Scoring Happy Customers

Are your customers happy? It's the critical question facing many Web retailers, and no one's really found the answer yet. Help though, may be on the way. Online comparison shopping site and marketing analytics and data collection firm Coremetrics have teamed up to help companies get more aligned with customer behavior. Simply put, provides customer feedback data from anonymous point-of-sale surveys, while Coremetrics adds the analytical engine that makes sense of the data. "Until today, retailers were forced to make educated guesses about the impact of customer satisfaction on the bottom line," says Scott Kauffman, president and CEO of Coremetrics. "For the first time, our clients will be able to combine real-time customer feedback with behavioral data to understand how aggregate consumer attitude effects online revenue." The upside for retailers, of course, is developing loyal customers. According to, improving a customer satisfaction score in its system from five to 10 translates into an increase of 80 percent in re-purchase rates. The system is available today; companies must be customers of both service providers, as well as pay a $20,000 annual fee for the integrated service. boasts more than 2,000 merchants, while Coremetrics' customer list includes The Columbia House Company, Grainger, GMAC Insurance, Nortel Networks and Wal-Mart. In addition to, Coremetrics partners with BeFree, which manages affiliate marketing programs for large Web advertisers, to feed its analytical system with data. Coremetrics also offers a data collection service of its own. "We're among the biggest data hogs on the planet," says Kauffman. But it's the quality of data, not quantity, that matters most, says Carrie Johnson, retail analyst at Forrester Research. To this end, Coremetrics scored a big win by striking a deal with "Retailers do exit surveys in their stores and random surveys of customers, but it's really only valuable when you can tie that to an actual purchase, as with BizRate's customer-satisfaction data that's tied to the point of sale," says Johnson, adding that's data coupled with Coremetrics' analytical engine, "hopefully will help retailers prioritize their site and operational fixes." Tom Kaneshige also writes for
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