Retail Executive

JAN-FEB 2018

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Our enterprise-level vendor performance and compliance SAAS solutions are proven to improve supply chain performance. For your checkup, a free no-obligation Opportunity Assessment, email us today at: info@compliancenetworks.com ComplianceNetworks.com Automated Chargeback Creation and Notification Collaborative Vendor Portals and Scorecards On-time Delivery and Fill Rate Improvement RILA Supply Chain 2018 @ Booth 708 FREE SUPPLY CHAIN CHECKUP benevolent intentions, or the customer's perception that the em- ployee's behavior occurred out of effort to improve the custom- er's well-being. This altruistic motivation manifests in employ- ees engaging in behavior outside of their job responsibilities, the sharing of information or education of customers, and interper- sonal communication. Ace Hardware is a prime example of a retailer understanding the power of cus- tomer gratitude and the important role of employees. For 11 years in a row, Ace Hard- ware has been ranked as having the most satisfied customers among home im- provement retailers, according to JD Pow- er and Associates. Interestingly, much of this score is due to the retailer's employ- ees offering a unique customer experi- ence. Customers of Ace Hardware indicate the employees understood their questions and provided helpful advice — key behav- iors eliciting customer gratitude. Publix is another retailer under- standing the science of positive em- ployee-customer interactions. Publix employees quickly greet customers and, when asked about the location of certain items, often walk custom- ers to the location of the item rather than stating "aisle 8." Moreover, the employees signal they are willing to help by offering to carry groceries to customers' cars, even in heavy rain- storms. Indeed, customers appreciate the additional effort put forth by Pub- lix employees as the retailer continues to score highly on several customer experience surveys. WHAT CAN RETAILERS DO TO BOOST GRATITUDE AMONG THEIR CUSTOMERS? Retailers need to evaluate all possible customer touchpoints and identify the acts of kindness that customers might appreciate. Companies should not only evaluate what their employees are cur- rently doing to elicit customer gratitude, but also evaluate what their employees could be doing and train them accord- ingly. After engaging in gratitude-elic- iting behaviors, retailers can encourage customers to reciprocate by sharing their experiences on social media, pro- viding WOM support, etc. Moreover, expressions of gratitude need to be authentic. For instance, re- tailers within the bridal industry might thank customers for giv- ing them the opportunity to be a part of this special time in their customers' lives. In making these changes to the customer experi- ence, retailers are on their way to cultivating gratitude and build- ing reciprocal, long-term customer relationships. R RETAILEXECUTIVE.COM JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 39

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