Mystery Shopping Leads To Better Patient Care

Posted on September 27, 2011 by blogComments

Who said TV can't teach us anything?

If you watched Grey's Anatomy over the past few seasons, then you were probably introduced to their "patient care" dummy, Stan, commanded by the chief in one episode. The goal was to deal with a frustrating patient -- one who wasn't effectively describing his symptoms -- and to provide a diagnosis while keeping the patient calm. It may have just seemed like a learning opportunity turned prank on the show, but it was actually a lesson in how mystery shopping can be used in medicine.

Mystery shopping is most often associated with retail and often takes a creative mind to envision it branching out to other industries. It is not just businesses selling a specific product that can learn from the experiences of their customers; it's any industry that is selling a service that relies on returning customers.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

The Ladders Has a Misstep

Posted on September 21, 2011 by David RichComments

This week, Marc Cenedella, the CEO & Founder of TheLadders.com, announced in a blog post and email that it was expanding to help anyone who was looking for a job or someone to fill a job, regardless of salary level. Previously, TheLadders.com served $100,000 jobs and above.

I think that was a misstep.

TheLadders.com was uniquely positioned from the start to serve exclusive, executive jobs and job seekers. Its brand promise was it would screen each job listing and only accept listings that qualified to be in the $100K range and above. Similarly, its brand promise to recruiters was it would only show them resumes for candidates who were qualified to fill those positions.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Tell Me What Really Happened

Posted on September 2, 2011 by David RichComments

When you call an airline and try to rebook a flight, minutes can seem like hours. When you are calling in advance of a natural disaster while the Weather Channel is spinning apocalyptic predictions and the news ticker is scrolling by saying that the three major airports you can fly into are closing, those minutes can seem like days.

Those perceptions turn into realities that you tell your friends and family. Or maybe you tweet and Yelp! about your experience. You exaggerate the facts. You're human. It happens.

This past weekend there were thousands of airline passengers who experienced this scenario with Hurricane Irene. And many recounted their perceived experience as fact to anyone who would listen.

Except one.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Improving The Perception That Retailers Don't Care About Customer Service

Posted on August 16, 2011 by blogComments

Would it be a surprise to you if I said consumers are critical? Probably not - but you may be thinking "who, me?" According to the Walmart cashier that rang me out this evening, angry customers are available at a dime a dozen, just as they were years ago when I personally worked in retail.

Sometimes, the way customers treat employees is just a reflection of their own bad days. Other times, they're extreme reactions for justified reasons. For example, said Walmart cashier said that customers often get upset at her when a sale item doesn't ring through on sale. When they mention it and act like the cashier should have caught the mistake, she thinks to herself "well how would I know that?"

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Topics: Customer Experience

Mystery Shopping In The Education Sector

Posted on August 3, 2011 by blogComments

It is a myth that the mystery shopping industry caters to retail and retail alone. The reality is that there are more industries that are customer-oriented than just the retail world - including the medical and educational industries.

In the education industry, it is the admissions offices that deal with "customers" on the front lines. These departments are the faces of their institutions. One wrong move and a student may choose to go to another school, and often, it has to due with lack of courtesy from the department. Choosing an educational institution is one of the biggest choices that people will make in their lives, so it is an understatement to say that prospective students may be fickle and sensitive to the behaviors of admissions.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

When Finding a Mystery Shopping Company, It's About Quality Over Quantity

Posted on July 26, 2011 by blogComments

In the secret shopper industry, it would seem that many individuals that look for a mystery shopping company use the quantity of reports offered as a measure of who is right to use. I don't know how many times in history the phrase "it should be about quality over quantity" can be used, but let's throw caution to the wind and try it again here.

Yes, the option of choosing from multiple different reports can be a positive thing. But too much quantity will only backfire. Here's why:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

The Future Of Social Media In Mystery Shopping - MSPA Panel

Posted on 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 on 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 on 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 on 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

Customer Experience Update