Hitting The Mark That Marketing Misses With Mystery Shopping

Posted on June 21, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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 on June 14, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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 on 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 on June 9, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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 on June 2, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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 on May 31, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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

Customer Intercepts and Mystery Shopping Meets Medicine

Posted on May 19, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

Healthcare is a necessary service. Unfortunately, it is also industry that is not known for providing the best customer service. Many healthcare providers believe that regardless of what they do, people are going to come back simply because they have to. The good news is that there are some practices choosing to start looking after their patients, even if the motivations are due to financial incentives.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Combining Mystery Shopping and Customer Feedback

Posted on May 17, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

The best users of mystery shopping programs offer additional methods to capture data that can be used to make necessary improvements. The reason why these different strategies work together to create such a comprehensive program is because they offer a variety of perspectives that -- when combined -- give great insight into the total customer experience. For the most part, mystery shopping programs look at the customer experience from the viewpoint of the customer and that of the store staff.

Mystery shopping
focuses on staff performance -- how well the company executes its operations and customer service objectives based on fact-based observations. Since shoppers are given detailed guidelines in advance on what to look for, mystery shoppers typically visit the store 1 – 4 times each month and focus on quality control, training and incentives. Additionally, Mystery Shoppers are recruited based on demographic profiles that closely match those of a company’s real customers.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Amazon Starts Flash Sale: Late to the Party or Trendsetting?

Posted on May 6, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

We are used to seeing Amazon as a leader in e-commerce. In many ways, it is a bit surprising that they have come so late to the party with the introduction of their own flash sale site, Myhabitat.

But let's not write Amazon off too soon. They've had the chance to see what works and what doesn't by watching other sites like Rue La La, Hautelook and Gilt that started the flash sale trend. Considering Amazon's connections with many major retailers of designer clothing, there is a good chance they might just be in a position to one-up their competition. Or at least attain a strong position as a major player.

Instead of rolling our eyes that Amazon is following a trend rather than setting one, let's look at what Amazon is doing to set themselves apart from others offering something similar.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Aligning the Expectations of Your Customers

Posted on May 4, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

This week, Jon Steinberg of Buzzfeed wrote about the challenges that all businesses face with their consumers and how you can recognize when you're dealing with a customer that is really not a customer. He outlined how those who are true customers with an intent to purchase a product or service will take it or leave what you're offering more or less as it is. Those who have no intent of becoming customers may try to negotiative a different type of offering that's outside of your business structure or they'll walk.

In any business, it can be tempting to give people what they want. After all, if they're coming to you asking for something that you can deliver -- even if it's not what you do -- and you can make a transaction. Every business likes revenue, but you've also got to stick to your core values or you are going to lose your image outright.

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Topics: Customer Experience

QR Code Promotions: A Modern Take on Scratch and Save?

Posted on April 25, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

There is a world of opportunity for retailers looking to get creative in their use of QR codes to generate a little bit of customer interest. However, it would seem that too many have limited themselves to using QR codes like glorified business cards. Individuals that decided to give a code a scan end up landing on a business' social media page, which just isn't a fun use of the technology.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Local Response Aggregates Social Media Posts to Find Your Customers

Posted on April 21, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

Local Response is a new tool that promises to aggregate social media posts to find your customers based on the things they are posting online. It is based on the premise that as a business owner, you just don't have the time to weed through everything yourself to find the right people to reach out to. It compiles all of the necessary data and then identifies the first people you should try and connect with.

It doesn't simply identify those that are mentioning your business by name. It finds people in your local area and looks at interests and routines to determine who might be a captive audience. It takes this data from more than a dozen different social media sites. Once it has identified the individuals your business should be reaching out to, it helps you put together a special offer to hook them.

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Topics: Customer Experience

3 tips to ensure your Mystery Shopping program success

Posted on April 19, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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 on April 14, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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 on April 13, 2011 by Nanette BrownComments

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

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

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