7 Common Customer Complaints in Retail that Cost Businesses Revenue


Keeping your clientele happy is, of course, an important part of building a successful business. To accomplish this, you need to know about the most common customer complaints.

Read on to uncover the seven most common retail customer complaints to avoid.

1. Customer Service Issues in Retail: Long Wait Times

The internet has undoubtedly impacted consumer behavior. Nonetheless, research conducted by Synqera shows that more than two-thirds of Americans would rather browse a store than buy their products online.

Doing so has its drawbacks, though. For example, 73 percent of consumers polled by Synqera said waiting in checkout lines is the number one most common retail customer complaint. This is one of the causes of customer frustration we can all relate to. Nobody likes waiting in line, wasting valuable time when they could be getting on with other business.

Your business can eliminate long customer lines and reduce wait times by implementing an effective queue management system for retail. Doing so will empower your customers to wait where they want – from home, at the office while they finish work, or at a local cafe. Or they can spend that time browsing your store and adding more items to their basket – a win-win!

2. Customer Service Issues in Retail: Inefficient Online-to-Offline Conversion

If consumers know a product they want is available in a nearby store, they might try to save time by purchasing it online for an in-store pickup. Customers who do this expect their purchases to be ready when they arrive; they don’t expect to spend more than a few minutes inside.

These situations often go awry. If the consumers need to wait for a sales associate to help them out, or if their items are not ready upon arrival, they’re going to grow frustrated. In turn, the odds that they return will diminish.

When completing a purchase on your website, customers should receive an accurate pickup time estimate–eliminating one of the most common customer complaints.

3. Customer Service Issues in Retail: A Lack of Personalized Service

The data is clear: a lack of personalized service is among the most significant retail customer complaints.

According to research, retailers missed out on 150 billion dollars of revenue in 2016 by failing to give customers personalized service. Moreover, nearly half (49 percent) of all shoppers would pay more if they received personalized service, and more than one quarter (26.2 percent) of consumers said they value personalized service above all else when shopping in a retail store.

Whenever possible, make an effort to get to know your customers: their names, personalities, and favorite products. Use business intelligence data to recognize loyal shoppers and offer them rewards for their business. Consider establishing loyalty reward programs, which make people far more likely to continue doing business.

4. Customer Service Issues in Retail: A Lack of Product Knowledge

One of the most common customer complaints in retail is a lack of knowledge from store employees. This is easily fixed by ensuring employees are well-versed in the products they need to sell.

If, for example, an entrepreneur is unsure what computer to buy for her business, a thoughtful, knowledgeable sales associate can provide insights that are unique to her situation. A big reason why people take the time to visit brick-and-mortar stores is advice like that, and, according to research from Wharton School of Business, this quality of the customer experience continues to drive sales in the digital age.

5. Customer Service Issues in Retail: Unavailable Sales Associates

Your employees could have a comprehensive knowledge of your products, but if they’re not on the floor, that intelligence is all for naught. All too often, retail customers complain that it’s too difficult to find or approach a sales associate, and this results in more shoppers leaving your store empty-handed.

Sales associates need to be around at all times to answer questions and help customers check out. However, just being on the floor isn’t enough; they need to engage shoppers and always look approachable. Additionally, understanding how to staff an adequate number of employees during peak hours and around holidays is essential.

6. Customer Service Issues in Retail: Uninspiring Store Atmosphere

Another reason people shop in person is for the atmosphere – aka “retail therapy.” The music, lighting, layout, and colors–each an essential part of a store’s ambiance, affects how shoppers feel. One common customer complaint is an atmosphere that doesn’t evoke position emotions.

Based on a study from the International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research, all store atmospheric factors, positive and negative, significantly impact customer approach behaviors. Therefore, when building an environment, prioritize convenience and consider your audience’s interests to create a welcome and inviting shopping experience that gives you a competitive advantage.

7. Customer Service Issues in Retail: Unnecessary Sales Pitches

Almost every consumer enters a store with a general idea of what they want. So it should come as no surprise that retail customer complaints involving unnecessary sales pitches can turn people off.

Indeed, taking up a shopper’s time to inform them about a product they may have no interest in is a guaranteed way to irritate them. You can easily avoid this by communicating in a manner they’re most comfortable with. It’s fair to ask open questions, such as, “Are you looking for something in particular today?” But don’t hassle shoppers when they’re in the zone and peacefully browsing your store.

Once your customer has expressed interest in a particular set of products, steer them towards the best option based on their specific needs. If an upsell opportunity presents itself, that’s great! However, if the customer has clearly decided and is ready to buy, trying to force unwanted products on them is risky — and could cost you their business altogether.

By paying attention to these seven customer service issues in retail, you’ll develop a happy, satisfied consumer following that enjoys spending time and money in your establishment. 

If you think QLess can help your business, request a demo to try it out, or get in touch with any questions you may have.