Physical placement affects the customer experience

Posted on February 12, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Customer experience is more than friendly service, clean floors, and well stocked shelves. Retailers are learning from research that customer experience includes the set up of your store.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Education Learns Something New

Posted on February 12, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Retail chains have long been the leaders in utilizing mystery shopping as a means of measuring employee effectiveness and customer satisfaction. Recently, the medical industry has taken note, with some medical systems employing mystery shopping as a way to report on patient care and patient satisfaction.

Now, education is jumping into the mix. As education becomes more customer-oriented, the practice of using mystery shoppers is becoming more common among online and offline colleges who want to measure the quality of the admissions recruiting office. This growing segment of mystery shoppers are paid to "shop" educational institutions, recording their subjective observations about service quality based on a specific set of criteria such as:

"¢ Was the phone answered in three rings?
"¢ Were you asked your name at the start of the conversation?
"¢ Did the representative ask questions to gauge your level of interest?
"¢ Did the representative inquire about your timetable for enrollment?
"¢ How much time elapsed before you received a call back or followup email?
"¢ Were your questions answered sufficiently?
"¢ How friendly and professional were the advisors?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Creating the Best Customer Surveys

Posted on February 11, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

You can measure your customer's experience using several methods. The most popular being customer surveys. The effectiveness of the survey depends on the method of delivery and design of the survey.

Terry Varva and Douglas Pruden of ICC/Decision Services, co authored an incredible white paper on how to get the most from consumer research. The authors start by discussing what makes consumer research different than market research.

"The special regard in which customers or employees hold the survey means the researcher probably should conduct the research somewhat differently than if he or she were contacting consumers at large."

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Topics: Customer Experience

Increased In-Store Marketing Campaigns

Posted on February 10, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Where is your in-store marketing campaign going? Banana Republic is launching a new program with musicians and iTunes. Shoppers will get a free iTunes gift card with participating purchase. Denny's offered free breakfast to celebrate their first Super Bowl commercial. Companies across the board are using in-store marketing to help draw in consumers.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Does your brand make consumer's dance with excitement

Posted on February 9, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Do your customers react positively to your brand? Olivier Blanchard would ask if you are dancing with your customers.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

What's Really Bugging Your Customers

Posted on February 8, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Once upon a time, you could enter a store and expect to be met by a friendly, helpful sales associate. Today, in many cases, you're lucky if you can even find a sales associate to ask a simple question.
In a study conducted by STORES/BIGResearch, 19% of shoppers believe rude employees are at the core of poor customer service. With the next overly-indulged generation of sales associates about to come of age, today's customer service is not likely to improve.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Sprint Extends Customer Loyalty Programs

Posted on February 6, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Sprint continues to invest in making their customer service programs better. The company knows how important it is to create a great customer experience for new and loyal customers.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Technology Customizes In-Store Promotions

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Giant Eagle plans to implement new system to make in-store promotions more effective. The retailer has invested in deploying the Promotional Display Optimization Solution from Galleria Retail Technology Solutions in all stores.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Customer Experience of Retail Therapy

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Every time a consumer opens the newspaper or turns on the TV, news of rising unemployment and struggle economic are beaten into their heads. What's the best feel good therapy? Shopping!

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Topics: Customer Experience

Retail Survival Guide: Keep it hot!

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Yesterday, CNNMoney had an amazing article on what retailers need to do in 2009 to get shoppers in their stores. Author Parija Kavilanz says it boils down to retail basics:

1. Products
2. Price
3. Service

Instead of following suit with the auto industry, whose woes are well published, the article advises retailers to show off. Attract consumers with keeping in-store promotions enticing and consistent. Avoid pulling back in fear of the economy. Instead, focus on what customers want in terms of product variety and competitive pricing.

Retailer's first step is to entice consumers into the store. Don't slash prices excessively, rather focus on exciting in-store promotions that draw consumers in.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Retail: Will Kellogg's brand shape matter?

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

The cereal king announced late January plans to test a new box shape. Battle Creek Enquirer reports Kellogg Co. will be determining if the new box shape takes up lass space on retailer's and consumer's shelves.

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Topics: Brand Experience

Your Survey Is Too Long!

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Have you ever had the experience of going online to order something, only to discover the web site wants to play Twenty Questions before you can complete your transaction? Frustrating, isn't it?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Why consumer's switch brands

Posted on February 3, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Over the holidays I was shopping in Wal-Mart. Passing through the toy section, I noticed Mattel had a beautiful in-store promotion for the Barbie Brand. I was interested in what the promotion involved so I walked over to it. The booth was empty. The person responsible for handling the promotion was not around. I walked away disappointed. The Barbie brand's promotion failed at the most important level - the consumer.

Brand's want to positioned above the competition. You want to build loyal customers and have them pick your brand every time. To do so, a brand implements a strategic marketing plan. A successful marketing strategy encompasses understanding why consumers pick the other brand over yours.

Taken from the book "Loyalty Myths: Hyped Tactics That Will Put You Out of Business - and Proven Tactics That Really Work", co-authored by Terry Varva, here are three reason why consumers switch brands:

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Topics: Brand Experience

Supervalu's New In-Store Program

Posted on January 30, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Minneapolis-based company Supervalu is launching an in-store nutrition program. Reported in Brandweek, the nutrition program will be implemented this year.

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Topics: Brand Experience

High Finance: Three New Trends in Mystery Shopping

Posted on January 29, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments


Financial institutions wishing to ensure compliance with new industry regulations are partly responsible for the growth of the mystery shopping industry. As more regulations are implemented, evaluating employee performance is quickly taking a back seat to regulatory compliance as the most important reason for implementing mystery shopping programs. In fact, three new trends seem to be emerging.

1) Online mystery shopping will continue to grow as more customers access financial products and services via the Internet. A secure and easily navigatable web site is crucial. Comprehensive product and service descriptions, and ease of interacting with bank representatives is also vital to ensure the optimum online customer experience.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Customer Experience Update