There is so much online data available to retailers that it can be overwhelming. Maybe that is why I was a little shocked to see a recent study stating that 52 percent of retailers admitted that they still struggle to identify and engage with their most valuable customers.

More than half? Wow. How can that be when there are so much software and so many analytics packages that can raise this information to the surface and allow marketers to know a lot about customer behavior, buying patterns, demographics and more.

The study, which was primarily focused on brick and mortar retailers was about engaging customers and enhancing customer relationships with clientele, was conducted by Retail Touch Points for Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

But we all know there that in the current marketing landscape retailers can’t fully separate the online and offline worlds because of the advantages of an omni channel strategy and the shift shopping behaviors of customers.

According to the study, 42 percent of store associates know very little, if anything, about their most profitable customers. And about one-quarter of respondents admitted that employees only have only have high-level information on customers such as name, address and past purchases.

Those interactions both positive and negative have a great influence on shoppers and there overall feeling about the brand.

We’ve all experienced a trip to a store we frequent to find store associates that are not knowledgeable about products – some are even totally clueless. Those individuals may not have been trained correctly or empowered with the right product and customer info. Still, I absolutely expect the corporate entity as a whole to understand it’s own products and it’s customers – especially its most valuable and profitable customers.

According to a recent survey by Zebra Technologies, 34 percent of shoppers believe they are better connected to real-time information than sales associates. In addition, 64 percent of shoppers would be willing to purchase more items if they received better customer service.

Other findings:

  • 13 percent of store associates currently have access to customer data to ensure a good in-store experience for customers
  • 36 percent use past purchase history to personalize customer interactions
  • 43 percent use social media for customer service
  • 35 percent send personalized messages and recommendations across all channels

We have a very tried and tested Customer Satisfaction Indexing product, which does a deep dive on customer likes and dislikes, delivers geographic, demographic and psychographic actionable items. And we can go deeper and deliver a very specific Voice of the Customer or  persona identification characteristics allowing retailers to really know who is and who isn’t their customer – which are both important.

This allows the retailer to better target their best customers and improve their online presentation to non-customers or unlikely buyers. In addition, the tools deliver deep understanding on the customer’s user experience and what is going well and what is going wrong with the website, the call center, shipping and more.

But, even though we’ve been pitching this service to our customers for 2+ years, we’ve seen only a little enthusiasm for the product.

In this current climate, there is no excuse for not knowing all you can about your customers –especially your best customers. Because if you are not providing the level of service that comes with being a loyal customer, your customers will go elsewhere.