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Customer Experience Management

Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

A friend of mine loves independent coffee shops so much, whenever he moves, he spends weeks and months scoping out the new independent shops around his city, until he finds a few that become his go to place for meetings, getting work done, or just sitting and reading.

He also visits Heine Brothers Coffee whenever he’s here in Louisville, and loves the one on Bardstown and Longest, with the little Carmichael’s Bookstore attached to it.

That got me to thinking about coffee shops using mystery shoppers to determine how well they’re doing, as well as how their competition is doing.

Why not? Restaurants and bars hire mystery shoppers to make sure they’re providing top-notch service to their customers, and I’m sure the big chain coffee shops do it too. So why can’t independent coffee shops?

A latte with a printed image on the foam. Some independent coffee shops have begun using foam printers.Whether you’ve got a small single shop or you own a small chain of 17 stores like our local Heine Bros. Coffee, mystery shoppers can help you find the problem areas you might be missing and to show you the places where you excel.

This is especially important if you own several shops and can’t be there to oversee the quality control on all of the shops. Besides, when the cat’s away, the mice will sometimes play, and they’ll be on their best behavior when the cat’s around. (Translation: People behave well when the boss is there, but you don’t see what’s happening when you’re not.)

Here are a few ways mystery shoppers can help you improve your customer experience.

  • Are your bathrooms clean? You may get busy in a small store, and not realize your bathrooms get filthy after a few hours. Most restaurant mystery shoppers, especially at fast-food restaurants, are asked to make a bathroom check.
  • Do your baristas smile and are they friendly? Again, this is another request of the fast-food customer experience management people — they want their guests to receive a friendly greeting and a smile. If your customers think you don’t want them or appreciate them, they won’t come back.
  • Are your baked goods fresh? Do you have a decent selection, or do you frequently run out of things? Think of mystery shopping as a surprise inspection. Shoppers can come in the morning or afternoon and tell you if you’re running out of your baked goods by lunchtime.
  • Is the coffee good? This is a personal, subjective thing, but there are standards after all. Is the coffee okay? Good? Awesome? You may like it, but you may be surprised to find that some people don’t. And while it may not be a quality issue, it could just be that you’re only serving dark roast, and some people want a medium blend. Or you’re only serving the breakfast blends, and you have customers who want that put-hair-on-your-chest taste. Running a few mystery shoppers through your store will clue you in.
  • Was there a long wait? Most people will stand in line if they know the wait is worth it. But new people might not be willing to wait that long.
  • Is there adequate parking? Some places don’t have enough parking at certain times of day, and people will pass you up rather than drive around the block several times.

You’re probably wondering why you just can’t ask your customers, especially your regulars. Think about some of your regulars, the people you know by name, or at least by order. How do you feel toward them? Probably warm and friendly, right? And they feel the same way about you. They love you, they love your shop. That’s why they keep coming back a few times a week.

And that’s why they won’t tell you the truth!

Would you tell a good friend that you don’t like the way she dresses? Would you tell a good friend that you hate his goatee and think it makes his face look weird?

Of course not. That would be rude. And that’s how your regulars are going to feel about telling you the truth about the tiny things they don’t like about your place. “Kylie doesn’t smile at me very much. I think she doesn’t like me.” “I love your blueberry muffins, but you’re always out by the time I get here.” “Your bathroom smells funny. Like, all the time.”

So don’t ask your regulars to point out your flaws. They’ll either hold back so they don’t hurt their feelings, or they’ll make something up so they don’t feel like they failed you. It’s better to get an objective opinion from several people who don’t have a vested interest in protecting your feelings.

You can work with a mystery shopping agency (don’t tell your staff you’re doing it), have shoppers come in and look at a few different areas (bathroom, smiles, and wait times, for example), and they’ll report all their findings back to you.

With this information in hand, you can figure out which areas you need to improve so you can get more customers to spend more money.

And you can ask mystery shoppers to do the same kind of intelligence gathering on your competition to see if you’re missing anything, or if there’s anything you’re already doing better than they are. (And that’s always a good feeling.)

If you would like to learn more about using mystery shoppers for your own independent coffee shop, please visit our website. You can also speak to one of our restaurant shopping experts to come up with your own unique program.

Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Pro Blog Service, used with permission)

Customer Experience Management

Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

When it comes to competitor research, you have a few options. You could send different staff members into your competitors’ businesses — stores, restaurants, multi-family dwellings — or you could lurk on their social media accounts and see what they’re doing.

Or you could hire mystery shoppers to do some secret competitor research on your behalf.

Normally, mystery shopping is done by a company on that particular company. For example, a wireless store will have mystery shoppers go into their own stores and figure out how things are going. They’ll get a question answered, upgrade their phone or buy a new one, and make sure the month’s promotional signage is in place. Then they’ll report all that back to the mystery shopping agency who shares it with the wireless store client.

You can do this for competitor research as well.

Black Friday shopping at Macy's. Department stores often use competitor research to keep track of each other.Mystery shopping agencies are equipped to send people out on shops, only they will share the data with the client. The difference is, the mystery shopper only knows they have to do a shop on a particular store, they don’t know the client is actually a competitor.

Some of the reasons to do competitor research with mystery shoppers include

  • Seeing how your competitors manage their customer experience strategy.
  • Getting an idea of traffic patterns for similar businesses.
  • Seeing what products and services your competitors are selling, and seeing if they perform better or worse than yours.
  • Learning what kinds of promotions and specials the competition is running.

Is Mystery Shopping for Competitor Research Legal?

Yes, it is. It’s not illegal. There may be some gray areas, if you’re a black and white thinker, but it’s no worse than a pizza executive from one chain ordering pizza from another chain to see how it tastes.

