Using Social Media to Promote Your Brand

Posted by March 8, 2011 by blogComments

If you're looking for ideas on how to increase your brand awareness on social media, there are a number of ways you can go wrong. Instead of focusing on those, we'll focus on helping you do it the right way! Below we've outlined some suggestions to get you started. You can learn more about the power of social media in retail by reading David Rich's latest post, or you can catch his talk at the 5th Annual Food Industry Summit.

    1. Mention exciting promotions using social media - particularly during tough economic times, consumers are more focused than ever on finding a bargain. Social media takes coupon clipping to all new levels! If you've got a promotion coming up in store or online, post it on Facebook or Twitter. You can even create exclusive coupon codes for individuals that follow you or like your business page. This will keep existing customers in the loop and help draw in all new ones.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

What Do Brands Need From Social Media?

Posted by March 4, 2011 by David RichComments

I will be speaking at the fifth annual Food Industry Summit next week at Saint Joseph's University on using social media for brands and retailers. I wanted to give you a quick glimpse into my presentaion ahead of the conference.

Ultimately, social media is about relevance and respect. Brands want it as well and social media allows them to grab their fair share in a voice that speaks to their customers the way they want to be heard.

That is power.

That is power for the generic cereal that gets relegated to the bottom shelf. That is power to traditionally seasonal products like @BrucesYams that people may forget about except during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. That is power for almost any other brand that struggles to get noticed with one facing in a crowded category.

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Topics: Customer Experience

ICC President & CEO David Rich to Speak at St. Joseph’s Food Industry Summit 2011

Posted by March 4, 2011 by David RichComments

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 4, 2011 David Rich, President & CEO of ICC/Decision Services, will speak at the fifth annual Food Industry Summit next week. This year’s summit theme is “Sales and Profit Growth through Direct Marketing, Social Media, and E-Commerce.” David will address how social media is more than a department or even strategy, but a way in which customers will connect and grow with brands and retailers.

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Topics: News

Actionable Quality Metrics of Mystery Shoppers

Posted by March 1, 2011 by blogComments

If you hire a mystery shopping service that simply decides to point out what went wrong with their experience in your retail store, how far is that really going to get you? As a business owner or manager you may find yourself feeling as though nothing is going right, but you've got no idea how to move forward from there. You need to ensure that the assessment will include actionable quality metrics that can help you make positive changes in the following areas:

  1. What would have created greater sales potential - a mystery shopper can tell you what might have increased their desire to buy your products or services. That could mean pushing a different product with an upsell, for example.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Retail News: Is Apple's 'Secret' Meeting a Marketing Stunt?

Posted by February 26, 2011 by blogComments

Apple has been creating a lot of buzz this past week, with the media reporting that staff members had been asked to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement before a top secret meeting was set to take place. Naturally, the implication is that there's something hugely exciting in the works and it's kept individuals busy with speculation. We're not going to focus upon what Apple has brewing, because we're onto their other scheme - this amazing PR move!

With all the hype, it's clear that this 'top secret' meeting was never kept under wraps, and that may all have been for the sake of publicity. There are few businesses out there that can generate so much interest about an internal administrative process like an NDA signing. However, Apple knows their every move is watched and it's probable that they decided to take advantage of it! This is a unique form of marketing that's brilliant as it avoids direct sales, but still accomplishes a number of goals:

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Topics: Customer Experience

Undercover Boss Brings Exposure to Mystery Shopping

Posted by February 24, 2011 by blogComments

The television show 'Undercover Boss' sheds new light on the mystery shopping industry for those that have never contemplated the benefits of using this type of service. This show takes high ranking executives from major American companies and follows them as they step out of their comfortable offices and get their hands dirty. These executives work alongside entry level employees to get a better feel for what makes their companies tick. The show is entertaining for those that enjoy seeing some of the country's wealthy business people demonstrate a frequent inability to succeed while working in labor-intensive positions. But it offers much more too as it provides a unique look at how mystery shopping works and the benefits it provides.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Choosing a Mystery Shopping Provider: Five Essential Questions

Posted by February 17, 2011 by David RichComments

With literally hundreds of providers eager to help you implement a mystery shopping program, knowing where to begin and what to look for can feel like a mystery in itself. Fortunately, finding the provider that’s right for your and your business comes down to answering five essential questions.

