by Brendon Smith, Communications Director
Earlier this year, in May, we asked Co-op customers to fill out our annual survey. (Thank you to the over 2,800 people who did so!) Along with voting on Board members and major initiatives, and filling out customer comments, the survey is another way to let us know in what direction you would like your Co-op to go. What are we doing well and what do we need to work on? You answer our questions and then we work on things you tell us need to be improved, and we check the results of the next survey—did our work have the intended effects?
On page 20, you can see a summary of the survey responses. There were a few we wanted to highlight.
Question number three
Question number three asked what you purchase most often at the Co-op and why; the next question asked what you purchase most often at a different grocery store and why. The answers here were very similar to the answers last year. We pride ourselves on our product quality, especially for organic and local foods, and we continue to work on pricing. Because of our commitment to paying staff a fair wage and paying a fair price to our vendors while giving back to the community, we know that we’ll never be the cheapest source of groceries in the greater Madison area, but we do strive to be in line with or better than other stores when comparing the exact same products.
Question number five
Question number five was a new one for us this year. We added it to help us determine how well we were achieving our Global Ends policy:
Willy Street Grocery Co-op will be at the forefront of a cooperative and just society that:
•has a robust local economy built around equitable relationships;
•nourishes and enriches our community and environment; and
•has a culture of respect, generosity, and authenticity.
It looks like you think we’re doing well overall with all average ratings from 0-10 falling between 8.74 and 9.01. The quality of being “just” was what received the lowest average rating. I know at least two respondents were confused by the word, thinking maybe there was a second word missing: “just...what?” If you were one of the respondents who marked us on the lower end for this quality, please share why! Conversely, the highest rating was for the quality of “nourishing and enriching our community.” Given that we’re a food cooperative, that is great to see!
Customers think our pricing is getting better as well; you can see a comparison between 2017 and 2018 responses to how customers rate our prices on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is extremely unaffordable and 10 is extremely affordable. Last year’s rating was better than the previous year as well, so we seem to be on the right track. We continue to work on pricing, by sourcing better sales, tracking prices of competitors more closely, and buying more strategically to get a better price from our vendors and distributors.
Customer experience pilot project
I should mention, too, that at the end of July we started a new customer experience pilot project. As Anya mentioned in the July General Manager report, we’re working with our partners at National Co-op Grocers to develop a way to get more timely feedback from you. Randomly selected shoppers are receiving a survey invitation printed out at the register (even for Owners who have requested their receipts be emailed to them). The questions asked will be different from our annual survey; they will be tailored to your experience on the day you received your survey invitation. When shoppers complete the survey within three days, they receive a validation code to write on their survey invitation. Then they can use this invitation as a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more on a shopping trip within the next 30 days.
This new method of getting feedback from customers means that we will get much more timely, comprehensive, and statistically accurate information about how we’re doing. It may also allow us to make some changes to our annual survey; we may change the type or number of questions we ask, or even change how frequently we conduct the survey. As we begin to tabulate the results of the ongoing customer experience pilot, we’ll have a better idea of how we can better use the annual survey in the future. Ultimately, this all means that we will be better able to act quickly when we see negative trends (for example, repeated reports of poor customer service in a particular department at a particular store), and to continue positive trends (sharing praise with the staff when a particular department continues to receive high marks). Thanks again for your feedback and your help in making your cooperative better!