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.
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 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.
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.
…there is a Flea Off Market here in town. It is full of arts, crafts, vintage items, some amazing hipster watching, craft cocktails and best of all…FOOD TRUCKS!
I have a tremendous weakness for BBQ, almost an addiction. There are so many cuisine choices, but I almost always veer towards a vendor with smoked pork. Few things make me happier than Carolina style pulled pork with cole slaw on it, you really need the cole slaw. Unless the Lobster Roll guy is there, his lobster bisque is so delicious you would trade your toddler for a second bowl. Seriously, I will eat it even if the temperature outside is equivalent to that of the surface of the sun. It is just that amazing. I digress.
Anyway, there are areas with long tables set up, so generally you just pick an open seat and end up talking to whomever is next to you. I had had a brief culinary bond with a guy in the BBQ line as we perused the menu board out loud, discussing the various possibilities of how we would eat our BBQ. Sandwich? Nachos? Tacos?
I collected my food and found an empty picnic table in the blistering sun and sat down to eat. A few minutes later, the guy I had been talking to in line plopped down with a huge stack of napkins. I was slightly puzzled, but grateful because truth be told, when I am really hungry I eat like a wolverine. Also, I had neglected to get enough napkins so I didn’t really question why he had so many. He just handed me a stack without comment.
A couple of minutes later, his adorable girlfriend bounded up to the table holding something amazing in her hands. My eyes were drawn to it like a magnet and I immediately asked what it was. She paused with her fork in midair to explain that it was a pineapple rum glazed doughnut with homemade whipped cream and a black cherry puree. It looked like heaven on a paper plate. I could sense her frustration mounting as she tried to cut through the delectable doughnut with a flimsy plastic fork. Finally, she just picked it up with her hand and shoved it straight into her mouth. Her boyfriend and I looked on in amazement and glee. He had clearly witnessed this before, therefore the stack of napkins. When she pulled the doughnut away, her face was covered in whipped cream. Literally. I mean there was even whipped cream up her nose. She did not care. Her boyfriend tried to dab at her face with a napkin and she pushed his hand away in order to finish her doughnut unperturbed. It was if she was in some sort of dessert rapture and I knew that I had to have one for myself.
Since it was, as mentioned before, approximately five thousand degrees, I decided to get one on the way out and eat it in the air conditioned comfort of my car. I went up to the Hi-Five Donut truck and explained to the woman who runs it what I had just witnessed and we both kind of celebrated in the awesomeness of such a thing. I told her I wanted the exact same donut and that I planned to eat it in my car with the air conditioning on full blast. She said that was the best idea ever. As I was walking away, she called out to me asking if I had tinted windows in my car. I was puzzled for a minute as to why she would ask such a thing. She said if I did, it was her suggestion that I take my shirt off to eat it. Then we both laughed and laughed. And that, my friends is exactly what I did.
A few years ago, the CEO of an Australian telecom company made news because he had been calling his own company’s contact centers to find out whether they were providing the kind of customer service he expected — and had established policies to ensure.
As anyone might guess in a situation like this, what he found was not always positive. The results of his “research” were probably hard to hear at times, but the CEO’s experiences showed him the issues he needed to confront in order to make changes and ultimately help turn his business’ customer service around.
All business owners have a responsibility to ensure that their contact centers’ customer service policies are being implemented as effectively as possible, whether they are running a major corporation or a small business — or anywhere in between. There is a place for mystery shopping within every contact center’s customer service strategy.
When a business hires a market research and brand auditing company, the two organizations will work together to create a customized program that investigates all the elements important to the customer service success of the business’ contact center. The company should be able to tailor the plan to target specific problem areas or specific training issues a business client might need to focus on. Once the two organizations have agreed upon the list of criteria shoppers will look for, the mystery shopping company will select shoppers with appropriate expertise. Research staff will phone the contact centers, posing as actual customers, and track every detail of their experience.
Here are some things mystery shopping professionals might look for when they shop a contact center:
Customers’ chief complaints with calling contact centers are fairly universal. Issues like long hold times, endless transfers, lines gone dead, overly scripted and unempowered employees, and more run rampant throughout contact center culture. Any business that thinks it is exempt should probably reconsider. One simple way to find out for sure whether these things are happening: hiring mystery shopping company to act as the company’s ears on the front lines.
Still, it’s vitally important, since it’s already a legal requirement that all assisted living centers measure the satisfaction of their residents. A mystery campaign can help administrators identify problem areas before they ever become so big, they affect the residents’ satisfaction, resulting in lower performance on the state’s satisfaction surveys.
But not all shopping campaigns have to involve site visits. In fact, we don’t even recommend that that’s the first step you take. If anything, a mystery shopping campaign should include, or at least start with, a phone call. That’s because many assisted living center visits already start with a phone call, so why not make sure you’re presenting your best possible image at the earliest possible moment.
When you begin working with a company like MeasureCP, we put together a program just for you that examines the factors that are most important to your assisted living facility. We will work with you to create a mystery shopping program that looks for specific pain points within your organization.
Once you’ve agreed upon the list of criteria, we choose our roster of shoppers and start making phone calls to your assisted living centers, acting as potential customers. We’ll run through the series of questions that we have both agreed upon, and find out how your staff does during this initial contact. When we’re done, we’ll create a full report for you on our findings.
Here are some typical factors we look for during a call:
Be sure that you’re providing the best possible experience to your current and potential residents and their families by bringing mystery shoppers into the mix. Good customer service never gets old!
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.
So, this weekend I went to one of my favorite local restaurants and wine bar, Louvino. Again. Not just because I love that place wholeheartedly, but because for whatever reason, I have had at least five of my Match.com dates choose it as our date destination. I could tell from the way the one bartender THAT HAS BEEN WORKING EVERY SINGLE TIME I HAVE BEEN THERE ON A DATE was looking at me that he thinks I am a Lady of the Night. I, by the way, am not. I am just trying to navigate the whole online dating thing, but, I digress.
Why do I love Louvino so much? So many reasons. First of all, they have delicious food. Small plates that aren’t too small, that are great for sharing and perfect when you are indecisive and want a little bit of everything. Small plates are like Ritalin for people with food ADD.
They also have an amazing wine list and wine flights, also perfect for the indecisive wine drinker. Are you sensing a theme here?
The atmosphere is warm and inviting. The lighting is good (a bonus on those Match.com dates) and the seating is cozy and close together which often ends with you making friends with your neighboring diners.
But, none of these wonderful things would matter so much if it weren’t for the quality of service. Never once have I been there and had anything other than exceptional treatment from every employee I have encountered. Well, maybe with the exception of the bartender who kept shooting me sidelong glances, but I can’t say I blame him, I would be curious as well.
The servers explain the specials in a way that makes you want to order all of them. The bartenders make sure you always have a drink and engage you in just the right amount of conversation. Mainly, they all seem so enthusiastic and happy to be there that it is kind of contagious. They truly seem to love their jobs, which makes me think that the people that own it are doing something right. Well, obviously they are, they are getting ready to open two new locations.
In a nutshell, happy employees make for happy customers ,which makes for repeat business. It is a win/win for everyone.
Respondents often ask how they can better maximize their earnings. While it can take a variety of shops to reach your financial targets, it is important to know that Mystery Shopping Provider’s (MSP) entrust higher-value projects to those with a history of making accurate and high-quality submissions. Brands rely on very precise data to make business decisions, sometimes affecting multi-million dollar budgets, thus making it critical for assignments to be done correctly the first time.
Because many programs require you to follow certain criteria as directed by each client, here’s how you can understand all the steps necessary to achieve success.
How can improving quality lead to financial reward? MSPs typically make assignments available to those individuals with a strong record, based on their ability to accurately follow directions. Not only are quality and accuracy critical – timeliness is, too.
To help, we have collected four best practices designed to improve your skills!
1. Tools to Stay Organized
When accepting an assignment, check your calendar and be sure you are available to complete the assignment before or by the due date. Because assignments have deadlines, it is critical for you to finish on time; otherwise, clients lose valuable resources, leading to incomplete and unusable submissions.
Most smartphones today have a calendar feature with reminders and alarms. As soon as you accept the shop, add a reminder so you do not forget to complete it, especially when accepting an assignment in advance. Google offers a free calendar tool, making it easy to manage your tasks, especially if you are scheduling tasks for multiple MSPs.
2. Stay Objective, Don’t Let Things Become Personal
Shoppers are so passionate about their jobs that things can often become personal instead of objective. Scenarios and guidelines provide a framework to your interaction so that the client can focus on the data they are trying to measure. Objectivity and knowledge of the framework will keep your feedback accurate and be of more use to the client. This will help to capture the true essence of an interaction and make your feedback valuable.
3. Document All Steps Required
Most assignments have strict requirements such as keeping a receipt, recording any phone conversations, or visiting during a specified time. Be sure to keep all documentation required to prevent delays or incomplete submissions. Oftentimes, your payment is contingent upon submitting your records; delays can result when not submitting proper documentation.
In addition, be sure to keep backup copies and do not delete any files until you have been paid. This makes it easy to verify and reimburse you for any expenses correctly the first time! Cameras and cellphones make a great way to snap a record of the receipt and keep a digital copy.
4. Communication is Key, Especially When Issues Arise
Things do not always go as planned and sometimes issues come up. Whenever a problem arises, it is important to contact your scheduler as soon as possible. If a short timeframe is available to complete the shop and you are unable to complete the shop for any reason or need clarification, keep the communication lines open and call or email your contact to seek help.
Do not be afraid to raise your hand if you do not understand something or to let your MSP know you cannot complete things on time.
If you want to improve your business, Measure CP can help. Measure CP is the next generation of consumer brand auditing, focusing on systematic ways to analyze and improve the customer experience of your business. Measure CP combines traditional mystery shopper services and brand auditing by using mobile and social media tools to provide a comprehensive view of your brand and the customer service experience that defines it.
One of the ways Measure CP helps companies improve the customer experience is through mystery shopping services. Measure CP’s mystery shoppers come from a variety of backgrounds and demographics. Mystery shoppers are moms, students, retirees, veterans, full-time shoppers, and part-time shoppers. Regardless of the differences in our mystery shopping team, they all share an interest in helping companies improve their customer service and customer experience.
The diversity of Measure CP mystery shoppers helps us ensure that we can match the right shopper to the right company. We go the extra mile to make sure that each shopper is analyzing the business that they’re best suited for. Once you begin working with Measure CP, we’ll immediately assess your needs and narrow down the field of mystery shoppers to those who are best suited to observe your business. Filtering our selections by shopper certifications and demographics, Measure CP will find the shoppers who will give you the most accurate picture of the customer experience that your business provides.
Measure CP’s mission is to be your partner in improving your business. We provide a variety of services that can provide a clearer picture of how customers perceive your brand, and what you can do to bridge any gaps between where you stand now and your future goals for your company. Highly trained Measure CP mystery shoppers are ready to perform a detailed analysis of your business, and help you achieve the success you imagine for your company.
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.
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.
We at Measure CP are honored to be a 2013 Better Business Bureau Torch Award recipient.
BBB conducts this annual awards program to gain public recognition for businesses and non-profit organizations that maintain a solid commitment to conducting their business practices in an ethical fashion.
The full article can be read here:
LOUISVILLE, KY (Nov. 5, 2013) – Measure Consumer Perspectives, a Louisville-based brand auditing firm, has been awarded the Better Business Bureau of Louisville’s prestigious 2013 Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in the small business category.
“This is a great honor for Measure CP,” said Measure Consumer Perspectives’ Founder and President Kimberly Nasief. “I started this organization to help other companies pay more attention to how they were treating their customers. It feels good to know that we are seen as practicing what we preach – especially by the BBB.”
The BBB Torch Awards are open to all businesses and non-profit organizations that serve the Louisville, KY, Southern Indiana, and Western Kent
ucky markets, which have been in business at least three years and are in good standing with the BBB. Nominees are evaluated on four criteria: management practices, community/investor/stakeholder relations, communications and marketing practices and industry reputation.
“Winning a BBB Torch Award says a lot about a business’s reputation,” said Reanna Smith-Hamblin, BBB spokesperson, Better Business Bureau. “It’s a business consumers can trust. BBB is proud to have Measure Consumer Perspectives as a BBB Torch Award winner and BBB-accredited business.”
According to the Better Business Bureau, the Torch Award honors businesses and non-profit organizations that maintain a solid commitment to conducting their business practices in an ethical fashion. The award supports their mission to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education and service excellence.
Measure Consumer Perspectives is the next generation of consumer brand auditing, focusing on customer experience management by combining traditional mystery shopping and brand auditing with the most advanced mobile and social media tools to provide a 3-Dimensional view of clients’ brands and the customer service that defines them. Measure Consumer Perspectives performs hundreds of thousands of mystery shops and brand audits each year, from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon and all over the globe.
In today’s business climate, mystery shopping firms protect a company’s most important asset – the customer experience.
For B2C companies, there is nothing more critical to success than fulfilling the brand promise. Sadly, most companies invest more money and effort in their marketing plans and store fixtures than they do in the front-line staff who do more to fulfill that brand promise than anyone else in the organization.
Whether it is the food service industry or retail, most front-line employee training looks something like the following:
• Day 1: Employee fills out paperwork and meets the team. At larger companies, the employee may watch some training videos.
• Afterwards, the employee shadows co-workers (who have received the same caliber of training) and spends some time with shift supervisors and managers, learning the ins-and-outs of the tasks associated with the job, like working the cash register, how to serve customers, and so-on.
• As soon as possible, the new employee is pushed out on the selling floor, forced to sink or swim and develop habits that will get him or her through the day. If there are no disasters and the employee shows up for work on-time, the training is deemed a success.
• From this point on, the employee will train subsequent new employees and be evaluated on whether or not key metrics, like new credit accounts or menu up-sells, are being met.
Some companies do a better job at preparing employees for the sales floor, but not many. Companies like Wal-Mart, whose success is based on being the low-price leader, can get away with a “good enough” attitude towards customer experience – customers will excuse the experience if the price is low enough.
But companies like Apple depend on the quality of the customer experience, and would soon lose customers in droves if they stopped investing in it. Apple’s ability to create a nearly unbreakable relationship with the customer is the key to success.
There are very few Wal-Marts and Apples out there, which means most B2C companies fall somewhere in-between. The trouble starts when the in-between companies behave like Wal-Mart and ignore customer experience in favor of slick marketing or some other strength. Employees are “trained” as in the model described above.
Other companies talk like Apple, but lack the commitment to truly execute Apple’s cult-like business model.
Once the marketing budget is cut or the strength is neutralized, what happens? That is when the in-betweeners get customer experience management religion. They put together committees who quickly discover that they have a host of dissatisfied customers who have abandoned their brand due to neglect.
Effective Customer Experience Management
Mystery shopping firms are the best defense against corporate complacency when it comes to customer experience management. Rather than paying lip service to the customer only to focus on more credit account conversions, committing to a third party audit of the customer experience puts a company’s money where its mouth is.
Here are a few examples of why a mystery shopping provider is a better conduit for understanding and improving the customer experience:
• Mystery shopping evaluates the customer experience in a real-life setting: When a front-line employee is with a trainer, she is on her best behavior, doing her best to remember all the things that go into properly executing the tasks being evaluated.
Mystery shopping firms send shoppers into real-life situations, where products are bought and sold in real-time. It is only by doing this that a company can get a true gauge of what their customers go through.
The front-line employee, having no idea he is being evaluated, will do the things he or she does when no one is watching – whether good or bad.
• Mystery shopping provides a standardized measurement across a network of locations: Let’s face it, a store manager or district manager doesn’t want to be the bottom feeder in a chain store environment, and that desire to succeed can lead to loose standards when it comes to scoring locations on evaluations.
Mystery shopping firms eliminate any kind of bias in evaluating by a) not having an emotional stake in the scoring of locations; and b) by having a standardized instrument that is used across the entire network of locations. When these two factors are coupled, B2C companies are equipped with a powerful tool for taking a crystal clear snapshot of the customer experience. Thus equipped with a new vantage point from which to see their operation, companies can make critical adjustments in how their stores and people interact with the customer.
• Mystery shopping firms provide powerful reporting tools: When evaluations are completed in a willy-nilly fashion across a network of locations, the results cannot be compared side by side. There is no integrity in the data.
Mystery shopping firms are uniquely suited for providing a suite of reporting tools that give B2C companies a 3-Dimensional view of their operation. Because the mystery shopping provider is using a standardized instrument with no emotional stake in outcomes, the data can be trusted and analyzed in the following types of reports:
o Rank by location by overall score
o Rank by location on a question-by-question basis
o Rank by employee
o Trending over time
o Recommended follow-up training
o Hierarchichal reporting that is designed for the C-Suite down to the store level
Mystery shopping firms work with clients to design reports that are the best fit for the B2C company’s goals.
In addition to traditional mystery shopping methods, where mystery shoppers visit the location, observe, then complete the survey offsite, a growing number of mystery shopping firms use hidden video technology to capture the most objective view possible of the customer experience, with high quality sound and imagery.
In a highly competitive world where almost all B2C companies sit somewhere between Wal-Mart and Apple, keeping a vigilant watch over the customer experience is the best way to grow and protect market share.
Market research comes in many shapes and sizes. For example, imagine a scenario where you are the number nine player in your vertical, and you have just been charged with getting your B2C company into the top three. Where would you begin?
For many, this process would begin with a call to Measure CP, where the top eight companies would be identified, a shopping program would be implemented, and data would be collected that would help identify opportunities to exploit.
Here’s three ways Measure CP helps B2C companies with market research:
In the scenario outlined above, you could have the eight companies ahead of you, as well as your own company, shopped. The survey would cover the critical success factors for a positive customer experience in your vertical. Reporting will give you the opportunity to examine each shop and stack rank them by question and by total score.
Once the data is collected, you can slice it and dice it, looking for patterns that tell a compelling opportunity story for your organization.
Look at the companies in the top three positions in your vertical. Where do they score high? Are there weaknesses that can be exploited? If the numbers don’t give a clear-cut indication, perhaps a video shop will paint that picture. If the number one player in your vertical has a reputation for excellent customer service, a video shop will capture that experience so you can deconstruct it, looking for opportunities to compete.
If your vertical has a complex selling structure, knowing how the competition sells essentially the same product can tell you much about your opportunities for gaining market share.
As with the benchmarking example, video shops are a great way to discover the “secret sauce” of your competition’s success, so consider using video for those top three positions while conducting market research. This will allow you to see what they are doing better than the rest.
By having mystery shoppers report back on the process used to sell them on a product, you can chart each process and find the patterns that are the key performance indicators for success in your vertical.
In a commoditized selling environment, it is not enough to know what the competition is charging. Good market research lets you know what is included in the price, as well as how that pricing model is communicated.
Is the competition winning extra revenue through clever upsell strategies? Are there warranties or other value-adds that separate the competition from the rest of the field? By sending mystery shoppers into your competitors’ locations, you can see for yourself how they are structuring their deals – especially on a market-by-market basis.
Advantages of Mystery Shopping
Using a mystery shopping provider like Measure CP to perform market research offers the following advantages:
• Speedy: Measure CP has hundreds of thousands of mystery shoppers located throughout North America and all over the world, which means we can deploy a campaign quickly and give you more time to crunch numbers and develop a killer strategy.
• Cost-effective: Because Measure CP has an extensive network of shoppers local to just about any market, we can provide services at a better cost than if you tried to create a campaign from scratch on your own.
• Standardized: First, Measure CP’s team of experts will help you develop a standardized survey instrument that captures all of the data you will need to collect. From there, our expert shoppers will perform the shops in such a way that they will not be distinguishable from actual shoppers. This will give you purity in the data that is collected, as the associates audited will have no idea they are being evaluated.
• State-of-the-art: If your data collection involves using audio or video, you can rest assured knowing the quality will be crystal clear. Measure CP’s equipment is defense-grade, meaning it’s the best on the market. You will have an objective sample of the customer experience that will give you the best possible picture of how you or the competition treat customers.
If you are looking to improve your market share and aren’t exactly sure where the opportunities are, why not contact Measure CP for a consultation? Moving up even one position in your vertical would likely cover the investment of the initial market research.Filed under: MeasureCP, Press by Kimberly Nasief-Westergren