1. What’s Their Track Record?

The increasing recognition that mystery shopping programs can be used as an indispensable tool for increasing revenue and improving service has recently generated a proliferation of fly-by-night providers. And, while many of these providers assuredly offer quality services, researching the history of your potential mystery shopping provider is vital.
To get a read on any potential provider’s track record, here’s what you should consider asking:
Where has the provider been doing business, and for how long? Look for a provider with proof of a six month track record, minimum (obviously, the longer the better!).
Can you contact satisfied customers for a recommendation? In the customer service world where the “customer is king,” be suspicious of any provider who can’t offer such a list.
What qualitative and quantitative data gathering and analysis measures does the provider use? If they can’t clearly outline such measures in the abstract, can they really do it with your actual data?
What they will offer you and how much it will cost? More importantly, how do their rates and services compare with at least one other provider?

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

Mystery Shopping Program Frequency

Posted by February 7, 2011 by David RichComments

One of the Most Frequently Asked Questions that I hear about setting up a mystery shopping program deals with frequency of shops. Should we choose once a day, once a week, once a month, or once a quarter? My answer is always the same: it depends on your program goals and your budget. Let's face it- all retailers want to meet or even exceed their goals, but not all have the budget to support daily or even weekly programs. So while my standard answer to the Most Frequently Asked Question may sound overly broad, it actually based on what I like to call the principle of Maximization vs. Optimization.

Maximization vs. Optimization is based on a very sound mystery shopping formula:

When budgets are limited, it is generally better to shop fewer stores on a more frequent basis than all stores less frequently. You may, for example, decide it is more important to shop your top 30 best-performing stores. Or you may want to establish different frequencies, or rotate your stores and districts. There are an infinite variety of ways to create the program that works best for you, but the bottom line is to remember that there are enough variations possible to allow you to get the most out of your program without sacrificing the crucial data you need to meet your program goals. When it comes down to whether you should conduct your program quarterly, monthly, weekly or daily, there are other factors to consider:

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Ignoring Results of Customer Research

Posted by January 20, 2011 by David RichComments

Many companies use surveys to measure objectives like employee behaviors or brand perceptions. But the data collected is often ignored. So why collect the data if it is not going to be used correctly?

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Topics: Customer Satisfaction

ICC/Decision Services Partners with STELLAService to Launch E-Shops

Posted by January 10, 2011 by David RichComments

Will Provide a Customer Service Benchmarking and Competitive Intelligence Program for Online Retailers

New York, NY (PRWEB) January 10, 2011 -- ICC/Decision Services is proud to announce a new partnership with STELLAService, the authority for measuring and benchmarking online customer service performance. David Rich, President & CEO of ICC/Decision Services, explains: "STELLAService is the most trusted provider of customer service evaluation programs for Internet retailers. The opportunity to team up with STELLAService to deploy the E-Shops business solution, in conjunction with the brick and mortar analysis we already provide to some of the world's most recognized brands, will allow us to offer a genuine 360 degree view of the customer experience to our current and future client base."

Jordy Leiser, CEO and Co-Founder of STELLAService, agrees. "This partnership offers online retailers unique and compelling insight into their online customer service performance while simultaneously benchmarking that performance against their peers. In today's marketplace, the competitive advantage lies with those who continuously evaluate and obsess over the online customer experience. From website features to shipping, delivery, and returns metrics to customer support capabilities and performance, the leaders in e-commerce closely monitor their service proposition and how it stacks up to the competition. Working with ICC/Decision Services to combine our comprehensive approach with its time-tested process of measuring and reporting on customer experience data will enable retailers to gain crucial insight into the quality and consistency of their online service."

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Topics: News