How Office Depot is Leveraging Customer Feedback to Drive Sales
With the multitude of ways that customers can offer retailers their feedback today, from on-site product reviews to social media platforms to surveys and more, it's created an opportunity for brands to listen to what their customers are saying and then act upon it. Unfortunately, not many brands are capitalizing on this opportunity. Office Depot is one that is.
In a session this week at the Shop.org Annual Summit in Chicago, Chris Childers, director of customer research at Office Depot, discussed how the retailer is leveraging customer feedback to drive better customer experiences and, ultimately, more sales.
Office Depot receives more than 15,000 customer comments per week — and it reviews each one of them. Store employees are tasked each day when they start their shift to review the previous day's comments from shoppers in their store. If a customer has a negative experience, the store manager will follow up with them to see if they can fix the problem.
Customers are truly surprised to hear from you, said Childers, alluding to the fact that while most retailers collect customer feedback, few ever do anything with it. You can win them back just by reaching out to them, Childers noted. Based on feedback it received from its in-store customers, Office Depot reviewed its internal process and reprioritized areas of focus for its brick-and-mortar locations. Stocked shelves, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and fast checkout matter most to the brand's customers, so they've been made a priority.
As for Office Depot's website, the company relies on Bizrate Insights Buyers Surveys to better understand its online shoppers. Specifically, it wants to know why they've chosen to shop with the brand online. Office Depot has learned from survey respondents that delivery, both how long it takes to receive their order as well as the condition it's in when they get it, is a source of frustration for a lot of customers.
The data that Office Depot gets from Bizrate Insights enables it to tie back specific insights to individual customers. Office Depot can use this information to assign a specific e-commerce team member to help address their problem. "We've organized our e-commerce team for success," said Childers, noting that there's an entire team devoted specifically to navigation and another for checkout. This specialized customer service, both in-store and online, has resulted in improved customer satisfaction and increased conversion rates.
Childers ended his presentation by outlining a seven-step process that can help retailers take advantage of the abundant customer feedback that's at their disposal and turn it into a revenue generator:
- Gain a better understanding of your customer.
- Understand your brand and its goals.
- Organize your processes based on the customer.
- Collect real-time customer feedback.
- Get the right info to the right people at the right time.
- Close the feedback loop — call them back!
- Continually evaluate and adapt according to what your customers are telling you.
As for Office Depot's plans going forward on how it can use customer feedback to improve the shopping experience, it's identified the following steps:
- integrate mobile data into the customer feedback review program;
- link feedback to session recording;
- collect feedback from store associates; and
- consolidate customer feedback from other sources (e.g., social media).