Social media makes it easy to keep track of what other people are doing too. Thanks to Twitter’s List feature, it’s possible to create a private list of all your competitors (that way, they don’t know you’ve added them; they get notified if you add them to a public list). Then you can watch everything they’re promoting and talking about with customers. It’s hardly spying since you’re watching public communications that they’re willing to share with everyone..

Since these kinds of things go on all the time anyway, competitor research is a light, light gray area.

In general, doing competitor research is a sound marketing strategy. Sure, you need to focus on your own core competencies and doing the things you do the best. Train your people so they’re doing their best, make sure your processes and policies are creating top-notch products, and provide excellent customer service. Then work with a mystery shopping agency to check up on everyone so you know you’re all doing your best.

If you can do that, your company will thrive and grow, and your competition will the ones chasing you. But it won’t hurt to do competitor research on them in the meantime, so you can see if they’re copying you and the great work you’re doing.

If you’d like to learn more about doing competitor research, or just mystery shopping your own brand, please contact us and speak to one of our competitor research experts.

Photo credit: Diariocritico de Venezuela (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Customer Experience Management

Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how likely are you to promote us to a friend or colleague?

Have you seen this before? Has this question ever popped up when you’ve placed an online order, received a mobile survey from a store, or even had it appear on an app or piece of software you use?

That’s the Net Promoter Score many retail and B2C businesses use to see what kind of word-of-mouth promotion they can hypothetically earn from their customers. Restaurants, retail stores, car rental companies, insurance companies, and even online merchants all ask that one simple question, which people are likely to answer since it’s “just one.”

Mobile survey in Persian. Every good retailer is worried about their customer experience, no matter where in the world they are.Occasionally there will be one more question, either just a simple “Why?” in the case of a perfect 10, or “What would it take to raise our score by just one point?” if the answer is less than 10.

Mind you, a high score doesn’t actually mean the company will get that kind of promotion and attention, but it at least lets the businesses know if they’re on the right track in making their customers happy.

The Net Promoter Score was originally created by Fred Riechheld and Bain & Company when it was published in a 2003 Harvard Business Review article, “One Number You Need to Grow.” Reichheld said that the Net Promoter Score measures the loyalty between a provider and a consumer.

The scores are divided up into three groups:

  • If a customer gives you a 9 or 10, they’re considered Promoters. They love you and they’ll shout your name from the rooftops, or at least tell their friends about you.
  • If they give you a 7 or 8, they’re considered Passive. They’re just sort of “meh” about you and your product.
  • If they give you a 1 through 6, they’re Detractors. They may not hate you, but they’re emotionally invested in seeing you take a fall.
  • The Net Promoter Score is more than just a mean average of all the scores though, giving you a final number between 1 and 10. It’s a little more complicated. It would be oh-so-easy to just add up all the scores, divide by the number of responses, and come up with a figure.

    But this score was created by an academic, which means it has to be more complicated than that. (Actually, there are very good statistical reasons why it is more complicated than that, but I didn’t want to get into that now.)

    To arrive at your actual Net Promoter Score, should take the percentage of Promoters and subtract the percentage of Detractors (hopefully you have more Promoters than Detractors!), and multiply that remaining number by 100. That’s your official Net Promoter Score.

    (% Promoters – % Detractors) x 100 = Your NPS

    In other words, if you launched your survey and 68% of respondents were Promoters, and 13% were Detractors, your score would be (68% – 13%) x 100 = 55. That’s a very good score, because more than half of your customers are Promoters.

    Generally, if you can get a Net Promoter Score over 30, that’s good. Anything over 50 is great, and anything over 70 is a world-class organization. Not surprisingly, anything negative is bad. In that case, you don’t have a bad survey or a bad marketing department, you have serious problems coursing through your organization like poison.

    Do you need help coming up with your Net Promoter Score? Measure CP can help you find it. We can use mobile surveys and text-based feedback to help you reach your customers and find out how well you’re doing. And if you want to expand beyond your traditional NPS, we can help you with that too. Just visit the Measure CP website and ask to speak with one of our mobile survey experts.

    Photo credit: Merhad77 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    CMOs, if you’re trying to decide between mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys, there are a few key differences to be aware of. While the two different programs can give you an idea of how your brand and your staff are performing, they each fulfill different functions and show you two different sides of the same coin.

    With mystery shopping, you have professional shoppers who are there to assess your strengths and requirements, such as whether your staff is performing a certain function or a particular franchise is displaying your latest promotional items, such as this month’s sandwich special or buy-one-get-one offer.

    The shopper is tasked with entering a business, placing an order, having a meeting, getting a service, etc. They’re also often asked about things like store and bathroom cleanliness, employee friendliness, and so on. They tell you whether your store is meeting your brand standards. You can’t expect your regular customers to know whether that’s happening, mystery shoppers are trained on that.

    With customer satisfaction surveys, you don’t always get an accurate assessment of the data you actually need. Are the bathrooms clean? Did the cashier smile? This may be something you need to know, but you’re asking customers to recall something they may or may not have seen a couple days ago. At least with a mystery shopper, they know whether that’s part of their assessment and will take note of those details.

    Also, the response rates from a customer satisfaction survey can sometimes be random and unreliable. Very often, the response rate on surveys is random and unpredictable, based on the business and even the mood of the customer.

    And that’s another important issue: very often people are more likely to respond to a customer satisfaction survey when they’re unhappy with their experience. That means you could only get a 5% response rate from all of your customers, but what if most of them had something they weren’t happy about? Those responses outweigh the one or two responses from the other 95% who had a wonderful experience, and it looks like you have a staff of incompetents running a store bathed in chaos.

    With mystery shopping, the response rate is going to be as close to 100% as they can get, because that’s what they’ve been hired for. If you want five shoppers to visit a particular store, you’ll get five shoppers to visit that store.

    We don’t want to downplay customer satisfaction surveys though, because they’re equally important.

