3 tips to ensure your Mystery Shopping program success

Posted by April 19, 2011 by blogComments

Too often, businesses make the assumption that installing a mystery shopping program will guarantee increased customer satisfaction and sales growth. In reality, retailers play a large part in the process and bad choices may lead to ineffective results.

Pulling the plug on a mystery shopping program because scores plateau temporarily is one of the most common mistakes retailers make. Ensure you don't fall into this trap.

Below are some some guidelines on what you can do as a retailer to make sure your mystery shopping program works to its maximum benefit.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

Coupons & Promotions: Enhancing Customer Experience at the Cost of Your Business?

Posted by April 14, 2011 by blogComments

In order to be successful in any business, you've got to have limitations on just how far you'll go for your customer. Earlier this week, we focused on how setting certain boundaries can actually improve customer experience. The same applies to the use of promotions and coupons - take it too far to try and please your customer and you will find it comes at the cost of your business. That in no way benefits your clientele.

To recognize why this matters, let's explore what coupons and promotions should accomplish:

  • They create buzz because you're daring to do something exciting or different
  • They create awareness about a new business or new products offered by an established business
  • They increase the number of customer/sales during slow periods

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Topics: Customer Experience

David Rich on Customer Intercepts [VIDEO]

Posted by April 13, 2011 by myadminComments

David Rich, president and CEO of ICCDS, explains Shopper Intercepts in a quick video

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

Demonstrating Why Boundaries Matter for Customer Experience

Posted by April 12, 2011 by blogComments

David Rich's post this week talked on setting boundaries with the level of service you provide and it got me thinking about a few more points on the subject.

One thing you'll notice if you login to the Facebook page of any major retailer is that there is a lot of dissatisfaction being voiced. This is because unhappy people tend to be a little louder than those who are satisfied. In a way, this is a good thing.

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Topics: Customer Experience

What is Mystery Shopping? [VIDEO]

Posted by April 6, 2011 by myadminComments

David Rich, president and CEO of ICCDS, explains Mystery Shopping in a quick video.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Is Social Media an Appropriate Venue to Gauge Customer Experience?

Posted by April 5, 2011 by blogComments

Social media offers retailers a direct connection to consumers. When this connection is present, an open line of communication is formed between a business and their customers. Both can benefit from this relationship, but should there be lines drawn regarding what can appropriately occur on social media? Take assessing customer experience, for example.

Using social media for this purpose can have both pros and cons.

Pros of Using Social Media for Customer Experience Feedback

  • Social media encourages individuals to be open and voice their opinions
  • When one consumer voices an opinion in a public forum, others are apt to jump in
  • Word of mouth created by consumers may cause businesses to share best practices
  • Consumers can ask questions and reach out to consumers and get an assessment from real shoppers
  • When negative experiences are shared, retailers have the opportunity to publicly resolve the issue

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Topics: Customer Experience

Great service is service with boundaries

Posted by April 4, 2011 by David RichComments

The retail mythology world loves to tell this story.

A women goes into Nordstrom to return snow tires and they take them back without a receipt. Right now, you are probably not questioning the "without a receipt" part. But you are probably scratching your head over the snow tire part.

I didn't think Nordstrom sold snow tires

You are right, they don't. But they took them back anyway.

Now, I'm not sure if the story is true or when it began, but this is pretty extraordinary. The snow tires and woman may be fictitious, but the return policy at Nordstrom is true. Stories like this make me feel comfortable that if anything goes wrong with anything I buy at Nordstrom, it will be taken care of without a hassle.

That is what I call service without boundaries. No doubt, it is good for business. But more often than not, these scenarios backfire because most store associates are not empowered to provide service without boundaries.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Working for a Reputable Mystery Shopping Company

Posted by April 1, 2011 by blogComments

Mystery shopping seems like a dream job for many. Getting paid to shop - doesn't get much better, does it?

There is some truth there, but only when you link up with the right mystery shopping company. You hear the bad press on businesses getting taken by the less than reputable mystery shopping firms; but it can happen to those that work for them as well. Before signing on the dotted line to become a mystery shopper, ask the company the following questions:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Foursquare's Evolution and Micro-Check-in Benefit Retailers

Posted by March 24, 2011 by blogComments

To date, Foursquare has offered minimal competition in the world of social networking from an effective marketing standpoint because it has focused more on fun rather than brand awareness. The reality is while it acts as a marketing tool, people get caught up in the frivolous features like its points-driven race for mayor (sadly, a title I've yet to hold).

If you've neglected to use Foursquare in the past, it's time to recognize that it's evolving in a way that may benefit the mystery shopping industry. The main benefit relates to their micro-check-in upgrade. Let's look at specifically what Foursquare is up to and why it matters:

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Topics: Customer Experience

STELLAService™ - Not your father's Mystery Shopping company

Posted by March 22, 2011 by David RichComments

STELLAService™ may not be your father's mystery shopping company, but dad is riding shotgun.

Most online startups approach their venture as something that will change the world, screaming out of the gate at full-speed down the track while promising to bury the old guys and the old ways. But the smart guys at STELLAService™ approached things just a little bit differently. They realized consumers don't have a purely online or offline experience with retailers but rather, meld the two together into a seemless experience.

Their product was also very different than other online "rating" systems for retailers. Mystery shopping is all about the quantitative elements of the shopping experience -- was it shipped on time, was it in stock when promised, did the product look like the photo, did the return process work as advertised -- the types of things that can be measured. All of the other online systems were measuring how consumers felt about the experience, not measuring what actually happened.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping