If we want a stable base of business, we have to be steadily moving toward our customers, giving them more of what they want. Unfortunately, our customers are changing constantly, even moving away from us. By constantly collecting data we can follow them, or replace them, if necessary.
A satisfaction survey is seldom enough, unless we use it to open a dialogue with our customers. Our best bet is to have a customer tracking plan in place. Sort out our best customers, then collect information about them and from them. Compare it to trends in transactions. Are we moving with the market or bucking the trends?
Loyalty360: Hershey Company: Listen to Customers and They Will Guide You Toward Brand Loyalty, 2015-Oct-1, interview of Brian Kavanagh by Jim Tierney
“At Hershey, we have invested significant time synthesizing many different data sources to give us a full picture of what is going on with our brands, category, and the full retail environment,” he explained. “Whether that’s weather data to help us understand how burn bans in the Midwest impacted summer s’mores sales or synthesizing data to find clusters of stores that sell our York brand incredibly well for a targeted product launch. Be clear upfront about the actionable insights you are looking for and create a plan to implement them. Our entire organization has adopted a data-centric mindset, and that’s what it takes to be serious as an organization about using actionable insights. Marketing, supply chain, research & development, innovation, and sales all need to be speaking the same language.”
Hershey’s consumer philosophy is consumer-first. “Our customer or retailer philosophy is always category-first,” Kavanagh said. “We will always do right by our consumer and category. A high tide lifts all sails–this philosophy has proven out for more than 120 years and it’s a value we’ll hold true to.”