    For one thing, customer satisfaction surveys give you a lot more data to work with. If you get 500 people through your store per day, and you get just a 1% return rate, that’s still 5 people per day responding, or 1500 responses in 30 days. You can build up quite a picture with 1500 data points.

    For another, it gives you better insights into complaints and deficiencies. While you can’t completely rely on the accuracy of the customer satisfaction survey — remember, it’s probably more skewed toward the negative — you are seeing legitimate complaints. And if they’re happening at a particular time of day, such as the morning shift, you know there’s a problem with the morning shift that needs to be addressed.

    On the third hand, mystery shoppers can only assess so much, and may not be able to spot a problem. One mystery shopper finding one problem may only be an aberration, and not indicative of an actual problem. It’s harder to find patterns with a few mystery shoppers.

    Ultimately, if you want a complete picture of your brand performance, you need both mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys. Mystery shoppers can tell you whether your standards are being met, and your customers will tell you whether they’re happy about it.

    Customer satisfaction surveys can alert you to a problem, but the mystery shopper can investigate and help you figure out why it’s happening.

    Mystery shopping can tell you how your different locations are performing and whether they’re meeting your company’s expectations, but customer satisfaction surveys will tell you about their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their experiences.

    Measure CP can help you combine the insights and results from both programs to get a a holistic picture of how your business is reaching and assisting customers and satisfying their needs. If you would like to learn more, please visit the Measure CP website. You can read more about our services, or you can speak with one of our mystery shopping and customer satisfaction survey experts.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    Thirty years ago, marketers only had two choices when they wanted to understand what their customers liked: complaint cards and mystery shopping. And even then, those selections were so limited and the information gathering techniques were so basic, you couldn’t be sure whether you were getting the most accurate information.

    Let’s start with the complaint cards. With the name alone, we’re already biased toward what that card should be used for: so people can gripe and complain about how they didn’t like something or their experience was terrible. Some people called them comment cards, but no one ever seemed to do anything but complain on them.

    I’m not saying that’s not important or valid, but imagine being a restaurant or store owner, and the only time you ever hear from people is when they want to complain about you. Imagine if Yelp were only for one- and two-star reviews, and that gives you an idea of what restaurant managers must have gone through in the 1970s.

    Nowadays, we have more choices for customer feedback. Not only do we have customer satisfaction surveys (the nicer, more pleasant name for “complaint cards”), but those can be done online rather than filled out in the store or restaurant. Plus, invitations to complete the surveys are usually shared on purchase receipts, although they can be sent via email or text messages. Some restaurants will even promise a free item, such as a free cookie (Subway) or a Buy One, Get One Free sandwich (McDonald’s).

    Speaking of mobile phones, the text survey is one form of mobile feedback. I’ve also seen text messages and emails sent from places where I made purchases on a Square or similar credit card processing app. When my receipt is emailed to me, there is often a survey accompanying it.

    The survey is usually just a question and two options: “How did we do?” followed by a smiley face and a frowny face. Click the option that best reflected your experience, and you will be taken to a website for a short, 4-question survey.

    Another type of mobile feedback is usually given through a business’ app where you can ask customers to fill out a short survey and even upload a photo of their receipt as proof of their purchases. Or you can ask customers to scan a QR code at your business, and have them taken immediately to your mobile feedback site where they can answer your questions.

    Mobile feedback is a regular part of measuring customer satisfaction these days. Gone are the comment cards and “I’d like to speak to a manager” complaints. Now, you can solicit negative and positive feedback from people and get a better idea of what people are happy with and what they don’t like.

    If you’re interested in learning about mobile feedback and customer satisfaction surveys, please visit our website and or contact us and speak to one of our experts about what we can do for you.

    If you’re interested, we have a white paper on the benefits of mobile surveys and mobile feedback that you can peruse at your convenience.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    Technology has certainly sped up the way we do things: the retail supply chain has changed as Amazon has worked to perfect fast fulfillment and two-day shipping. It has changed the way retailers and suppliers exchange information and sell products online. And it has even changed the way products are promoted and shared between shoppers.

    All of this has led to things like the retail omnichannel, the idea that the customer experience is the same in the store as it is in the ecommerce site, as it is on the mobile app, as it is on the packaging from the online order.

    And all of this has led to the redefinition of the “modern customer experience.”

    A recent article by Daniel Bakst says that regardless of how things, the key to delivering a modern customer experience is “by providing the value that brought customers to your brand in the first place.”

    Mobile survey in Persian. Every good retailer is worried about their customer experience, no matter where in the world they are.In other words, don’t lose track of what made you a customer’s favorite in the first place. But at the same time, don’t get complacent. If customers don’t find anything new or exciting, they’ll start looking for new ways to spend their money and find the things that made them excited about your own brand in the first place.

    This means you always need to be focused on the customer experience and make sure this is what your customers want from you. Measure the performance of new products, current products, and even new products available from competitors and new suppliers.

    How can you manage all this? Data collection. As Bakst says:

    If your brand is hoping to start the journey of fostering and executing modernity in its Customer Experience, then data-collection is the first step. Without data, brands are simply making guesses hoping that customers will like it. Before any major investment or change is made, organizational leadership should have a clear idea of what changes need to be made, how these changes will take place, and what kind of effect it will have on the bottom line. Enact Customer Experience measurement programs like mystery shopping and voice of customer feedback surveys to get a clearer understanding of how customers feel about your existing Customer Experience, and what changes can improve upon these feelings.

    We’re a big believer in point-of-sale analytics and paying close attention to your top performing brands and suppliers. But, most retail buyers only have the bandwidth to keep track of their Tier 1 suppliers, and can’t pay as much attention as the Tier 2 suppliers or seasonal items.

    Plus, you have no way of knowing what your customers actually think about your store and brand.

    This is where mystery shopping and the “voice of the customer” feedback helps. A mystery shopping agency can not only help you determine whether your stores and staff are meeting your standards, you can use mobile surveys to keep track of what people buy and then assess their attitudes toward those products.

    With enough surveys, you can get an idea of what customers think of your best performers, information you can’t always get just by analyzing sales data. And with enough mystery shopping reports, you can determine whether your staff and store performance is providing the experience your modern customers expect from you.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    There are plenty of reasons why we’re seeing casual and fast casual chain restaurants go out of business: Millennials are killing them by not eating there. There are too many restaurants and not enough people are supporting them. People are more interested in farm-to-table not boil-in-a-bag. And some restaurants, like Chipotle, are working hard to re-earn their customers’ trust after several food contamination incidents.

    A recent article on, These American Restaurants Are Failing to Attract Customers showed 17 casual and fast casual dining chains that are losing sales, closing up stores, and are seeing a general decline in their overall performance.

    1. Sonic
    2. Ovation Brands (Hometown Buffet, Old Country Buffet)
    3. Noodles and Company
    4. Panera Bread
    5. Outback Steakhouse (Bloomin’ Brands, which owns Outback Steakhours, Carabba’s, and Bonefish Grill)
    6. Subway
    7. Cheesecake Factory
    8. Applebee’s
    9. Chipotle
    10. Chili’s
    11. Buffalo Wild Wings
    12. TGI Friday’s
    13. Domino’s
    14. Shake Shack
    15. Ruby Tuesday
    16. Jack In The Box
    17. Starbucks

    While each brand had its own reasons why it wasn’t doing well — Sonic blamed bad weather, Outback says people are flocking to delivery and take-out, Cheesecake Factory is found primarily in malls and suburbs — it’s hard to say why these particular casual/fast casual dining brands are failing.

    But there are three strategies restaurant brands can use to help boost their sales and increase their customer base.

    And they involve mystery shopping.

    1. Ask your guests what they liked and didn’t like via mobile surveys.

    Don’t rely on anecdotes from customers and don’t spend too much time reading online reviews. Anecdotes may be representative of patterns, but without actual data you can’t be sure. And online reviews are usually only written by complainers or people who love your product. They don’t catch the people who only had a “meh” experience and aren’t motivated to come back.

    But with a 4- or 5-question mobile survey, you can quickly find out what problems your customers had, what they enjoyed, and spot patterns on the national, regional, and city level, as well as identify any problem stores or staff quickly and easily.

    Rather than waiting for a six-month survey to show you why you’ve lost hundreds of customers, you can identify patterns and trends in a matter of days, and fix the problem before it gets worse.

    2. Are your bartenders pouring right

    Outback steakhouse, one of the 17 casual and fast casual dining brands having sales strugglesWe once mystery shopped a high-end restaurant that was losing thousands of dollars every year to help them identify their problem. One thing we found was that their bartenders weren’t using jiggers to measure their drinks, they were counting. They were often (unintentionally) over pouring, giving a little more liquor than a recipe called for. While that doesn’t matter one or two times, imagine losing three drinks out of every bottle of liquor. That starts to add up! Our client was losing a few thousand dollars a month just to overpouring.

    Another thing they were doing is whenever the bartender poured beer from the taps, they would pour off the foam. I’ve seen bartenders fill up half a glass with foam, and keep filling until the foam ran out, sometimes losing one beer’s worth of foam for every two glasses.

    Foam collapses and turns into beer. And all my beer snob friends tell me that the foam is part of the experience, and it enhances the flavor. (I don’t actually know — talk to some beer experts who will tell you why foam dumping is a bad idea for beer.)

    But the bottom line is that your bartenders are dumping one in three beers. If you’re charging $5 per beer, you’re losing hundreds of dollars of inventory because they haven’t been properly trained on beer pouring.

    Mystery shoppers can visit your restaurants, order from the bar, and pay attention to how the bartenders are filling their drinks.

    3. There’s more to loss prevention than just theft.

    How many people turn away because it took too long to be greeted and seated? How long did they have to wait before their server brought water or their food came out?

    While it’s good PR to comp a person’s meal if there are screwups in the kitchen, how many times do you have to do that per day or per week? A mystery shopping program can help you identify where problems may lie with your hostesses, servers, bartenders, and even managers.

    One problem with any kind of management-employee situation is that the employees are often on their best behavior when the boss is around, but they let up on those standards when he or she isn’t. Mystery shoppers can be your eyes and ears in your restaurant, telling you what you can’t see, showing you the problem areas, and helping you find areas to train and retrain your staff so they can better serve your customers.

    By finding problem areas, correcting loss prevention and overpours, and surveying as many of your customers as you can, you can keep your patrons happy, keep them coming back, and possible help reverse the trend that these national chains have been seeing for the last couple of years.

    If you would like to learn more about what mystery shopping can do for your casual or fast casual dining brand, please contact us and ask to speak with one of our mystery shopping experts.

    Photo credit: Mike Mozart (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    We recently published a whitepaper on mobile surveys and mobile feedback, a service we offer here at Measure CP. You can download this free 9-page whitepaper and learn more about the technology that lets you reach your customers and get them to respond to you quickly and more easily than dealing with survey cards and messages printed on receipts.

    In the meantime, here is a sample of our whitepaper: the first chapter. Enjoy!

    Chapter 1: Overview Mobile Surveys and Mobile Feedback

    Using mobile feedback as a customer experience management tool can give you the upper-hand on your competitors, many of which still rely on traditional methods of measuring a consumer’s perspective. Some of these traditional methods include handing out satisfaction cards at the end of a meal, store visit or purchase, or asking the person to complete a telephone survey by calling a phone number listed on his or her receipts. These methods may have been an adequate means of measuring the consumer perspective in the past, however, mobile technology has taken over and these methods are becoming antiquated.

