Tech Blog: Great expectations in retail

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Tech Blog: Great expectations in retail

By Jeff Rogers - 09/11/2019
The retail landscape has changed dramatically since the rise of e-commerce and multichannel marketing and sales. Before the internet, businesses called the shots as customers shopped at local stores during regular business hours. Today, the tables have turned, and the customer is king. E-commerce is open 24/7 and with shipping options ranging from same-day to free next-day, customers shop on their terms and don’t have to leave the couch to receive goods. However, unlimited shopping options also means customer expectations are higher than ever and their satisfaction with businesses that can’t meet those expectations are lower than ever.

Consumer confidence in businesses isn’t what it used to be, either. The barrage of online sales pitches and lack of ethical oversight of personal information has made consumers wary. Research from HubSpot shows:

  • 81% trust their friends and family’s advice over advice from a business

  • 69% do not trust advertisements, and 71% do not trust sponsored ads on social networks

  • 65% do not trust company press releases

  • 55% no longer trust the companies they buy from as much as they used to

Hardware and home improvement consumers are also more knowledgeable than ever before – 92% research products online before they make a purchase. That’s why the customer experience and service is so critical today. The best way to improve the customer experience starts by finding out what shoppers think of your business and using that data to enhance your store’s shopping experience. Tools such as Net Promotor Score (NPS) help businesses gauge the customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty.

Using NPS has reshaped our day-to-day business approach at Paladin. We use it to keep a pulse on our client sentiment, market trends and tell us how we’re performing. That’s what it comes down to for every business – develop data-driven insights and make better business decisions with the information you have at your fingertips.

Paladin is a leader in digital retail software for independent hardware stores and lumberyards. We have an NPS score of 85 as of August 2019, well above the software industry average. We use the system to both assess how the support team is performing and formulate insights for product development. Retailer businesses can use NPS or similar surveys to gauge customer satisfaction and find out how they can improve their customer experience and product offerings.

What is NPS?

A typical NPS survey asks customers: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our products or services to a friend?” Responses are categorized: Scores 0-6 are Detractors, scores 7-8 are Passives, and scores of 9-10 are Promoters. To calculate an NPS score, subtract the percentage of Detractors from that of the Promoters.

NPS provides invaluable insights.

It measures customer loyalty. Loyal customers provide the bulk of any business’s sales. A study from Small Biz Trends shows that 80% of a store’s future profits will come from the top 20% of its existing customers. Research also shows that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, so keeping current customers happy is of the utmost importance.

It identifies strengths and weaknesses. Dan Nesmith, founder and president of Paladin Data Corporation, says his company relies on client feedback and considers its responsive 100% USA-based support as one of the pillars of its success.

“If there’s a secret to Paladin’s ongoing success it would have to be the loyalty of our customers. Many who were with us in those early years are still with us today,” Nesmith says of his 40-year-old company.

Paladin’s other business intelligence metrics show the company’s client support technicians have a 94% answer rate when a client calls with an inquiry.

Businesses can learn from negative feedback. Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden said: “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” Businesses can learn as much from their NPS Detractors as they can from their Promotors.

Paladin requests feedback from all its clients and independent retail businesses can do the same with their customer base. Feedback from Detractors is often more valuable than Promotors because it helps identify areas of improvement such as product assortment or employee training deficiencies.

It gives Promotors a stage. Studies show that roughly 90% of consumers are likely to recommend businesses after a positive shopping experience. And with 81% of shoppers now trusting word-of-mouth recommendations more than advertising or marketing, identifying those happy customers and offering them a chance to voice their support is easy with an NPS system and quality customer experience.

It aids in products and services development. Using the data and comments gathered from an NPS system gives businesses a tool to improve their products.

At Paladin, we learn a ton from our clients and frequently leverage their feedback to influence our product development. It’s our job to make their operations as simple as possible so they can focus on their customers. All businesses need to focus on the data they have available through their digital tools to constantly be improving their customer experience and product offering.

Jeff Rogers is the marketing, sales and partnerships director for Paladin Data Corporation.

About Paladin

Paladin Data Corporation simplifies retail by automating business operations, enhancing the customer experience, saving time, and increasing revenues. With 40 years retail experience and top-class 100% USA-based support, our proprietary Market Driven Inventory Management provides stores the peace of mind knowing operations are simple and streamlined.