Minding the feedback gap

By Jack Underwood, CEO and co-founder of Circuit.

Over the past decade, we have seen innovative retail technology transform the way people purchase goods both online and in store. From new payment technology to better UX design, it has never been easier to shop online. As a result, ecommerce has boomed, with the pandemic only accelerating its growth. This is a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.

At Circuit, we recently conducted a survey to find out more about customers and their delivery experience over the past year. Whilst there were many interesting findings, a stand-out statistic detailed that nearly a quarter of customers (22.5%) who experience delivery issues whilst ordering goods online do not complain.

This suggests that retailers may not even know that there has been an issue – missing an important opportunity to resolve it, give a positive experience, and get the customer back on side.

It is vital that this delivery feedback gap is closed, and by taking the steps below, retailers can gain a deeper understanding of their customers.

Understanding the importance of customer feedback 

Customer feedback is a gift. While it’s never good to hear that a customer has had a problem, it is important that customer delivery issues are not going unnoticed or unresolved as this ultimately leads to customer dissatisfaction. Having knowledge of customer issues allows businesses to also proactively resolve them for other customers, improve customer relationships, and keep their custom. Customer acquisition is more expensive than customer retention, so keeping the right customers is valuable to retail businesses. 

Furthermore, feedback is needed because it impacts a retailer’s internal decision making. With this current gap, retailers risk making changes that do not improve customer satisfaction, as they are unaware of issues within the purchase funnel. This creates cycles of change that do not improve the delivery service as decisions are not based on known customer pain points. With feedback, retailers are able to develop insights and spot patterns allowing them to improve processes. 

Online retail has seen a boom over the past year due to the pandemic. Our survey indicates that this boom in e-commerce is set to continue – with 85% of online shoppers saying they would shop either the same or more frequently online over the next 12 months. The quality of delivery services is now more important than ever; with no shop front, delivery drivers are the brand’s front-of-house. 

Take steps to fix the problem 

Encouraging customers to give feedback is the critical next step, so it must be easy for them to do so. Retailers should make sure that they request feedback on both the delivery and the shopping process, in addition to the product itself. They could also use technology such as mobile apps, to make feedback easy to provide at just the touch of a button. 

A key way to get feedback is by offering consumers an incentive. Letting your customers know that their feedback is valued by offering them something in return is integral to increasing customer reviews. 

Ways to do this include: 

  • Entering customers in a raffle to win your products once they’ve given feedback.
  • Giving customers a discount code after giving feedback on a number of purchases.
  • If you have a points-based rewards card, giving them additional points for feedback.

What the future looks like 

The current delivery ecosystem sees retailers, couriers and customers existing in silos, something that Circuit is committed to changing. Communications will be improved through connecting them within one ecosystem as this will streamline processes and result in a better experience for customers. In time there should be no surprise delays – or parcels left out in the rain.

Retailers using one central application for all delivery correspondence also enables customers to give quick feedback. For example, with apps such as Uber/Uber Eats or Deliveroo, the request for a quick star rating out of five means customers do not need to leave the app or sign into their email to offer reviews. It is easier, takes fewer clicks, and doesn't require the consumer to 'think'. This could also help to increase the rate of feedback given as it is less time consuming for customers.

Whilst the feedback gap is alarming, it can be fixed  – as long as retailers, dispatchers,  and couriers work to prioritise customer experiences to create a culture where their reviews are welcomed and encouraged. 

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