    With mobile feedback, a customer survey can be given upon his or her request so they do not feel spammed. A customer can request a mobile feedback survey by scanning a QR code or by texting a code to a specific number. The mobile surveys can be as short, or as long as necessary to gather the requested feedback about your business. Most mobile feedback surveys, however, are typically no longer than four questions.

    The benefits of Mobile Surveys and Mobile Feedback are abundant:

    • Your customers will feel connected to your business
    • You have the opportunity to show customers results before they leave your location
    • You receive immediate feedback while the customer is still at your location
    • Mobile feedback is a quick and easy process for the customer

    You can download the entire whitepaper and read it at your convenience. Then, if you have any questions, feel free to call us and our staff of trained mystery shopping experts will be happy to help.


    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    We published a couple of videos on mobile feedback for mystery shopping and brand audits a few years ago. While the technology may have changed — mobile phones have better cameras, you can slip them in your pockets, and we’ve even got some video spyglasses we use on some of our shops — the principles are still the same: mobile feedback is a great way to get immediate, real-time feedback from your customers.

    Mobile feedback survey in Persian. Every good retailer is worried about their customer experience, no matter where in the world they are.You can send them a text survey as they pay their bill, and give them two or three very short questions, as well as a chance to leave comments. Your customers can take photos, respond to surveys, and even leave voice comments. It’s even a good way to get someone to make a complaint that you’ll hear directly, rather than expending most of their angry energy on Yelp or Google Reviews.

    When we first developed the mobile feedback program, smartphones were just starting to enter the market, and a lot of people were still using flip phones or “dumb phones.” But the newer technology lets them do so much more.

    To learn more about mobile feedback and what it can do for your business, please contact us to request a quote or to speak with one of our mystery shopping sales professionals.

    Photo credit: Merhad77 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    It’s finally here—2017! We’re excited about the New Year and our clients are optimistic, too. With consumer confidence rising and businesses expanding their toolkits to streamline processes and digitize, one thing remains critical across industries, customer experience. As hospitality reservations increase, so too does consumer goods spending and dining out, meaning more guest and customer touch points requiring observation, evaluation and optimization.

    Survey verbatim across multiple verticals says one thing, how a guest feels is critical to building repeat business and retention is based on positive customer experiences. Guests have many options when dining out, choosing their assisted living partner or which hotel chain they’ll frequent. Capturing guest feedback across various channels ensures you not only identify opportunities but easily remedying issues and documenting them digitally helps improve efficiencies, meaning spending time optimizing the guest experience.

    Inspect what you expect. If you have high expectations and deliverables for your clients, are you measuring what’s expected of your team? Are you able to objectively capture the guest experience from beginning until end? Most top brands know it’s critical to look at what’s under the microscope and observe the guest experience, organically.  How your brand or company measures guest interactions is unique to your experience. By identifying and replicating best practices, you can ensure your customer experience meets the demanding and ever-changing preferences of consumers.

    With an energized economy and fierce competition growing across market segments, 2017 is the optimal time to begin peeling back the onion and determining if your brand experience will meet consumer expectations. Beyond the front-line engagement, what other opportunities and savings might you identify?  What training improvement will arise? Or what best practice will transform your business into a customer-centric powerhouse?  You can take action and learn by leveraging survey and data collection tools and analyzing results.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    Some business owners think customer loyalty is only earned through offering repeat business programs like loyalty cards, and offering regular specials and coupons.

    Customer loyalty can actually be earned through providing excellent customer service, and making sure customers are pleased with the service they are getting.

    That is why mystery shopping can play a much bigger role in establishing customer loyalty for restaurants and stores: because mystery shopping can help management learn where they have shortcomings and problems, and provide staff feedback and training to help them overcome those problems.

    customer loyalty

    English: Different customer loyality cards (airlines, car rental companies, hotels etc.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    With mystery shopping, management can get unbiased, objective feedback on those areas that concern them the most. Whether it is the amount of time customers have to wait before they receive help and attention, the taste of the food, the cleanliness of the facilities, or the favorability of the programs and specials, all of these areas can affect customer loyalty and satisfaction.

    Mystery shopping helps with customer loyalty, because it shows management just what people are thinking when they visit that establishment. What typically happens is when managers watch the staff to make sure they are doing everything right, the staff does everything perfectly. But their standards may slip when they know no one is watching them. Mystery shopping lets managers watch the staff without being onsite.

    It also helps them better train the staff to avoid problems that might drive away customers and hurt customer loyalty. If the staff can fix problems, and avoid screw ups, customers will have a better experience, and will be more likely to return.

    Finally, if staff know they are being mystery shopped, but do not know when it will happen, they are more likely to provide better service at all times. Better service means more customers will be happy. Happy customers will tell their friends, and become evangelists for the business. As they tell more people, they will also have more affinity for it, and will be more likely to return, becoming regulars to the business.

    And as more people visit the business, because of those recommendations, they too will enjoy the benefits of improved service, and can also become raving fans and returning regulars. That is the essence of good customer loyalty.

    Ultimately, mystery shopping becomes more than just a report card for businesses. It is a tool for customer loyalty and customer experience management. Managers who want to improve their customer loyalty programs should consider working with a mystery shopping agency to see how they can improve.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    Customer Experience Management is crucial in order to turn first-time customers into repeat customers, and even loyal fans.

    When a customer’s experience is poor or marked with mistakes and poor quality, he or she is less likely to recommend the business to his or her friends – and every good marketing student knows that word-of-mouth advertising is some of the most effective advertising a business can get. Destroy that and it will destroy a business’ reputation.

    It is not hard to find a business that is mediocre at customer experience management. Many consumers are willing to try a new business, product, or service that offers lower prices than the competition. However, if they have a terrible time, they will not only NOT return, but even warn away everyone they can.

    There are plenty of businesses that succeed with positive customer experience management. If a customer is unhappy with one business, there is always another that is willing to try harder with a better product and service. So the secret to a successful business is not only a good product or service, but effective customer experience management.

