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Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

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, the principles are still the same: mobile feedback is a great way to get immediate, real-time feedback from your customers.

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. They can take photos, respond to surveys, and even leave voice comments.

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.

Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

Protecting investments comes in many forms. For hospitality and dining, ensuring identification and compliance checks are constantly safeguarding liquor licenses provides continuity in catering to patrons’ needs and hitting sales targets. All too often, establishments serving alcohol fail to recognize that training bartenders and servers with real world scenarios helps prep them for stings and audits, preventing unnecessary fines.

While training programs define company cultures and expectations, those can be difficult for management to observe and verify in high-volume locations or when staffing is light. Even seasoned employees make errors. Having a second set of eyes providing training feedback and giving age compliance insights can help businesses stay compliant with state and federal laws. Utilizing objective outside resources can capture the guest experience and verify compliance.

Instead of only having state alcohol compliance checks alerting you about deficiencies, launching internal age compliance checks provides you with another channel for identifying opportunities before they become penalties. By giving your business a buffer and additional layer of insights, you can identify training gaps and prescribe a remedy before encountering a costly mistake. Having a system in place to verify follow-up, action, and resolution are equally essential and should work in tandem with your program.

In addition to internal alcohol compliance checks, tighten the cork by confirming that measured pours are happening without losses and inventory depletion. While maintaining a liquor license is critical, verifying pour accuracy can prevent unnecessary waste and make sure patrons receive a properly prepared beverage. Over-pouring can add up quickly, resulting in unexpected shrink.

Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

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.

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Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

How much do you know about the customer perspective of your business? If you spend time reading online reviews of your company on Google, Yelp or other websites, you may find some helpful information about what your business does well and what your business does better. But it takes a lot of work to find truly valuable information this way, since the majority of customers do not spend time writing online reviews. And although not all customers write reviews, anyone who visits your business will have a customer perspective that influences whether they’ll continue shopping with you or will go to a competitor.Successful Business People Showing Thumbs Up.

So, what is the customer perspective of your business? For better or for worse, perception is reality when it comes to your company’s customer perspective. There are lots of ways to gather information into what the customer perspective of your business is. Besides gathering online reviews, you could conduct focus groups, or ask customers to fill out paper or online surveys. These methods of researching customer perspective can be beneficial, but they are time consuming to execute. Also, there are many important details to consider regarding how questions are phrased and the timing of when you’re asking customers to share their perspectives. Those details may cause customers to unknowingly give biased feedback if the questions aren’t asked at exactly the right time, right place, and in the right manner.

To get the best picture of your company’s customer perspective, consider using a mystery shopping program. Mystery shopping programs first take time to understand the nuances of your business. To get a truly unbiased look at the customer perspective of your business, a mystery shopping program focuses on what an optimal shopping experience at your business should be like. How should your location look, on both the inside and outside of the storefront? How should employees be dressed, and what should they say to customers? Is the signage at your business clear? Is the layout of your location functional for both employees and customers? Is the speed of customer service what it should be?

A mystery shopping looks at all these qualities, and more. The first step in working with a mystery shopping program is the analysis. The mystery shopping provider will analyze your company’s operations and discovers what the customer experience should be like. Gaining knowledge of what a business owner wishes the customer perspective of the business to be is the best way to set benchmarks for improvement. The second step in working with a mystery shopping program is the actual mystery shopping experience. The program will send certified mystery shoppers into your business who are fully educated on the DNA of your operation. The mystery shoppers will report on how your processes and protocols are being followed, identifying what went well and what could be improved upon. The mystery shopping program mirrors the actual shopping experience, allowing the mystery shoppers to gain an unbiased view of the customer perspective. The third step in working with a certified mystery shopping program is the analysis of results. When you partner with a mystery shopping program, it will be impossible to gain a true picture of the customer perspective of your business if you don’t fully understand the results. Instead of being buried in numbers, make sure you partner with a mystery shopping program who helps you interpret the findings, showing you patterns of behavior and opportunities for growth.

In addition to gaining an honest and unbiased customer perspective of your organization, there are other benefits your business can gain from working with a mystery shopping program. You’ll be able to clearly determine customer satisfaction levels for your organization and can set benchmarks for improving customer perspective. Having a better understanding of the customer’s perspective of your business can also help you increase profits, because you’ll be able to alter the operations of your business in the ways that your customers will appreciate and respond to. You will gain a better understanding of your company’s competitive strengths and weaknesses, and you can identify solutions to problems within your company before they spiral out of control. Mystery shopping also helps you confirm the integrity of your employees, as well as determining if your company procedures and internal controls are effective and are being followed. Because your business likely has limited resources when it comes to training and continuing the education of employees, a mystery shopping program can show you the areas in which you need to focus in order to improve operations and customer service, and thus improve customer perspective. Overall, the real benefit of working with a mystery shopping program is that the results will help you gain a clear picture of the customer perception of your business. Since customer perception affects so many other aspects of your business, knowing the customer perspective can help you improve your business and continue growing your success.

Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

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 Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

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 Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

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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Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

Understanding customer perspective can be the make-it-or-break-it factor in your customer experience management plan. But only if you have the most accurate, truest understanding of the real customer perspective.

Focus groups are not able to completely provide that perspective. While focus groups are effective, and can give market researchers an insight into their customer mindset, they do not always provide the most complete picture.

It has been our experience that there are panelists — professional focus group members, really — who get rewarded, incented, or paid to be a part of a focus group and professional survey taker for large market research companies.

Broadwater Focus Group

This isn’t actually the kind of focus group we’re referring to. We’re sure they’re nice people. Broadwater Focus Group (Photo credit: Nebraska Library Commission)

While focus groups can work, because you can do some demographic slicing and dicing to get people who meet certain profiles, these people are on a panel for a single reason: to get paid.

They get paid for a few hours of their time to sit in a room with other people, and discuss and debate every subtle nuance of a company’s marketing campaign, product offering, or service enhancements, sometimes getting into details that regular customers will never see or consider. This is a skewed version of the customer perspective.

We’re not saying focus groups are bad, but they shouldn’t be the only thing in a market researcher’s arsenal. There’s also social media (you can measure sentiment analysis with social media monitoring tools), mobile feedback and text surveys (hear from the greatest number of actual customers to get the most statistically-accurate customer perspective), and even mystery shopping (get unbiased feedback from people who live the customer perspective, and know what to look for).

If you want to get a clear picture of your customer perspective, focus groups are fine to use, but should not be the only tool in the toolbox There are at least three other viable forms of customer market research that can also give you a glimpse into the minds of your customers. Take full advantage of all of them.

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Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

Mystery shoppers work for a great many service industries and fields. One area where mystery shoppers can provide valuable feedback and information is the airline industry. Airlines are often in need of more feedback beyond regular customer complaints and measuring take off and landing times. Here are a few reasons why airlines should consider working with mystery shoppers on a more regular basis.

1. Mystery Shoppers Can Provide Unbiased Feedback About Staff Performance

Too often, the only time airlines hear from customers is when the customers have a complaint. So the airlines know all too well when people are not happy. But those complaints are not always accurate. People tend to inflate their outrage if they think it will help them get better service, or if they want to hurt an airline’s reputation. And what about all those times people were perfectly happy with their travel, and said nothing?

Mystery shoppers can give an unbiased look at a trip through the eyes of a traveler and let the airlines know what a trip was really like. They can report on flight attendant performance, cleanliness of the facilities, and whether in-flight calls for assistance were answered.

2. Mystery Shoppers Can Check On Competitors

Picture of a TAM Flight Attendant working.

Picture of a TAM Flight Attendant working. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Airlines can check out the competition with the help of mystery shoppers. By working with a mystery shopping agency, they can send shoppers to other airlines to see how they are performing. They can see how the airlines do in different service areas, and either seek to match or even improve on what the competition is doing. This lets airlines remain competitive, while still ensuring their own passengers are satisfied.

3. Mystery Shoppers Can Ensure Airline Staff Follow Proper Procedures

There is an old saying in the mystery shopping industry that “when the cat is away, the mice will play.” In other words, when management is around, the staff is on their best behavior. But a mystery shopper is not known, and so they can gather more accurate information. Are staff doing the appropriate walkthroughs? Are they serving beverages and snacks? Are the pilots providing periodic updates? While the FAA places inspectors on flights to find more of the detailed and industry-specific information, there may be some airline-specific requirements that mystery shoppers are able to observe.

Working with a mystery shopping agency is an important way for airlines to know they are doing the best work possible: they get unbiased feedback, they can see how the competition is doing, and they can ensure that all airline staff are following the company rules and even governmental regulations.

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Customer Service

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The term “consumer experience” is often bandied about like some throwaway management jargon term, quick to be replaced by next season’s “better” term. But, that’s the wrong way to view it. It’s not just a buzzword or nebulous concept that doesn’t actually mean anything. Customer experience is an important piece of your business or marketing plan that you cannot afford to ignore.

Many business owners and managers treat customer experience like a program that they can implement with a single training program. According to a recent study, only 1 percent of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations, and 86 percent of those interviewed admitted they’d actually pay more for a better consumer experience.

The question is, are you part of the very small group of businesses that’s investing in their customers’ experience?

A recent Forbes article by Christine Crandell says the real dilemma comes about when organizations begin to ask themselves which should come first – business strategy or consumer experience?

“Culture drives strategy which drives structure” wrote Crandell. “It is still true today. Consumer experience is a catalyst of transformation. It directly impacts culture, strategy, structure and all parts of a business.”

We couldn’t agree more. Your business’ customer experience management program shouldn’t be an afterthought. Rather, it should go hand-in-hand with every aspect of business planning you do. In other words, it’s the chicken.

Consumer experience management isn’t just a program you launch. It’s not something that sits on the shelf in a 3-ring binder, or gets 30 minutes in the new employees training program. Customer experience management needs to permeate everything you do. It needs to be in the water, to leach into your bones. Your employees need to breathe consumer experience and satisfaction.

If you can make customer experience management part of your total culture, it will drive every strategy you ever create — marketing, accounts payable, logistics — and that will create the structure your company operates under. You’ll be rewarded with loyal customers who bring more loyal customers to you, increasing your bottom line exponentially.

Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

A customer experience management professional may be one of the most valuable, revenue generating employees within an organization, making the position crucial. As many organizations are beginning to realize the value of investing in their customers’ experience, more and more companies are investing heavily in customer experience management plans. In turn, many more business professionals — especially from the marketing and customer service worlds — are being transitioned into the role of customer experience manager.

But what exactly does a customer experience management professional do?

Customer experience is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a brand or organization over time. This includes visiting a website, speaking with a customer service representative, attending a brand-sponsored event, visiting a store, or simply using a company’s product.

How does customer experience management differ from customer service? It is best to think of customer experience management as a hybrid between customer service and marketing. In other words, the goal of customer experience management is not just to keep customers satisfied; rather, it is to make satisfied customers loyal while turning loyal customers into active brand advocates. These advocates, in turn, bring in new customers as they evangelize to their friends and colleagues about the brand. As every business professional knows, a happy customer is one of the most effective forms of advertising, and the ultimate goal of customer experience management is to create active brand advocates.

While a customer service manager will typically react to issues as they arise, the customer experience management professional works proactively to prevent those issues from ever happening, while ensuring that customers are delighted and pleased with every interaction they have with the organization. This involves a lot of future planning and thinking and requires the professional to transcend the typical departmental roles and assignments.

The customer experience management professional works to identify, understand and create a profile of their target customer. This includes basic demographic information, as well as logging customers’ needs, wants and desires. Once customer profiles have been created, the customer experience management professional will analyze every point of contact a customer has with the brand.

Armed with this information, the customer experience manager then works to identify new ways the company can delight their customers at every touch point. This can include anything from customer loyalty programs to added personal touches or convenience features — anything that leaves a lasting impression and encourages the customer to evangelize the company to a friend.

Because this is a relatively new position, qualifications for customer experience management can vary widely depending on the organization. Many in this role have backgrounds in marketing, advertising, public relations, and even customer service. One thing is for certain, the best customer experience managers share a keen insight into the mind of a consumer, and a knack for creating unique, out-of-the-box ideas.

Customer Service

Check Out Our Videos about Mobile Feedback

Mystery shopping can be a beneficial way for airlines to gain objective feedback. Typically, airlines only hear from angry customers when a problem arises. When it comes to air travel, emotions run high. Whether people are flying for business or pleasure, many travelers find air travel to be a stressful experience. Airlines have to go above and beyond to please travelers in order to encourage brand loyalty.

Mystery shopping helps airlines understand their customers' perspective.Many people are familiar with the bad publicity that can occur when an angry traveler takes to social media to complain about their poor experience with an airline. In fact, a simple search on any social network of any major airline carrier’s name will produce a wide variety of consumer complaints being broadcast via the internet. These can be everything from written complaints to traveler’s actual pictures and videos of the problem. While these reviews shouldn’t be discredited, this may not be an accurate picture of what most passengers experience.

While airlines may be very well aware of their most frequent customer complaints — small seats, baggage fees — getting into the mind of the consumer is not as easy. One of the best ways for airlines to gain insight into their customers’ experience is through mystery shopping audits.

Airline mystery shopping is designed to give airline carriers insight into their customers’ experience through an unbiased, objective pair of eyes. Not only is mystery shopping a great way for airline carriers to find out exactly what their passengers experience, and what sort of customer service is being offered, but it allows them to identify strengths and weaknesses, which can help them avoid a future public relations problem.

Furthermore, mystery shopping is a great way to reward exceptional employees, which in itself provides an incentive for other airline employees to treat every customer as a potential mystery shopper. When conducting an airline shop, mystery shopping professionals will evaluate the level of customer service offered by all airline employees they interact with during their flight, including those at the airport as well as in-flight.

Additionally, they will evaluate the look and appearance of the aircraft’s interior, its cleanliness, the restroom facilities, and accessibility for disabled passengers. They can even evaluate the airline’s meal options and service.

The wealth of data received from an airline mystery shopping audit can help airlines determine areas of weakness and strength in their operations; identify how their agents react, and should react, in specific situations such as flight changes or unruly flyers; develop, refine or evaluate a training program; create an incentive program for employees; and, even develop new criteria for management performance and bonuses.

Mystery shopping is a better, more accurate indicator of how airlines are performing, as compared to focus groups, customer surveys, and social media complaints. For an airline looking for key performance indicators, consider working with a mystery shopping agency that can provide national or even international coverage.

Photo credit: Matt Hurst (Flickr, Creative Commons

Customer Service

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Is customer perspective of your company the same as yours? Do you see your business through your eyes, or your customer’s eyes? How can you ascertain what your customers are thinking?

Your customers are talking about you – and these days, they’re using social media to do so. The question is, are you listening? Social media is one of the best ways for businesses and organizations in all industries to gain customer perspective and insight into their business and operations. The customer perspective gained through social media is invaluable to companies when creating customer experience management plans.

The following are a great starting point for those looking to use social media to research customer perspectives:

1. Google

Not only should you be Googling your business, you should do it often. As a business owner, you should be aware of everything that is being said about your business – press, reviews and customer complaints. Set up a Google Alert for your business name. This will automatically deliver new search results directly to your email as they occur, making it easy to follow trends in customer perspectives. Google Alert for Measure CP

2. Online review sites

Whether or not you’ve created a profile on review sites such as Yelp.com, there’s a good chance someone else has – therefore it’s important that you check your reviews often. In addition, you should also be checking out your competitors’ reviews. By checking out the competition, you’ll be able to gain invaluable insight into the customer perspective of your competition, which can help you figure out what your target market wants.

3. Twitter

Even if your business is not on Twitter, you should still be running frequent searches for your business within the site. This will pull up any conversation about your business – in fact, you may be surprised to find that more people are talking about your business than you would expect!

4. Competitor’s pages

Next time you’re online, scope out your competitors’ social media profiles? Look at what’s working and what’s not. Their customers will have great insight that will often align with your business. Look at what their customers are saying and get some great insight into your company’s customer perspective.

Customer Service

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Measure Consumer Perspectives is not only an in-person mystery shopping firm working with onsite retail operations. We also specialize in assessing call centers, internal operations, and other back office functions. We work with both B2B and B2C companies in every function.

A company’s call center team has the power to make or break a company’s reputation. If a customer service agent is unfriendly or ill-informed, a bad experience with a company’s inbound call center can leave customers feeling burned by not just the agent, but by the company as a whole.

Mystery shopping and call grading can help companies create a top notch customer service experience by identifying strengths and improving weaknesses. Call grading is an effective way for companies to gain insight into their customer’s perceptions. Companies of all sizes have hired us to conduct call grading as a means to ensure that when customers contact them, they are left with the best possible impression of their company.

So how does >Measure Consumer Perspectives handle call grading? Before the audit takes place, we work closely with our clients to create a checklist of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) the client deems important to customers’ satisfaction. For example, how long did it take for the call to be answered? Did the customer service agent adhere to their script? Was the problem resolved in a timely manner? Was the problem solved at all, or did the agent hang up to keep their times artificially low.

Once criteria is established, our experienced assessors will grade the calls according to the criteria and adherence to the KPIs, making notes along the way. Once the project is complete, our assessors will produce a thorough report detailing any general observations.

By conducting call grading audits, Measure Consumer Perspectives is able to help companies to identify weak links within their staff. Measure Consumer Perspectives has worked with many companies of every size over the years, and can help your company as well. Call us for call grading for your own call centers.

Customer Service

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The consumer experience at gas stations from decades past are long gone — no more weekend drives or uniformed full-service gas station attendants. Gas stations compete based on prices and other paid service offerings, like a retail convenience store, lottery tickets, soft drinks, and doughnuts.

Many win customers based on proximity to a highway or other major roadway. In fact, many mid to large sized American towns feature intersections with two or more gas stations across the street from each other, each with the same gas price. So what motivates customers to select one gas station over another?

The answer is consumer experience. When given the choice between two gas stations with gasoline of similar quality and price, the customer will always head to the gas station they feel most comfortable at. This means quality customer service, clean, functioning gas pumps, a clean store area, and even product selection inside the store.

In this competitive environment, a good consumer experience management system can help gas stations to stay competitive and ahead of the curve by aiding them in evaluating and improving every aspect of their business. For gas stations, not only does this include customer service, it also includes store layout, product availability, marketing, staff management, and so on.

In addition, a consumer experience plan can help gas stations think of new ways to cater to their customer’s wants and needs – for example, establishing a customer loyalty program or a gourmet coffee offering. In addition, it can help gas station owners to identify their businesses’ unique selling points and discover new ways to help set their gas station apart from the competition. It also helps them identify what their competitors are doing successfully and what they are failing at. They can copy and adapt the good points, and discard the failure points and create their own hybrid of the best consumer experience points from each competitor. This can make the gas station the best of all the competition, which will help attract more customers.

Finally, the consumer experience management can also help gas station owners to evaluate all customer touch points and improve customer satisfaction. A solid consumer experience management plan can also help gas station owners improve their staff management and staff training programs, which in turn positively affects the level of customer service in their store. As staff knows how to deal with different customer situations, they are able to keep customers happy visit after visit.

Many gas station owners hire agencies that specialize in consumer experience management planning and mystery shopping and assessment. These agencies help them to identify areas of improvement and work with their clients to improve all customer touch points, identify new ways to innovate their business, and streamline their operations. With a strong consumer experience management plan, gas stations can gain that important edge over their competition.

Customer Service

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Call grading for call centers may seem like an unlikely way to measure a call center’s effectiveness. But more and more call centers are turning to mystery shopping for call grading inbound call centers.

Almost everyone has had the displeasure of dealing with a difficult customer service associate at an inbound call center at one time or another. Whether they are unfriendly, ill-informed or less than helpful, a poor customer service agent can leave customers feeling burned by not just the agent, but by the company as a whole.

Market research has shown time and again that there is a strong correlation between great customer service and customer loyalty, proving how important a well-trained call center team is to a company’s success. In order for training sessions to be an impactful investment, a company must know first know what their call center employees’ strengths and weaknesses are so they may tailor training sessions accordingly. While most call centers have managers on hand to oversee the performance of customer service agents, nothing is as effective as an objective evaluation performed by an outside party.

One of the most effective ways to garner unbiased feedback about the customer’s perception of their interactions with the call center is through a telephone mystery shopping program. The mystery shopping company will work with the company to create a custom program that includes all of the elements that the business deems most important to their success. During this process, the mystery shopping agency will help tailor the plan to target specific problem areas or specific training issues the business may need to focus on.

Once criteria is established, mystery shopping professionals will begin to shop the call center, posing as actual customers and calling in to place orders or asking specific questions. The secret shopper will evaluate the customer service agent on several Key Performance Indicators such as how long it took for them to reach an agent, how long they had to wait on hold for during the call and how long it took their issue to be resolved.

Call grading is also a powerful tool that helps companies evaluate the level of customer service their call center is providing. As the name implies, the agency will listen to recordings of real customer service transactions in order to evaluate and grade them according to criteria set by the client. Not only does call grading help companies to identify weak links within their staff, it will also help them to identify issues that need to be addressed via training.

Mystery shopping and call grading is a wise investment and should be a part of every company’s customer retention plan. When performed by a reputable mystery shopping agency, both mystery shopping calls and call grading can help companies of all sizes in creating a top-notch experience for their customers.

Customer Service

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Video mystery shopping is a practice that many organizations frequently turn to when they need to evaluate their products and customer service offerings at the store level. A well-executed mystery shopping audit provides companies deep insight into what their customers are experiencing at the store level via post mystery shop surveys completed by mystery shoppers.

While these tried and true surveys provide organizations with a great deal of insight, new advances in micro audio and video technology are now giving many organizations the power to also use video mystery shopping to see and hear what their customers experience first-hand.

Video mystery shopping audits are conducted in the same manner that a traditional mystery shop. However, when performing a video mystery shopping audit, the secret shopper will wear a hidden video device into the store or restaurant so their transaction is fully recorded.

Once the video mystery shopping audit is completed, the mystery shopper will send the video in to the hiring agency, typically accompanied by a survey. The organization or market research firm then reviews the video in order to glean and analyze data and complete both quantitative as well as qualitative analysis reports.

As video mystery shopping becomes easier and more popular, companies should understand there are legal issues that should be considered when planning and conducting these video audits.

Each state has laws that protect its citizens against being unlawfully or unknowingly captured on video and audio recordings. Each state can fall into one of two categories: a one-party state or a two-party state.

In a one-party state, the recording party is not legally required to notify the other party about being recorded. That is, only “one party” needs to know the recording is taking place. In two-party states, both parties need to be informed and consent to be recorded.

As of 2012, there are currently twelve states that require that each involved party be notified — and consent to — being recorded.

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

The remaining 38 states require that only one person to be notified of the recording process, and that can be the caller or recorder.

When it comes to video mystery shopping in a two-party state, the company must give consent for a mystery shopper to record at their place of business. In addition, each employee needs to provide informed consent. Typically, employees are simply required to sign something in their contract or handbook consenting to be recorded.

Organizations that are interested in reaping the benefits of a video mystery shopping audit are encouraged to do so through a reputable mystery shopping agency. A reputable video mystery shopping agency will be aware of the rules and regulations within each state and take care to properly adhere to all state laws.

Customer Service

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Customer Experience Management has changed, thanks to the digital age. Social media has changed the way businesses interact with their customers. No matter the industry, organizations are investing more time and resources than ever before in identifying the best channels of communication for their audience. It is important for organizations identify the proper channels for communication because it is not logical or economical for organizations to interact with customers through every available channel.

Customer “touch points” refer to more than just the point of purchase. In fact, most companies, no matter how big or small, likely have a small handful of channels through which customers engage with the organization. A strong plan for customer touch points is the cornerstone of any effective customer experience management plan.

Customer touch points or channels of communication can range from customer service help lines to a company’s website, social media channels, print and commercial advertising efforts, mailers and brick and mortar stores. A recent blog post points out the importance of segmenting and differentiating customers and optimizing touch point strategies in a customer experience management program.

By optimizing their customer experience management plan, companies can work to convert existing profitable customers into more profitable customers, focus on making potentially profitable customers more profitable, and identify and deflect absolutely unprofitable customers.

One of the first steps in optimizing an organization’s touch points for a customer experience management plan is to assess the point of attraction, or pre purchase touch points. In short, the point of attraction is the channel through which a customer becomes aware of a brand. These points of attraction can be static, interactive or dynamic and can include almost anything from print or television ads to mailers, websites, blogs, customer service help lines or live events.

There are several distinct ways that brands can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these points of attraction when creating a customer experience management plan: 1. Use market research to define their target audience and segmenting them. 2. Concentrate on reaching those target market segments 3. Customize their products to reach their market segments. 4. Customize messaging to appeal directly to their target audience. Reach the audience directly through their chosen channels. 5. Analyze and measure the strategies’ effectiveness.

When optimizing touch points of attraction for a customer experience management plan, it is important to also remember the assessment of the plan’s goals can also aid in identifying the most effective customer touch points. By defining clear objectives prior to creating a plan, the entire customer experience management program will be executed more effectively. A well thought out customer experience management program featuring dynamic usage of customer points of attraction can continually aid in the building of a brand as well as customer acquisition.

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Customer experience management systems implemented throughout most corporations are usually done at the employee level. This is why even some of the most well-thought out customer experience management programs fail. Contrary to popular belief, research has proven time and again that the most successful customer experience programs are executed from the top down.

Most professionals agree that one of the most difficult aspects of launching a successful customer experience management program is the execution — getting ground-level employees excited to participate.

Difficulty in engaging ground-level employees is precisely why these programs should be launched from the top down, starting at the executive level. Research has proven repeatedly that the most significant factor in successfully launching a customer experience management program is the level of involvement company leaders have in the process.

Executives must take a genuine interest in communicating, demonstrating, and rewarding company values. Simply preaching the importance of customer experience management is not enough — executives must also lead by example.

A 2011 research study done by Temkin Group found that only 17% of employees surveyed felt their company’s executives supported decisions to trade off short-term financial results for long-term customer loyalty. Additionally, most successful programs are led by executives who are motivated by that long-term loyalty as well, and use it as the guiding principle for all activities.

An executive’s vision, passion, and commitment to both their employees and customer experience will often become the guiding principle that is carried on from the top all the way down to the employee level. When a company’s employees feel their company cares about them, they’re more willing to undergo training in order to roll out new programs. It’s a known fact that the happier employees are with their jobs, the more they will go out of their way to serve customers. By leading by example and with passion, executives can ensure their vision will result in well-executed customer experience management programs.

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Customer experience management can be directly linked to how the employee experience — that is, how well they understand and view their workplace. It’s easy to understand that if the employees are unhappy, their performance will be subpar, thus giving the customer a less-than-stellar experience. Customer experience management, therefore, must include management of the employee experience as well.

Business strategy states that the best brands are often built from the inside-out. How well a company stands the test of time hinges on whether the employees — the public face of the company — are happy or not. If they’re unhappy, they may represent the brand in a way that leaves the customer with a bad taste in his mouth. A bad taste means a bad experience, which means an unhappy customer and difficult customer experience management. And unhappy customers tell other potential customers to stay away.

In other words, if your employees ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Employees, like children, are very observant. When they see their managers say one thing and do another, or not follow through with certain promises, employees become disheartened and resentful of the company. This attitude follows the employee all during his workday, affecting every person he or she touches, employees and customers alike.

Many companies are quick to tout their employee-focused atmosphere, and surely, a few standouts may come to mind. However, the majority of companies who make noise about their employees “being their most important asset” have, in reality, lost the trust of their employees.

When employees are given inferior tools and training, they lose faith in their employer and their ability to do their job. This lack of assurance and backing can lead to poor customer experience management.

The first place to start with customer experience management is with your employees. They will need to be given the tools they need to succeed, and the assurance that the employer values truly them. Happy employees are more likely to stick around in a company, gain tenure, hone their company-specific skills and knowledge – and thus, lead to better customer experience management as well as happier customers.