Helping You Make Things Less Complex

Posted by December 13, 2011 by David RichComments

Customer Experience programs come in all shapes and sizes. It can be overwhelming. We at ICC strongly believe in a balance of objective and subjective feedback, a bias for action and a win-win mentality.

What I have been seeing more and more lately are companies who have made things far too complex and in turn, jeopardize the success of their companies and careers.

Here are a few tips I'd like to share:

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Topics: Customer Experience

When Does The Retail Experience End?

Posted by December 8, 2011 by David RichComments

Does the shopping experience at a brick and mortar store end when you are done shopping or when you are done checking out?

For many who live primarily in a digital environment, the experience ends when they are ready to check out. The check out process for them is a necessary evil, one they are defining as more and more unnecessary. They can check out in 1-Click on Amazon.com; why can't they check out in a few minutes at a mall clothing store?

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Topics: Brand Experience

Setting Boundaries In Cafés

Posted by November 7, 2011 by David RichComments

Take a good look at the photo above.

I was walking past this shop on Saturday and realized; I have no idea what they sell.

At first glance, you may say, "they sell bagels" but then when you read a bit more, the badly-hung ad hoc sign in the window says "2 SLICES + SODA CAN $3.75." As the shop is in New York, the implication is 2 slices of pizza.

Wait, what? I thought this was a bagel shop.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Office Depot's DIY Mystery Shopping Adventure

Posted by November 2, 2011 by David RichComments

The most recent HBR ( >Harvard Business Review) features Kevin Peters, president of Office Depot, taking on mystery shopping himself (at first) to drive results. He discovered what most of our clients tell us; Mystery shopping works.

The problem is most companies (and unfortunately sometimes their supplier) don't do it correctly. When they don't get the results they hope for, they end up "throwing out the baby with the bath water."

In summary,
- Office Depot had a mystery shopping program that did not work.
- The president went out the stores and did the job himself.
- Peters found they were not measuring the right things.
- Office Depot is now recalibrating and rolling out to its stores
- Talking directly to his customers in the store yielded information that Peters was not getting through his executives or customer satisfaction survey program.
- Peters wanted to find more ways to find out why people are leaving the store without making a purchase.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Protecting Retailers From The "Flash Rob" Trend

Posted by October 18, 2011 by blogComments

Flash mobs have become a major trend. They've even been featured in Hollywood movies, often with a group of people in a public place breaking out in a choreographed dance. That type of mob scene is all in good fun, but there is a new trend that is far less innocent. In recent months, a number of different retailers have been hit by a phenomenon now referred to as a "flash rob."

It is primarily youth that have been involved in this trend, but they are managing to create chaos. They organize a mob using social media and meet to ambush a store. The sheer number of individuals involved is what makes it so hard to catch the crafty shoplifters in the act.

Are your employees flash rob-aware? Do they know the signs of a flash rob mob forming? Do they know how and when to act? They will only have minutes; maybe seconds to put your plan into place.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Is Alcohol/Cigarette Compliance The Area Where Mystery Shopping Can Be About 'Condemning' Employees?

Posted by October 13, 2011 by blogComments

It has been mentioned before - that stigma that the mystery shopping industry faces that the goal is to catch employees up to no good. In most cases, this is not the real goal. Instead, it is to identify where staff may benefit from further training to improve customer service. There may be one exception to this rule, however, and that's mystery shopping to ensure compliance in alcohol and cigarette distribution.

What Makes Alcohol/Cigarette Compliance Different?

There are certain guidelines that should be followed when providing any type of customer service for the sake of client satisfaction. However, there are also a number of reasons why that isn't the top priority in alcohol/cigarette compliance:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

The Role Of Mystery Shopping In Banking

Posted by October 11, 2011 by blogComments

Whether employees recognize it or not, the financial industry is one where they have substantial responsibility. After all, they are tasked with guarding the investments of and personal finances of their clients. People walking into a bank, for example, have far more to lose from a "poor" customer service experience than someone making a purchase at a retail outlet. A lack of attention to detail by an employee could mean (at least temporary) financial stress for clients.

Mystery shoppers can help in the financial industry too, in order to ensure that the highest level of customer service is being delivered to protect the assets of their clients. It is often a stigma that it is the job of mystery shoppers to catch employees doing something wrong. In the financial world, there might be an even greater perception that this is the goal, because employers can then have grounds to fire individuals that they've suspected of stealing if they are caught in the act. This, however, is not the only thing that can be accomplished.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Learning From a UK Study On The Top Places To Shop

Posted by October 6, 2011 by blogComments

The City of Cambridge, in the UK was recently given the honor of top retail town in the country, according to a mystery shopping initiative. It received an overall average of 90% with a couple of retailers scoring perfectly. The plan is to use the city as a model for the rest of the country in order to improve customer experience across the board. Scores in this ballpark are not only rare in England, they are rare anywhere, and there are a few things that US shops can learn from this study abroad.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

ICC/Decision Services Study Finds Retailers Falling Short On Customer Experience Management

Posted by October 4, 2011 by seoComments

ICC/Decision Services, an international Customer Experience Management firm based in New York City, recently concluded a survey across 381 chain retailers to determine the current state of measuring the customer experience. The study went across channels in the retail vertical, and included, but what was not limited to the apparel, supermarket, specialty, office supply and mass merchant sectors.

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Topics: News

Customer Feedback Surveys: What's In It For Me?

Posted by October 4, 2011 by blogComments

The retail and restaurant industries are entirely service-based. As a result, it is imperative that businesses in these industries receive feedback in order to deliver what their customers want to remain successful. There is, however, one major roadblock. It is difficult to get adequate feedback from customers.

Customers visiting retail and restaurant establishments care primarily about walking out with what they came for. In the case of retail, it is whatever consumer good they were seeking. In the case of restaurant, it is a good meal and a full stomach. If they get their product, they aren't as worried about what happened on the journey to it.

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Topics: Customer Satisfaction