At first Julie Tyler, customer experience & insight manager at Central England Co-op, was sceptical of what a Smiley Terminal could do for a convenience store. The results changed her mind.

Smiley Terminals, manufactured by HappyOrNot, allow customers to answer different questions by pressing smiley and sad-faced buttons. Commonly found in airports, hospitals and restaurants, they are also making their way into retail.

“In convenience, nobody wants to fill out a 10-minute survey for a four minute store visit, so it is a way to get really responsive feedback quickly,” Tyler told Retail Express.

The Co-op retailer has 25 terminals that it moves around its 400 sites. “The technology lets us look at customer service levels at really specific time periods, so we can ask about queue times and then use this to better plan our staffing needs at different times of the day,” she said. 

Tyler said the Central England Co-op also used the devices to correlate customer spending with customer experience, in order to improve customer satisfaction and then drive customer loyalty.

Independent convenience retailers are also looking to deploy the technology in stores. Amrit Singh from H & Jodie’s Nisa Local in Walsall is currently in talks to introduce a HappyOrNot station. “I’d love to know what customers are thinking as they are going around the store, and this is an early step towards it," he told Retail Express.

Both Singh and Tyler believed that just by giving people the opportunity to engage through feedback, customers would have a more positive experience in store. Singh said this was driven by younger customers who he described as an “experiential generation".

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