    Good customer experience management will often surprise many customers, which is unfortunate, because one would hope it would be the opposite: people would rather be surprised by a poor experience, not a good one.

    Good customer experience management can even save a business money. It is a common business adage that it costs more to attract new customers than it is to keep old ones. It takes advertising and marketing to bring in new customers. It takes specials and coupons. It takes a lot of hard work, all to bring in customers. So it doesn’t make sense to provide poor customer service and turn them away. But many businesses spend a lot of their time and money trying to win new customers, but never pay attention to any customer experience management tactics that can keep those customers coming back.

    But by focusing on good customer experience management, loyal customers will return again and again. They do not have to be enticed with coupons and specials, marketing and advertisements, and other things that cost money. By reducing those marketing costs, it increases the business’ sales margins and profits.

    Finally, a positive customer experience management focus can increase traffic through word-of-mouth marketing. That is, the happier a customer is, the more likely he or she is to tell friends about the great time they had. Their friends will be more interested in trying out the restaurant or store, and traffic will still increase.

    The only cost to the business manager was making sure the customer was happy and had a good time. No expensive newspaper or magazine ads, no radio or TV commercials, and no wasting time and resources putting those things together. By just making sure the business is run well and that people are happy is enough to keep old customers coming back and new people coming in.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    (HOUSTON, TX) — September 10, 2013 — Proactive customer experience management is paramount in today’s competitive landscape. Both B2C and B2B companies have experienced the shift toward customer focused selling, and those driven to succeed are employing customer experience management strategies to both gain and retain business.

    Furthermore, the proliferation of social media has armed consumers with powerful tools for sharing their experiences – good and bad – with a worldwide audience within moments of an impression. Kimberly Nasief, president and founder of Measure CP, a mystery shopping and brand auditing firm, understands first-hand the need for social media to play a key role in customer experience management.

    Kimberly Nasief, CEO and founder of Measure CP, led a panel discussion at a customer experience management forum in Houston

    Kimberly Nasief, CEO and founder of Measure CP

    Nasief moderated a panel discussion at Consero’s Customer Experience Forum guiding B2B and B2C industry leaders through a spirited discussion on the vital task of linking the voice of the customer (VOC) to operations.

    “This forum is a unique opportunity for Fortune 100 to 500 executives to come together to share their strategies and learn from one another in this ever-changing world of new communication mediums,” Nasief said.

    Attendees of the forum, such as those from HEB, Citi, Citrix Systems, Whataburger Restaurants, Buffalo Wild Wings, Nokia, UMB Financial, Texas Capital Bank, 24-Hour Fitness, United Capital Financial Partners, Jaguar Land Rover, Levi Strauss, and eBay, are tasked daily with sifting through endless communication streams to determine what feedback is relevant.  The work starts there.  In actuality, it is what a company does with the feedback that has the ability to serve in a way that reinforces the brand promise.

    “We use valuable programs from Measure CP to document the customer’s view throughout the customer lifecycle, from acquisition to end-of-life, to show the customer experience in real time,” said Jack Roldan, Manager of Customer Experience and CRM for Cricket Communications.  “A dashboard is shared company-wide to bring everyone into the process, because when they are able to view things from the customer’s perspective, service improves.”

    Customer experience management is only starting to emerge as a standard amongst more traditional marketing tools, but those businesses who have an invested effort in early engagement are already realizing huge rewards.

    About Measure CP

    Measure CP helps B2C and B2B companies track and improve the customer experience by combining traditional mystery shopping, online reputation management and brand auditing with the most current technology and social media tools to provide a 3-Dimensional view of a client’s brand and the customer service that defines it. To learn more, visit our website at

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    A mystery shopper can provide crucial pieces of information and insight that you may not be able to obtain any other way, especially in the retail or service industry. If you are not familiar with mystery shopping, the basic premise is that a mystery shopper would use your company’s services just like any other customer – that goes for in-store shopping, website browsing, or even shopping over the phone – and the mystery shopper would then provide feedback on their shopping experience.

    MeasureCP’s mystery shoppers help businesses understand what is happening inside the walls of their own company. Mystery shoppers do what you as a manager cannot do – they “inspect what you expect” and report back on their findings, providing you with unbiased feedback that you may not be able to obtain on your own.

    When management surveys employee behavior, they often get a biased view on customer/employee interactions. That is because employees are always on their best behavior around managers, so it is impossible to see what is happening when management is not close by. Additionally, some customers may be dissatisfied with an aspect of your business or their shopping experience, but speaking with management is not necessarily a comfortable experience for many customers.

    Want to know what your store looks like through your customers' eyes? Hire some mystery shoppers.

    Want to know what your store looks like through your customers’ eyes? Hire a mystery shopper.

    A mystery shopper can solve problems like these by providing a subtle, unbiased perspective of the customer experience provided by your business.

    A mystery shopper plays a crucial role in evaluating your company’s customer service, brand experience, and the overall consumer experience the customers in your business receive. If you find yourself wondering questions such as: Is our staff properly trained to interact professionally with customers? Are our employees acting as our brand ambassadors? – then MeasureCP’s mystery shopper program could be the right solution for your business.

    Measure CP’s  mystery shoppers include traditional in-person mystery shoppers, telephone mystery shoppers, and even website mystery shoppers. The results from our mystery shoppers’ experiences are logged into your client portal, and you can access easy reporting tools that will help you clean up and interpret the data. Plus, MeasureCP’s team of customer service specialists will help you determine next steps, so your data becomes actionable and helps your company hone your customer service skills.

    You may think you understand your customers’ perspectives, but hiring a mystery shopper to gain a deeper understanding of the customer experience at your business may reveal new and useful information. If you need to know what your customers are thinking, a mystery shopper may be the perfect solution for your business.

