Food Shopping: What is This Thing Called Customer Service?

May 5 2009 No Commented

Typically, when asked about selecting a primary food retailer, customers tend to focus on non-customer service variables namely, cleanliness, quality, and price. However, whenever customers are asked “what improvements would you like to see in your primary grocery store?” the resounding reply is “better customer service.” However, the issue of what specifically constitutes better customer service has not been the focus of any known reported studies.

In essence, the three most mentioned factors (cleanliness, quality and price) are the “ante” to attract customers. Every food retailer, at a minimum, must offer these attributes. They are necessary, but not sufficient, to positively differentiate one food retailer versus another. However, the growth of food shopping alternatives in the form of super centers, club stores, chain drug stores, limited assortment and dollar stores, Internet, etc. have obviated the traditional food retailer’s cleanliness, quality, and price points of differentiation.

Results from a national research project will highlight the key customer service variables sought by consumers as well as an assessment on how well food retailers are performing on these variables. The study looks at all shoppers as well as perceptions by sex and age. Finally, the presentation will consider several strategic alternatives to adopt a customer service point of differentiation.

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