The Future Of Social Media In Mystery Shopping - MSPA Panel

Posted by July 13, 2011 by David RichComments

On October 18-20, the MSPA will be holding their 13th annual conference in Atlanta, GA. The details are here.

I will be moderating a panel discussing the future of social media in mystery shopping from 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm on Day 2, Wednesday, October 19. The members of the panel are Benj Miller, Eyespeak; Erin Steinbruegge, The Loud Few and Rich Wilson, Big Scary Cranium. It should be a lively discussion.

Leading up to the conference, we will be discussing social media in several blog posts here, so subscribe to our RSS feed in Google Reader (or your favorite reader) if you have not already.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

The Secret Shopper Stigma Revealed By Affordable Care Act

Posted by July 7, 2011 by David RichComments

Last Monday, the New York Times reported the Obama administration plans to use mystery shoppers to assess the state of doctor shortage in the United States. Two days after the story broke, the Department of Health and Human Services said they were halting the research project. The Times cited “criticism from doctors and politicians” as the reason the study was halted, even as the DHHS defended the survey as a way to measure access to primary care with no threat to patient privacy.

As a provider of mystery shopping services, I get a bit anxious every time a story about our industry appears in the press. When words such as “stealth” appears in a headline and mystery shoppers appears in quotes, the media is unwittingly contributing to further degenerating the perception of what mystery shopping is. It's not their fault; our industry itself may be contributing to the mis-perception with titles like "secret shopper."

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Defining Your Brand

Posted by June 27, 2011 by blogComments

Establishing your brand identity is essential - it is what tells customers who you are and it sets the ground for customer expectation. Mystery shopping can help you determine if you're on the right track with the establishment of your brand identity You can make the necessary changes based on this feedback without generating extreme confusion about who you are.

It is important to look at all areas of brand identity and how it is being received by your customers. Ensure that your mystery shopping service focuses upon the following:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Hitting The Mark That Marketing Misses With Mystery Shopping

Posted by June 21, 2011 by blogComments

According to VisionEdge Marketing's 6th annual Marketing Performance Survey, very few marketing programs are as effective as they should be. There were 136 executives and marketing professionals surveyed, and only 17% said their CEO would reward marketing with an A for their efforts.

Here's the reality - the best tools to reach customers and learn how to effectively market to them are more attainable than most would think. You don't need to find the holy grail, because mystery shopping will offer the solution that any business needs. Is there a better way to find out exactly what your customer wants than through direct observation?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

How a Mystery Shopping Service Can Transform Your Staff

Posted by June 14, 2011 by blogComments

There are some employers in the retail industry that see high staff turnaround. Often, this is because they hire young staff and don't bother to invest in comprehensive training. They believe that their employees are dispensable - those that aren't doing a good job can simply be replaced. What they neglect to recognize is that knowledgeable, empowered retail employees are going to take more enjoyment from their jobs and also pass this on to the customer.

There is a bit of a stigma in the retail world - that mystery shopping is used as a spy tactic so that companies can see how badly their employees are screwing up when they're not looking. This just isn't the reality, at least not in companies where the right values are instilled in employees.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Parking Lot Business

Posted by June 13, 2011 by David RichComments

If the corner market is a microcosm of a bigbox retail store, then a parking lot is a petrie dish where the DNA of all business can be examined unencumbered by the trappings of normal corporate life.

In the film, The Parking Lot Movie, directed by Meghan Eckman, we are given almost 90 minutes of raw examination of the nucleus of business; the exchange of goods or services for money.

The Parking Lot Movie follows a select group of parking lot attendants who work at The Corner Parking Lot in Charlottesvile, Virginia. The eccentric brotherhood of attendants consist of grad students, overeducated philosophers, surly artists, middle-age slackers and more.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Dangers Of Using The Same Mystery Shopper

Posted by June 9, 2011 by blogComments

You want to work with one reputable mystery shopping program once you've found the right fit, that is a given. But this is not a rule that applies to each individual mystery shopper. It is easy to be tempted - if you get a useful report, you may feel better sticking to what you know works.

You'd be surprised at the frequency that a repeat mystery shopper is requested. It might be stating the obvious, but here are the reasons why that is a bad idea:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Obtaining Measurable Data With Your Mystery Shopping Survey

Posted by June 2, 2011 by blogComments

Mystery shopping surveys help your mystery shopping service identify the specific data that you would like to obtain. In order to accomplish this, you've got to put pen to paper and draft out some questions. Asking the right questions can make all the difference -- no matter what you will get answers -- but with the right questions, you will get the answers you need.

To help you accomplish this, here are some tips on developing your mystery shopping survey questions:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Can You Mystery Shop Your Way To Overnight Success?

Posted by May 31, 2011 by blogComments

In the perfect world, we could snap our fingers and get whatever we want when we want it. But here in reality, we have to work and wait for those things we want to happen. It is a philosophy to live by in life and in business -- it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to obtain and maintain success. Unfortunately, some businesses seem to think that a mystery shopping company has the ability to bypass the hard work and launch a company in jeopardy to success overnight.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping And Customer Satisfaction Surveys Working Together

Posted by May 26, 2011 by blogComments

You've heard it before - you just can't put all your eggs in one basket - not with any decision you make in life. So, when trying to enhance your level of customer satisfaction and your retail sales, this is a rule that still applies. Mystery shopping works and customer feedback helps; you don't need to rely upon just one strategy.

If you are not yet convinced that this multi-faceted approach is essential for the greatest success, then we'll show you the benefits:

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Topics: Customer Satisfaction