abstract concepts to capture and measure. Satisfaction is often in the eye of the beholder, and if you’re using a tool like a survey, you’re relying on self-reported data that presents only one side of the story. In addition, “success” is multi-faceted: A customer may be happy overall, but there may be some hidden deal-breakers that are hurting your retention metrics. So how do you tackle this challenge and improve your customer satisfaction scores?  Measure success from a few different dimensions. In addition to understanding why your customers are happy, you should focus on specific elements that contribute to overall success.”



TV Interview on Database Marketing

21 Jun

This television interview of Hofstra University’s Professor Joel Evans (from the Zarb School of Business) recently appeared on Fios1’s Money & Main$treet program. The interview was conducted by host Giovanna Drpic. It deals with several aspects of database marketing — from a small firm perspective.


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