Waitrose takes customer experience to a new level

Waitrose has demonstrated its commitment to continuous improvement of customer satisfaction by launching a customer experience management (CEM) programme with Empathica, the UK’s leading CEM provider.

Replacing their current mystery shopping initiative, the new programme will be designed to assess the customer experience in Waitrose shops even more closely. The programme will be rolled out to all Waitrose stores across the UK by May 2012, providing Waitrose with feedback from thousands of its customers each month.

“As the economic climate becomes increasingly complex, so too does consumer behaviour,” said Cath Lloyd, Manager, Retail Insight at Waitrose. “Our customers are familiar with a wide variety of shopping experiences and best practice from a variety of sources. It’s important that we continue to exceed consumers’ growing expectations for what the ideal experience looks like.

“Although the mystery shopping programme we’d previously used enabled us to really embed our core service standards throughout the business and achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, we are always striving for even higher standards of customer service. We were looking to partner with someone that would take us to the next level and Empathica, with its broad experience in retail and CEM, has already proved we had made the right choice.

“The Empathica programme provides us with genuine, timely feedback from a wide spectrum of customers per store each month. To date, we have achieved a phenomenal level of feedback from thousands of Waitrose customers. This provides us with robust data about what our customers really want from their shopping experience and informs our ongoing improvement programme across our whole business, including retail operations and Partner development and training.

“The programme has also proven to be hugely motivating and empowering for our Partners, particularly through the specific feedback received by our stores which contain positive survey respondent comments on the excellent service provided by a particular individual. This shows that not only do we appreciate the efforts of our Partners, but so do our customers.”

Andy Felton, a Head of Retail Operations at Waitrose, adds: “I am delighted with the programme and the support we have received from Empathica. The information generated by the programme gives us a keen insight into the satisfaction levels of our customers and they too welcome the opportunity to share their experiences with us. I particularly appreciate the fact that we are using feedback from real customers to score our delivery of customer service and this gives real credibility to our internal measurements.”
“Waitrose is widely regarded as setting the benchmark in terms of customer service so we’re delighted that our trial has successfully demonstrated to them how valuable our CEM programme can be to their entire business,” said Gary Topiol, Managing Director for EMEA at Empathica. “We are confident that our partnership with Waitrose will help them raise the bar even higher with its industry-leading customer experience programme and deliver ongoing business improvements.”

The programme with Empathica was initially trialled in a competitive pilot in 19 Waitrose stores from August 2011. The tremendous success of the pilot has resulted in full roll out across all Waitrose stores in the UK starting in February 2012.

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