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Survey: Only One in Five Consumers Feel Quick-Serve Restaurants Successfully Use Technologies that Enhance Their Experience

The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey shows casual dining and fine dining establishments rank even lower, at 16% and 10%, respectively.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada – March 24, 2011 - Empathica Inc., a leading provider of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to more than 200 of the world's most respected brands, today announced a consumer ranking of industries in their adoption of technology to enhance the customer experience. The data was compiled from the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey that polled 11,000 North American consumers.

On an industry level, at the top of the ranking, 78% of consumers believe the supermarket and grocery store industry currently uses technology that enhances their experience. However, only one in five consumers felt quick serve restaurants were successful in doing so, while furniture/ house ware stores and bars/taverns were ranked last on the list.

Other industries rank as follows:

Percentage of consumers who feel the industry as a whole successfully leverages technology to provide a better customer experience

  1. Supermarkets/Grocery Stores (78%)
  2. Gas Stations (60%)
  3. Airlines (37%)
  4. Pharmacies (34%)
  5. Electronic Stores (33%)
  6. Entertainment Venues (32%)
  7. Hotels/Motels (27%)
  8. Department Stores (26%)
  9. Discount Stores/Warehouse Clubs (22%)
  10. Quick Service/Fast Food Restaurants (20%)
  11. Clothing (18%)
  12. Casual Dining (16%)
  13. Convenience Stores (15%); Hardware/Home Improvement (15%)
  14. Auto Parts Stores (12%)
  15. Fine Dining Restaurants (10%)
  16. Bars/Taverns (7%)
  17. Furniture Stores (6%)

“While in-store, mobile and social technologies are still emerging, it’s interesting to see consumer perception for which industries are starting to leverage tools in a way that gives consumers a better overall experience,” said Gary Edwards, Chief Customer Officer at Empathica. “Consumers are starting to express a willingness to embrace some of these tools, such as check-out technologies that save them time. Brands should be cognizant of the ways in which emerging technologies can be utilized to enhance their customer experience. For those that are able to introduce new technologies to provide a better in-store experience for their customers, there appears to be a positive word of mouth marketing benefit to brands.”

According to the survey, of those who have tried a new retail technology, 40% indicate that they recommended that retailer to friends and family as a direct result of trying the technology. Interestingly, of those who said they had not experienced a new technology, 18% still recommended the brand based on noting that the technology was offered.

Preference for Contact Via Mobile Devices

The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey also looked at the frequency that consumers wanted to be contacted via various channels, including being sent coupons or offers through their mobile device. For each industry, respondents could select daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly contact, or indicate they never wanted to receive offers, are not sure, or do not use the industry’s services.

Results showed that while consumers were still reluctant to be contacted with mobile offers, many indicated they prefer monthly contact for the majority of services. Weekly notifications ranked higher for staple goods and dining options like grocery (35%), gas stations (22%), casual dining (17%) and quick-serve (16%).

Supermarkets and convenience stores were ranked highest out of all industries for consumers who would like to receive mobile offers on a daily basis, with 8.8% and 8.1% reporting they preferred this contact, respectively. All other industries were at, or below 5%.

For more information about the results of the latest Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey, visit

About the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel:

The Empathica Consumer Insights Panel serves as an authoritative voice on consumer based economic indicators; the retail, financial services and restaurant industries; consumer shopping intentions and customer satisfaction as reported by thousands of consumers in the U.S. and Canada. Results from Empathica’s Consumer Insights, led by Dr. Gary Edwards and Empathica’s Consumer Insights’ team, are published on a quarterly basis. The results are based on outbound Internet surveys with Empathica’s growing Insights Panel, derived from more than 30 million consumer surveys per year. Results have been weighted to reflect latest Census distributions in the U.S. and in Canada, including Region, Gender, Age and Income.

Aforementioned data is reported by the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel – Winter 2010.

About Empathica:
Empathica provides Customer Experience Management programs to more than 200 of the world's leading brands, ranging from multi-unit retailers, to banks and restaurants. Its rich analysis of survey data using state-of-the-art surveying and dashboard reporting software allows for performance-improvement solutions, evidence-based marketing insights, and customer experience management consulting. Annually, Empathica's 30 million customer surveys in 25 languages reach more than 70,000 locations. A privately-held organization, Empathica is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and also has offices in Birmingham, England and Alpharetta, GA, in the United States. For more information about deriving actionable insights that enhance a brand's operational excellence, visit Empathica at

Media Contact:
Lauren Eichmann
Phone: 312-265-3089

Empathica Contact:
Bruce Warren
Phone: 905-542-9001, ext 242

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