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Conversocial tallies consumer complaint social media scorecard for U.S. retailers

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — A new report by social media software maker Conversocial examined the customer service offerings of the 10 most loved and most hated retailers in the United States, and how these retailers are meeting the challenge of delivering great social media experiences for their customers.

“These are real customer service issues and, if not immediately addressed, they won’t be going away any time soon,” stated Joshua March, CEO of Conversocial. “Either these retailers will incur the cost of more customer complaints, or worse yet, they’ll potentially lose a customer. Either way, it’s safe to conclude that customers will increasingly talk about their experience via social media.”

According to the paper, while large retailers are showing an awareness of the challenges posed by social media, reflected in fast average response times, they still are falling short on missing complaints. Missing genuine complaints and questions in posts and comments was quite high and represents a potential pitfall for retailers in the sample. Walmart, the largest retailer in the sample, missed 40% of all customer service inquiries, while Costco, Kmart and Kroger missed 100%. Conversely, Safeway did well, missing only 5% of posts.

Those retailers with a larger volume of complaints — Sears, Walmart and Safeway — were quickest to respond. Safeway was the best retailer in terms of dealing with the full complaint on the wall. While the company still redirected some complaints to a Facebook dedicated email and a Freephone number, a significant number of conversations about customer satisfaction were handled on social media outlets, Conversocial stated.

The companies sampled by Conversocial were based on a list of most loved and hated brands, measured according to positive and negative mentions on social media, in a public study by Amplicate, which collects consumer opinions posted on social media. Conversocial reviewed the retailers’ Facebook pages over a period of five working days from Sept. 15 to 21 to assess how quickly, and how often, those retailers responded to complaints and questions. The company awarded scores of 0 to 5 for each response and took an average for each retailer.

The research, titled "Who’s Ignoring Their Customers?: A Survey Of The Largest U.S. Retailers and Their Use of Social Media," is available here.

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Big Y launches mobile app powered by AisleBuyer

BY Allison Cerra

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A regional supermarket chain is looking to enhance its customers’ shopping experience with the introduction of a new mobile application.

Big Y said that its mobile app — powered by mobile commerce platform provider AisleBuyer’s mShop, which allows shoppers to scan barcodes to view and compare product and nutrition information, access customer reviews and receive personalized coupons and offers — is designed to deliver enhanced customer service and engagement.

Available for iPhone and Android devices, the app offers the following capabilities:

  • Compile shopping lists;

  • Access a digital store locator that features hours, directions and contact information;

  • View localized digital circulars, which provide current sale information and targeted coupons based on the nearest store location;

  • View product details and reviews;

  • Mobile self-checkout, from anywhere in a store; and

  • Digital receipts.

“Big Y has always focused on creating the best possible customer experience for shoppers,” Big Y director of advertising John Schnepp said. “The development of our mobile application brings a new level of service and convenience to our customers by leveraging devices they already take wherever they go. With the Big Y application, we can provide a more personalized experience to every customer that walks into our stores.”

Added AisleBuyer CEO Andrew Paradise, “In the competitive grocery market, Big Y has always been renowned for its commitment to service. By enabling customers to shop using the mobile devices they love, Big Y is delivering best-in-class customer service.”

Big Y currently operates 61 stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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Sam’s Club salutes military members with new membership offering

BY Allison Cerra

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Members of the military can enjoy savings at Sam’s Club with the introduction of a new membership offering.

The retailer said that when military personnel — including those active or retired, their spouses and civilian military employees — join or renew as an advantage member or advantage plus member, the company will provide them with a $15 Sam’s Club gift card to each primary membership.

Proof of military identification is required and the offer cannot be combined with any other membership offers, Sam’s Club noted.

"We’re proud of the opportunity to give back to Veterans since they have given so much to us," Sam’s Club SVP membership Mike Turner said. "As we strive to simplify the holiday season for members in every community we serve, Sam’s Club salutes our military veterans with easier access to quality products and amazing savings."

In related news, Sam’s Club once again is partnering with AMG Medical to give away free Hugo folding canes to military members at all Sam’s Club locations from Wednesday through Friday, while supplies last to both members and nonmembers. To receive this offer, however, proof of military identification is required, the company said.

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