    Photo credit: Konglimahs (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    Investing in customer experience management can help your business grow its customer base and increase customer loyalty. Customer experience management is the act of using information gathering tools such as surveys, mystery shoppers, text/SMS technology, social media monitoring, and more to gain insight into the customer experience with your brand. These tools essentially work together to ascertain what your customers are thinking and doing in real time, while gathering feedback from customers that can then be used to create improved customer experiences.

    If you are concerned about your company’s customer experience, Measure CP can help.  We work as a third-party firm, specializing in customer experience management and offering solutions for your business.  That way, you can focus on the primary responsibilities of running your business, and Measure CP can use the information gathered to analyze your business, using customer feedback to create lessons your employees can learn and use to improve the customer experience.

    Long lines at a grocery store. This is a good place to focus on customer experience management.That way, you can focus on the primary responsibilities of running your business, and Measure CP can use the information gathered to analyze your business, using customer feedback to create lessons your employees can learn and use to improve the customer experience. Customer experience management will tell you what you need to know right now about the customer experience. Because customer experience management programs are run in real time, you will receive feedback from reports allowing you to immediately react to issues that arise and create resolutions.

    For example, let’s say you own a local grocery store, and your customer service desk receives several complaints that the lines are too long. By studying the customer experience, perhaps with a mystery shopper program and real-time customer surveys, Measure CP can perform an analysis and present alternative solutions.

    Obviously, your customers’ satisfaction is crucial to your company’s success. Working with a customer experience management firm like Measure CP can help your business discover exactly how customers interact with your brand, providing insight into your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. If you closely monitor and analyze the customer experience with your brand, your customers will show you how you can capture their loyalty and grow your business. All you have to do is observe, listen, and respond.

    Customer experience management will tell you what you need to know right now about the customer experience. Because customer experience management programs are run in real time, you will receive feedback from reports allowing you to immediately react to issues that arise and create resolutions.

    For example, let’s say you own a local grocery store, and your customer service desk receives several complaints that the lines are too long. By studying the customer experience, perhaps with a mystery shopper program and real-time customer surveys, Measure CP can perform an analysis and present alternative solutions.

    Obviously, your customers’ satisfaction is crucial to your company’s success. Working with a customer experience management firm like Measure CP can help your business discover exactly how customers interact with your brand, providing insight into your company’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. If you closely monitor and analyze the customer experience with your brand, your customers will show you how you can capture their loyalty and grow your business. All you have to do is observe, listen, and respond.

    Photo credit: David Shankbone (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 3.0)

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    A brand audit can help give you a peace of mind. How is this so? Well, if you are a member of a large company and franchise, be it a clothing store, department store or restaurant chain is it not of critical importance to maintain brand consistency across all stores in each state, even country?

    A mystery shopping agency with brand audit services, like Measure CP, can help you make certain your brand is being portrayed and perceived how you want it to be.

    Measure CP will send in one of its professionals to perform the brand audit.  He or she will evaluate many aspects of your business, in particular, the way in which your brand is positioned and how your clients perceive it.  It is entirely necessary to discover whether or not your brand is being positioned properly so your store can stay on the same page or level as the rest in your franchise.

    Brand AuditWhat makes companies such as Nike, Nordstrom’s, Chipotle or Porsche so successful? In large part, it is their brand.

    People recognize the Nike Swoosh and the Porsche sigil; they trust Nordstrom’s and Chipotle’s customer service and quality.  Their brand is a combination of marketing collateral, a consistent logo and customer service and quality.

    Customers will return to franchises and companies such as these because they trust the brand. They have no doubts as to what they will get when they walk into the doors of one of these companies’ stores.

    A brand audit will help get you that kind of trust and loyalty. Measure CP’s auditors will come to your locations and assess the personality, position, and perception of your brand inside and outside of your store, giving you the needed information to make changes, and bring your business to a position where each customer will learn to trust your brand.

    Keeping a brand consistent will take advertising and marketing a long way, and with a Measure CP brand audit, you’ll be able to identify any problems quickly and easily.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    A brand audit can give a company a clear understanding of what their customers see when they enter a store, visit a website, or interact with a company’s employees. But this is different from a mystery shop, because for one thing, the shopper isn’t secret. They can be out in the open, checking items off on their clipboard or mobile phone, and looking for a company’s strengths and weaknesses in its brand messaging. Here are a few brand audit basics we always look for.

    Measure CP’s audit services give clear insight into how a brand displays to customers by the company’s employees, resellers and franchisees. A brand audit through Measure CP’s program reveals whether a company’s money spent on advertising, marketing and operations is working correctly, out on the streets, to convey the company’s brand in the way it wants to be seen.

    Understand these brand audit basics Instead of taking the time and money to send one of your own employees, why not hire a brand auditor to send into your facilities? Whether your company is in the health and fitness, hospitality and food industry, the hair care, salon and spa category, or the retail and shopping business, you will want to know if your company’s brand is perceived, or not, the way you have planned. A brand audit will give you that capability.

    A trained brand auditor will be sent to your facilities with a checklist for both the front of the house and behind the scenes. The checklists impart an analysis of your business’ marketing and advertising, as well as the operations behind the front desk. Our brand audit services also include compliance audits for regulated businesses, including age compliance related to alcohol and tobacco sales, marketing message compliance and fair housing compliance issues. And our brand package can also include other in-town and online properties in the area.

    Knowing if your store, hotel, salon, gym, or restaurant is branded correctly is critical, but so is knowing if your brand is permeating the world beyond your storefront through proper advertising and marketing. It’s important that your logo and company name are being used correctly inside and outside the house in order to portray your image in the best possible light. Covering these brand audit basics will ensure that everything is running according to the company’s marketing plan.

    You can learn more about our brand auditing services on our website, or you can contact us for more information.

