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

Skweal: Customer Satisfaction Survey Application Provides Real Time Feedback!

Posted by March 16, 2011 by blogComments

Many businesses still rely upon comment cards to get a feel for just how satisfied their customers were with the experience; but there is one thing that's lacking with that format - the feedback is not instant.

In today's day and age, immediate feedback is essential. There are consumers who will neglect to say anything in person, but they will instead go home and start posting negative information about your shop on every internet site that they can find.

There's now an application called Skweal that offers a solution. This application allows you to run damage control before they even set foot outside the door. That way, you can still persuade a customer to return and learn what she'd rather see next time she stops by!

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Topics: Customer Satisfaction

How Retail Social Media Use Parallels My Food Industry Summit Talk

Posted by March 12, 2011 by David RichComments

This week I participated in the 5th annual Food Industry Summit with a talk that focused heavily upon social media in retail. In many ways, it can be said that my experience with this talk paralleled effective use of applications like Twitter and Facebook proving that you can apply social media concepts in real life, and that people truly respond to these strategies applied online or offline.

Using Short and Sweet Social Media Communication

It's no secret that the majority of people have limited attention spans. We're all busy and have dozens of things running through our heads at any given time. People want to get the most information in the shortest period of time in order to digest it and act on it.

The fact that there are character limits with many forms of social media communication is one of the reasons that it has become so popular. Individuals have had to learn to get straight to the point, and followers of their social media accounts don't have to devote a whole lot of time or energy in learning from the business. It's simply there, in your face.

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Topics: Customer Experience

A Preview of David Rich's "Social Media in Retail" Presentation

Posted by March 9, 2011 by blogComments

I was fortunate enough to receive a preview of David Rich's material for tomorrow's fifth annual Food Industry Summit and while I'm not going to spoil the suspense entirely, I felt it only fair to share a little bit of a teaser with you as well. If you attend the event, you're going to learn a lot about the man behind the business - and even beyond that, you're going to be reminded of the social media fundamentals that are so often forgotten in this industry.

Here are a few points that the talk will cover that you should be prepared to take note of:

  1. Social media is still social - it may say it in the name, but that doesn't mean we always remember what social media is all about. Some businesses focus too much on using it for self-promotion, and that whole personal connection aspect goes out the window.

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Topics: Customer Experience

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