The reputation of the world of surveys is not going through its best moment. Working within the parameters of data prediction and interpretation is always an area in which little is gained and much lost, and even more so when surveys on the same subject and the same segment of the population differ markedly in their results and conclusions.
But trying to put aside the latest setback in electoral polls (lately it is not that easy to not talk about politics), the fact is that they are increasingly an essential feature for any large consumption sector. And great distribution, of course, is no exception. For that sector, it is more than necessary to access, know and even come to predict the tastes of its customers, the ultimate and most valuable object of their business.
The new technologies and the paradigm shift of the company-client relationship that have given rise to Social Networks have made that two-way communication, that is providing so much return for both parties, easier. Now the consumer has a voice and no doubt the company is listening.
It is becoming more common to go shopping in the supermarket and afterwards to be questioned via different platforms about the shopping experience or particular preferences. Let us recognise, a priori if you like, that depending on the moment, these questions can be too much, but we should also recognise that it is more than a good opportunity to make us listen and make our usual shopping establishment somewhere more in tune with our tastes and needs. The customer is right, has always been right, but now his speaker is much bigger and louder.
As an example of this approach to the consumer, in 2015, DIA Spain introduced a new system to find out customers´ assessments concerning their shopping experience both in their physical and online stores and, on that basis, develop initiatives to improve their service. With this new system, DIA Club members who make loyal purchases in an establishment receive by e-mail a brief questionnaire of no more than three questions aimed at evaluating the service provided by the team on the sales floor and at the checkout. Responses are automatically sent to the company’s system for analysis and evaluation. Currently, there are 1.5 million members of the DIA Club who have email and can make their assessment via e-mail. Since the introduction of this system, more than 700,000 surveys were sent with a response rate of 5%.
For its part, the company´s online store also has not wanted to be left behind in the matter of listening to the consumer. In fact, last year DIA online began to conduct satisfaction surveys under the name of “Opinators” to find out more about the shopping experience of digital users. On the one hand, each new customer is sent an evaluation survey after receiving their order and, at the end of the year, a general survey is carried out, which is sent to all e-commerce users with questions related to customer service, shopping and service experience. During this year, more than 28,000 surveys were sent out, with a participation rate close to 2%.
For the DIA community in Argentina, other means of listening that are much more direct than surveys were chosen, with the company becoming a pioneer in the country in the development of a customer community. What were initially sporadic meetings between the company and customers to exchange information about DIA’s business model and shopping experience, has gradually developed in recent years with cooking classes, tastings and other events to become a massive phenomenon under the name of “Experts in Savings”. Such has been its success in the country that it has been the customers themselves who have been the starts of the company´s last advertising campaign in Argentina.
In short, it is the customer who is right, and why not take advantage of it.