    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    The landscape of customer service is changing these days, especially given the continually growing popularity of instant communication tools like Facebook and Twitter.

    But pressure to be ever present in certain communication spheres means there are also a lot of companies missing the mark on responding to customer service matters. They may not respond to a letter or phone call from a regular customer, for example, but they’ll immediately grease the squeaky wheel of an angry Twitter user who takes to kvetching online.

    You’d think customer service would improve overall with the increased prevalence of social media if a company saw the effect their quick actions and attention could have on customers’ happiness.

    But you’d be wrong.

    Call center — they may use Klout, but shouldn't base their level of service on a Klout score.

    Call center (Photo credit: Walt Jabsco)

    There’s a lot of talk about reaching out to “influencers” now. Many businesses go out of their way to throw events for bloggers, offer special perks to people who might talk them up online, and have the customer service department respond only to their most influential social media followers.

    Klout Should Not Sway Customer Service

    It comes down to Klout versus clout. The biggest mistake here lies in a company mistaking a so-called online “influencer” for someone with true influence in their community. The two are not always correlated.

    Here’s a quick example of why this isn’t always the smartest route: My friend and his wife both have Klout accounts — he has a high score, hers is pretty average — and they recently bought a car together. They had a great experience at the dealership, and both gushed to their networks about how well they were treated. The next weekend, two friends of my friend’s wife headed back to the same dealership and bought brand-new cars.

    But, if the dealership were to only look at Klout scores to decide whether to elevate any complaints up the customer service chain, they would pick the higher Klout score, but end up alienating the person with the higher real-life clout.

    Now, this isn’t a typical outcome, but there’s also no guarantee that someone with a ton of online “influence” will create an outcome like this either.

    The bottom line: Someone with Klout can have no clout in their community, and vice versa. The successful businesses will remember that every customer is important and the customer service department should attend to everyone’s needs equally.

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    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    English: Samsung S5600 mobile phone.

    English: Samsung S5600 mobile phone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Using mobile feedback as a marketing and customer experience management tool gives business owners an edge on those owners that are still relying on satisfaction cards handed out at the end of a meal or visit to a store, or worse, not measuring customer satisfaction at all.

    Mobile feedback gives business owners immediate feedback, because customers receive surveys on their mobile phones as soon as they request them (they can be requested by texting a short code to a specific number). These surveys are typically four questions long, and recipients usually answer them as soon as they receive them.

    This does three things for the business owner: First, it gives them immediate feedback on each question — no waiting for survey cards to be dropped off. Second, the results are instantly tabulated. Since each survey is calculated by computer, trends can be spotted before they become a serious problem. Third, mobile feedback surveys have a higher response rate than survey cards, because people are continually using their phones, so they will think nothing of answering a short survey.

    So what can businesses do with this mobile feedback?

    For one thing, they can identify problem areas. For example, a restaurant’s mobile feedback survey can include data about their server. The manager notices that one server continues to get very high marks, so she puts her on the busiest shifts, knowing she will provide better satisfaction. Meanwhile, she also notices that a veteran server continues to get lower marks, which lowers the customer’s overall satisfaction. She can move him to a less busy shift, provide additional training, or just let him go, since his poor attitude could be a liability to the restaurant.

    Businesses can also focus on a specific area for a short amount of time. A gas station is running a seasonal special, such as a 30% discount on a car wash for every fill-up. A mobile feedback survey can let the gas station manager know about the quality of the car wash, how well received the offer was, and whether people will continue to come back to the gas station as a result.

    Mobile feedback surveys can even help businesses promote themselves. A common question on most mobile feedback surveys is to ask whether a customer would recommend the business to friends, but most businesses fail to take the next step.

    So why not include a question asking them to do that, with a place to give their friend’s mobile number? Text a quick mobile coupon to the friend and a message saying they have been invited by the customer to visit. Businesses can increase their traffic without any additional costs, with the help of their customers.

    Mobile feedback is more than just a customer satisfaction tool. They are used for specific problem areas, like staff friendliness and quality of special offers, as well as additional marketing at a lower cost and better response rate than card surveys.

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    Customer Experience Management

    Hire Mystery Shoppers For Your Independent Coffee Shop

    Sometimes a good customer experience is not worth putting up with the hassle of bad or poorly-behaved customers. Sometimes you’re better off excising a bad customer because of all the damage they can do to your atmosphere, your clientele, and even your brand.

    We’ve all seen some obnoxious people in the past, and the problem only seems to be getting worse. The rise of anger in this country seems to be locked in with the feelings of righteous indignation people have, and one always leads to the expression of the other.

    So it’s pretty bad when you have customers like that in your store. The inclination for most business owners when dealing with an angry customer is to appease them, fix the problem, make it right, and rescue the positive customer experience.

    English: Angry woman.

    English: Angry woman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    But what about when the customer is just a complete jerk, is never happy with any solution, and continues to be a pain in the ass, no matter what you do? Now, they’re bringing down everyone’s customer experience whenever they walk in the door.

    Whether it’s the customer who’s rude to the barista, or the shopper who whines at the retail salesperson, or the diner who yells loudly at the wait staff because the spicy beef they ordered was spicy, you sometimes need to tell the customer that you don’t need the business that badly. They’re making the customer experience unpleasant for everyone else, and by keeping them around, you’re in danger of losing those customers instead.

    Take the customer aside, speak to them quietly, but firmly, and tell them that they will no longer be allowed in your establishment. While it may seem more satisfying to publicly and loudly berate the customer, keep in mind that while the other customers may appreciate it, they may wonder if it will ever happen to them too. And that can cast a pall over the entire customer experience for a good long while.

    For a better customer experience all around, don’t let bad customers or unpleasant customers ruin your atmosphere and the goodwill you have from your better-behaved customers. Eliminate the rude customers and create a more positive environment and customer experience for everyone else.

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