Listening To You Customer Market Pays Off!

Posted on February 27, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

When Hyundai first announced their promotion of the returnable car, I asked whether or not it would work to boost sales. The promo itself tapped into the true fears and concerns of Americans. There is no other way a company can be more in tune with creating a great customer experience than soothing post-purchase fears.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Customer - driven strategy

Posted on February 26, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Customer feedback takes many forms and what you do with that information is up to the company. Harvard Business Review author Anthony W. Ulwick outlines a strategy on how to use customer feedback to boost your brand innovation.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Five Reasons to Shop Your Own Brand

Posted on February 26, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

More and more promotional dollars are being channeled towards non-traditional media. How do you make sure its money well spent?

If you're among the growing number of marketers shifting ad dollars away from traditional media into the flashier world of experiential marketing (promotions, special events, new media and more), you might want to implement some kind of strategic assessment to make sure those dollars are pulling their weight.

Unlike television and print media, the effectiveness of which can be quantified with through relatively simple metrics, assessing the success of alternative media and promotional events is best evaluated through a strategically deployed mystery shopping program.

1. You get to experience the customer's point of view.
Forget manager's reports or employee assessments. The best way to ascertain the real impact of your brand is through a carefully designed mystery shop. And not just one. Objective mystery shopper reportage from staggered or repeat visits to the same store, series of stores or event(s) will create a crystal clear picture of just where your promo is working "“ and where it's not.

2. You find out what's going right.
It seems counter-intuitive to talk about measuring experience, but that's precisely why it's worth working with an accredited mystery shopping organization. They'll help you establish a measurable set of evaluation criteria along with specific questions designed to create as accurate an assessment as possible. If you're shopping a store, for example, trained mystery shoppers can monitor every aspect of the experience, from merchandising and signage to temperature, background music, even the length of time it takes to be greeted by a sales rep.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping: Does It Cost Too Much?

Posted on February 26, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Is cost keeping you from collecting information that leads to higher conversions? Information programs can cost much less than you'd expect-- in some cases, as little as $35 per store.

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Topics: Blog

Customer Experience: Long-Term customer appeal

Posted on February 25, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

The retail industry is taking a harder look improving their customer experience programs. BNet.com published the American Consumer Satisfaction Index findings from the fourth quarter, to which it appears consumers are having better shopping experiences. The ACSI report also revealed Wal-Mart and Dollar General's customer's satisfaction did not increase with the industry trend.

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Topics: Customer Satisfaction

Customer Experience: Retail's recession fighting tool

Posted on February 23, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

AdAge published a very insightful article on the changing spending habits of consumers. The list includes payment methods, expendable items, and where consumers are shopping. The topic of major interest, is how consumers feel when they shop.

How Are your Consumers Feeling during shopping:
"¢ Self-conscious
"¢ Cynical
"¢ Buying based on research

Retailer's typically cannot change how a consumer pays for their goods, but they can influence how a consumer feels about spending. The research evidence shows consumers are more hesitant to spend, questioning the validity of their purchases, and basing shopping decisions on word of mouth research (primarily via the internet). Organizations who have established and continually improve customer experience can lessen the negative feelings associated with purchases.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Brand Wars: Name brands versus private label.

Posted on February 23, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

In today's economy, the retail industry is seeing consumers engage in two shopping trends. Consumer coupon use is increasing and there is a push to buy store label and generic brands.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Competitive Audits

Posted on February 22, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Further proof that the scope and advantage of mystery shopper programs extends well beyond that of a perfunctory customer service evaluation is their effectiveness as a tool for conducting competitive audits - and for building a body of competitive intelligence that can be used to inform your own product, staffing and service-based decisions as well as long-term strategic development.

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Topics: Compliance Audit

In-Store video promotions used by Tween Brands

Posted on February 20, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

In-store video promotion is a growing trend. Meijers uses video at the point of sale and Betty Mills runs customer testimonials onsite. These are just two examples of the growing trend to use media for in-store promotions. Tween Brands is applying the same tactic but to their niche market.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

P&G ends in-store promotional RFID tags with Wal-Mart

Posted on February 19, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

In-store promotional displays are used in retail centers across the nation. One of the issues brands endure managing promotional displays is accountability. The introduction of RFID tags allowed brands to digitally manage whether or not the displays where set up.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Measuring Progress is a Bottom Line Difference Maker

Posted on February 18, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Clarifying employee expectations and creating reward and incentive schemes go hand in hand with increased sales. That's what measuring company progress can do for you. But it's "how" companies are deploying performance measurement programs that is changing the business landscape today.

Historically, gauging consumer "experiences" has been the primary responsibility of the customer service department.

But in my experience, customer service departments have become little more complaint departments. Or even worse, a place to go for customers to go and replace unwanted merchandise. Let's face it, you can't use the current customer service department model as a way to gauge the health and vibrancy of your company's customer relationships "“ it's an outmoded model that is spread too thin in terms of responsibilities and is not advanced enough to handle all the measurements that need addressing across the company.

Enter the mystery shopper.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Word of Mouth Marketing and Loyalty Programs

Posted on February 17, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Research shows customer loyalty and reward programs foster positive customer experience. New research connects positive word of mouth marketing with the success of your loyalty program. The two go hand in hand.

Why Loyalty Programs?
MediaPost touches on new research that looks at the success rate of loyalty programs from Colloquy Marketing Consultants. The results are impressive:
- Reward program members are 70% more likely to recommend the brand
- 32% of brand purchases are from non reward members
- Reward program members are more likely to engage in word-of-mouth marketing for the brand, including engaging the online space with Web 2.0 (think Twitter and Facebook)

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Topics: Customer Experience

Starbucks: It's the customer experience not the blend

Posted on February 16, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Starbucks is the king of specialty coffee. The brand has maintained a strong presence in light of the economic recession. Which brings up the question: What are consumers drawn to; the coffee or the experience?

Advertising Age reported Starbucks has an interest to expand the brand to include instant coffee. Currently, consumers can grab Starbucks brand off the shelves at the local grocery. The brand's availability at the grocery store doesn't hinder customer appeal to the stores. There must be a strong customer experience at the store which is not recreated at home.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Microsoft brand's store-front approach

Posted on February 16, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Microsoft recently announced plans to launch a line of retail stores. Microsoft has dominated the PC software business for years. Apple is the biggest competitor, who surpasses Microsoft in terms of integrating customer experience with the brand.

Apple's retail stores have been core to their customer experience program. Customers receive one-on-one service with a human tech to help with everything from software, purchases, and repairs. Apple's store setup is well thought out: simplistic, core products displayed, and clean feel which is a part of their branding.

Some experts believe Microsoft has lost "focus on the individual user" while growing their enterprise customers. Microsoft's move to expand it's presence with retail stores is a visible shift in priorities. The question in everyone's mind is whether or not their stores will put them back in touch with the individual user.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Employee Satisfaction = a Good Customer Experience

Posted on February 15, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Ever have a boss you loved to hate? You'd bite your lip when he or she spoke, afraid you might say what you were really thinking. If so, you already understand how employee satisfaction equals the customer experience.

Not long ago, as I shopped at a local discount store, I overheard several employees bashing their boss. Obviously, the ladies did not like their jobs, but they needed the work.

When I asked for help, I received half-hearted service--just enough to get by, nothing more. My customer experience was sorely compromised. Perhaps the boss was difficult to work for. I'll never know because I won't be shopping in that store again.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Customer Experience Update