Researching the internal customers of a grocery multiple

Working in partnership with the internal team of the Property Services Division of a major UK supermarket group, we conducted a market research exercise to establish the views of key customers of this part of the business.

The objectives of this exercise were to:

  • Assess how satisfied customers were with the services currently provided.
  • Establish what they wanted in the future.
  • Provide a benchmark against which progress could be measured in the future.

The Division did not want to commission a one-off piece of market research from an outside agency, but wanted to use the opportunity to build more effective working relationships with customers.  The way in which the research was conducted would therefore be as important as the content of the research, and so the client opted for face-to-face, in-depth interviews.

The exercise had a significant positive impact on the customer (as measured in a repeat survey later on), and produced specific ideas about ways in which particular areas needed to improve.

The information fed into the vision for the Division - helping to determine where they wanted to be in 5 years' time.  It gave them insight in terms of today's situation and a clearer idea of how the Division was to be driven forward.  This common understanding was then translated into effective action.

Taking Stock

The management team was keen to understand the impact of all this activity on the customers themselves.  Therefore, two years later, a second customer survey was carried out.  The results of the exercise were very encouraging:  The initial survey had flagged up six areas as being most important to customers, and customers revealed that they had seen improvements in every single one of these areas.  In the initial survey, customers had also complained about the attitude and quality of external suppliers.  The second survey showed this to be the single biggest improvement - a credit to the partnering process (which was undertaken as a result of the first survey).

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