ICC/Decision Services’ SMART tool helps retailers track and manage their social media image

Posted by January 8, 2011 by David RichComments

By: Joseph Tarnowski, Progressive Grocer
But just as social media can spread a negative message like wildfire, it can do the same for positive messages, too, and the natural and organic foods retailer leveraged this fact to get back into consumers’ good graces, by posting a note on its Facebook page that explained its position, and then by actually thanking those who provided feedback, and by reassuring consumers that they are priority No. 1.

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Topics: Resources, Articles

Human Sigma: Managing the Employee-Customer Encounter

Posted by January 5, 2011 by myadminComments

The groundbreaking methodology Six Sigma changed the face of manufacturing quality. Now, HumanSigma is poised to do the same for sales and service. In the face of widespread perceptions of abysmal customer service and disengaged employees — and all-too-real declining profit margins — the need for change is obvious. Human Sigma addresses this need with an exciting new method for managing customer-employee relations that increases both productivity and profitability. It incorporates cutting-edge research in the neurosciences and behavioral economics — including brain imaging research into customer’s emotional connections to the companies they love — with proven techniques for improving workforce performance and revenues generated from existing customers.

This practical handbook appeals to senior leaders and line managers alike who are looking for a way to dramatically increase productivity, retain high value customers, and enhance organizational performance.

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Topics: Books

Loyalty Myths: Hyped Strategies That Will Put You Out of Business -- and Proven Tactics That Really Work

Posted by January 5, 2011 by myadminComments

In Loyalty Myths, the authors have assembled 53 of the most common beliefs about customer loyalty – all of them wrong or misconceived! Each of the beliefs in this book is debunked with real-world examples. While other books speak in platitudes; this book is the only one to validate each proposition with real data.

Granted unprecedented access to customer records from a variety of multi-national corporations. Through these records, Ipsos Loyalty was able to precisely track the impact of this customer-centric construct on actual purchasing behavior. The authors’ findings and conclusions will stun business leaders around the world. The lessons learned from these provide a true guide for the proper use of customer loyalty.

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Topics: Books

The Customer Delight Principle : Exceeding Customers' Expectations for Bottom-Line Success

Posted by January 5, 2011 by myadminComments

The Customer Delight Principle shows how customer delight -- not mere satisfaction -- drives repeat purchasing and customer loyalty. The book details how your company can build a customer delight-oriented organization and reveals many of the roadblocks that you are likely to encounter. How to monitor customer delight results, including measurement and validation against revenue, is covered, as is formulating payback curves for a customer delight investment, allocating resources for continued customer delight improvements, and the continued benchmarking of results.

Statistics show that customer satisfaction alone is not enough. Over 60% of customers lost by companies have reported that they were at least "satisfied," in their experience with the company.

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Topics: Books

Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today's Consumer-Driven World

Posted by January 5, 2011 by myadminComments

In June 2006, a man named Vincent Ferrari had a shockingly combative conversation with an AOL sales rep; he recorded it and posted it on YouTube. More than 62,827 viewings later, AOL's reputation was irretrievably damaged. In the digital age, disgruntled customers are now in the driver's seat, argues Blackshaw in this thoughtful and engaging book. With the advent of Consumerist.com and other venues where customers can blow off steam about bad service or deficient products, consumer generated media is a force to be reckoned with. Since consumers trust other consumers above companies or brands, a company's success depends on its credibility and its ability to gain the trust and support of Web-savvy, outspoken and influential customers.

Through remarkable stories of mass consumer advocacy and the power of bloggers and ordinary Joes with an Internet connection and a bone to pick, Blackshaw advises executives on how to build credibility into their businesses through blogs, Web sites and video postings. Informative, energetic and entertaining, this is a marvelous argument for corporate responsibility and accountability, interesting to laypeople and instructive for executives. (July)

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Topics: Books

The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth

Posted by January 5, 2011 by myadminComments

Almost everyone appreciates the importance of customer satisfaction in business, but this book takes that idea to two extremes. First, it claims that customer satisfaction is more important than any business criterion except profits. Second, it argues that customer satisfaction is best measured by one simple question, "Would you recommend this business to a friend?" Pressure for financial performance tempts executives to seek "bad profits," that is, profits obtained at the expense of frustrating or disappointing customers. Such profits inflate short-term financial results, Reichheld writes, but kill longer-term growth.

Only relentless focus on customer satisfaction can generate "good profits." One unambiguous question, with answers delivered promptly, can force organizational change, he claims. Reichheld makes a strong rhetorical case for his ideas, but is weaker on supporting evidence. The negative examples he gives are either well-known failures or generic entities like "monopolies," "cell phone service providers" and "cable companies." When presenting statistics on poor performers, the names are omitted "for obvious reasons."

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Topics: Books

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Toy Category

Posted by December 22, 2010 by myadminComments

In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at over 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. In the toys category our mystery shoppers visited Toys ‘R Us and the toy departments of Target and Walmart.

Toys ‘R Us came out on top, followed by Target and then Walmart. We buy gifts for everyone at the holidays, but who do most of us focus on? Kids if we have them. Toys are a ubiquitous holiday purchase. So why in the world did our secret shoppers find the toy category rating so low on service and sales? What’s wrong with this picture and better yet, what’s the opportunity we see in this?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Sporting Goods Category

Posted by December 20, 2010 by myadminComments

In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. In the Sporting Goods category, The Sports Authority came out just ahead of Dick’s Sporting Goods. As has been true in so many of the results found by our mystery shopping experience this pre-holiday season, the stores were far better at service than sales. We’re seeing missed opportunity yet again. The economy has picked up some and retail sales are expected to be up by more than 2% this year. Why then, do the sporting goods store rate at about 30 out of 100 when it comes to suggesting items to buy to the customers in their stores? We see tremendous potential to increase revenue by teaching employees how to suggest other items and point out special offers and promotions. Whether sales are incentive-based or not, there are simple, polite and gracious ways to turn friendly employees into friendly sales people who drive profits to the retailer by helping customers get exactly what they want.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Specialty Category

Posted by December 17, 2010 by myadminComments

In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. The specialty category is where our Mystery Shoppers found the overall best retailer, most prepared for the holiday season: Yankee Candles is number one. They are followed in this order by: Bath and Body Works, Build-A-Bear and Sephora. Why does Yankee Candle stand out in their category? The ranked high on service and selling, our secret shopper’s results revealed this to be an all too rare combination. Gracious and friendly customer service is a critical part of the customer experience and it absolutely factors in to the overall impression and whether or not the customer will return to the store. When you can combine excellent and friendly service with selling skills that assist customers in buying the things they want or desire but may not be aware of – that’s when you hit the sweet spot of increasing profits. Most customers make buying decisions at the store. Using strategic selling techniques to help them make those buying decisions can result in millions of dollars more in profits, especially during the holiday season when so many more customers are visiting retail stores.

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Topics: Blog

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Office Supply Category

Posted by December 15, 2010 by myadminComments

Our recent survey of 54 brick-and-mortar stores included visits to 30 locations at each chain across the country. Over 1,600 store visits were conducted over the last two months and 10,000 data points collected.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping