Foodstuffs New Zealand Ltd and Yabble* recently took out the Supreme Award at the 2018 Research Effectiveness Awards for their entry ‘Using Customer Feedback to Drive Continuous Improvement’.

In response to continued disruption and fragmentation from non-traditional competitors such as My Food Bag and e-commerce, the Foodstuffs Insights team set out to take the business on a journey to become even more customer-centric.

Bringing store owners, operational teams, category managers and marketing teams together to focus on driving the best possible customer experience in their stores, Yabble and Foodstuffs designed a comprehensive customer feedback programme to drive continuous improvement in business performance from Executive Leadership teams through to store staff.

Running for more than five years, the programme is about to enter its third iteration, capitalising on new technology to further streamline the data collection process and make the whole experience of feedback easier and more enjoyable for customers.

Kathryn Topp, CEO of Yabble said that the starting point for the Foodstuffs Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) insights programme was ensuring that it was a dynamic, malleable tool that could adapt to changing technologies and customers needs. It also needed to engage not just customers but the business itself.

“The research programme gives every customer an opportunity to feedback after their shop. The results fuel new initiatives in the business including award-winning advertising campaigns, new store format designs, cultural change programmes and more," said Topp.

“To date it has collected more than 380,000 pieces of customer feedback and built a customer community in excess of 80,000 customers, making it one of the most successful, enduring and utilised pieces of research in the Foodstuffs business."

“Foodstuffs had to focus on bettering its in-store experience to ensure future grocery shoppers would see value in visiting our supermarkets," said Emily Blumenthal, Head of Customer Experience Foodstuffs NZ Ltd.

“The programme engages with 183 individual store owners across our two major brands (New World and PAK'nSAVE) and with both the North and South Island co-operatives. A cornerstone of the programme is its ability to track at a high level while growing a community of customers who help the Foodstuffs team to really understand shopper trends, ideate new concepts and help create New Zealand’s best supermarket shopping experience.

“The insights led to the creation of the ‘Fresh Everyday’ communications campaign for New World; a new approach and positioning central to driving our quality and service messaging.”

The team believes that more importantly, the programme has helped adapt the culture of Foodstuffs into a proud customer-led organisation and that the customer satisfaction programme has become the cornerstone of the quarterly customer story used by the Leadership team and reported up to Board level.

“It is also part of the staff induction process designed to ensure every staff member starts work at Foodstuffs with a customer mindset. As shoppers are provided with more choice, the need for delighting in-store and adding value is increasing. Shoppers are continually looking to their supermarkets to make their shopping experience easier and faster at every turn.”

The Customer Satisfaction Programme is the most enduring and utilised piece of research within the Foodstuffs Group. The flexibility to deliver credible operational and strategic insights off the back of one programme makes it incredibly valuable. It has helped bring the customer to the heart of Foodstuffs’ thinking and decision making.

*Yabble was formerly known as The Thinking Studio and completed a name change and rebrand in August 2018. This award submission was entered under its previous entity.