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Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

When it comes to age compliance checks and retailers, there’s really no better way to check for proper ID checks than to use mystery shopping. And Canada must be doing something right, because a 2017 age compliance checks campaign showed that 91% of their National Lottery retailers properly asked for ID as proof of age on their first mystery shopper visit.

That’s a 2% improvement from 2016 and a 5% improvement on 2015.

We can’t even get that for alcohol age compliance checks here in the United States.

The lottery operator Camelot has conducted their mystery shopping programme (we spelled it that way because they’re Canadian and they use the British spelling) for more than a decade, and they’re very strict about how they run it.

Basically, if a retailer fails the age compliance checks on three occasions (not in a row; if they fail them ever), their National Lottery ticket selling terminal will be suspended and could be removed entirely. And since retailers get a lot of money from lottery ticket sales, they can’t afford to lose that terminal.

According to a 2015 article on GamingPost.ca:

Retailers earn a 5% commission on every online sale and a 8% commission for every off-line ticket sale. Retailers are also entitled to receive a 2% bonus for any online prize redemption of under $300 and 3% for any offline prize redemption of under $200.

In 2017, Camelot conducted 11,600 visits for age compliance checks as a way to prevent underage and excessive playing of the lottery. Not that underage play is much of a problem, since Canada is also working on a way to increase the number of Millennials — people between the ages of 21 –37, as of 2018 — playing, because fewer of them are playing games of chance.

The U.S. lottery should run age compliance checks to prevent compulsive gambling and underage gambling.Still, addiction to gambling is a serious problem, so Camelot’s concerns are well-founded and respectable.

A basic check shows that we don’t seem to have basic age compliance checks in the United States when it comes to the lottery. A May 2016 story showed Orlando gas stations were selling lottery tickets to underage buyers, as the News 6 WKMG TV station worked with 13- and 14-year-old kids to buy lottery tickets. (Wawa moved their lottery ticket machines so they were more visible to the store employees, in response to the story.)

Lottery retailers — gas station, liquor stores, and even grocery stores — should take a cue from our neighbors to the North and start running age compliance checks on customers to prevent underage buyers and gambling addicts from buying tickets illegally or recklessly.

For more information on running your own age compliance checks, visit the Measure CP website and ask to speak to one of our compliance experts about how to run compliance checks in your own stores.

Photo credit: Daniel Oines (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Working as a mystery shopper isn’t as complicated as it sounds. In fact, our goal is to make things as easy and uncomplicated as we can.

The goal of a mystery shopping agency like ours is to provide our clients with a customer’s-eye-view of how their business operates. Working on the premise that “when the cat is away, the mice will play,” everyone knows that the way a business operates while the manager is around than when he or she is out. And smart business executives want to know that their carefully-honed image, service, and business plan is being run the way they expect it to.

They want smiling faces, friendly greetings, full service, clean facilities, and any other expectations and goals they have set for their entire operation. But they can’t be there to monitor it all the time.

Enter the mystery shopper.

This is the person who visits a particular business, branch, or individual location, looks for a few select items on a checklist, and reports back to the mystery shopping agency. The agency collects all the reports from all the shoppers working on this particular “case,” and presents it to the client.

The client can see what’s working and what’s not in each location. Maybe they expect all their staff to greet customers with a smile, and to say “thank you” at the end of a transaction. At Chick-fil-A, employees are expected to say “My pleasure” whenever a customer says thank you. The mystery shopper will keep track of that and note whether the company associate did what they were supposed to.

OYou never know where your role as a mystery shopper could take you. This is a young woman standing at a coffee shop counter.r maybe the bathrooms have to be cleaned every hour, and need to look presentable anytime a member of the public walks in. The mystery shopper will visit the bathroom during the visit and report on its condition.

The mystery shopper is usually expected to buy a particular service — buy a chicken sandwich; get their oil changed; test drive a car; visit a senior living facility; take a phone in for repairs — and they’ll be reimbursed, plus they’ll be paid.

After they buy the service, the mystery shopper will then fill out a report, answer all questions, and write up a brief statement about their visit, and sent it all back. The information may be uploaded on a website, it could be filled out on a mobile app, or it could even be that the shopper had to shoot a video on their mobile phone and then upload it to the mystery shopping agency.

(This means you have to be somewhat tech savvy. If you’re not, be sure to practice, PRACTICE, PRACTICE with your technology before you go on your first shop. You don’t get paid if you can’t deliver the information the client needs.)

A mystery shopper is basically the eyes and the ears of company management, looking for all the problems, challenges, and even the successes of the company associates. They help the company find opportunities for improvement and training, so they can better serve their customers, keep more of them happy, and keep them returning.

If you would like to be a mystery shopper, you can sign up to join the Measure CP team by visiting our special application page. We hope to work with you soon!

Photo credit: PXhere.com (Creative Commons 0, Public Domain)

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

My friend, Erik, recently met a woman who worked as an auditor for a water park/community pool safety certification company. He asked her a few questions about it, and turned it into an article for us.

I met Michelle (not her real name) at a coffee shop while she was studying to be a physician’s assistant, and she mentioned a job she used to have that saw her traveling all over the country.

“What was that?” I asked, envisioning a salesperson or some kind of consultant.

“I was a safety auditor,” Michelle said. “Sort of like a secret shopper for a company that certifies water parks and community pools for safety purposes.”

Ellis & Associates is an international aquatic safety and risk management consultant agency. According to their website, the company is. . .

dedicated to the prevention and elimination of drowning.  E&A provides Lifeguard Instructor training, Aquatic Risk Management services, Accident Investigation, Litigation Support, Emergency Care training, Learn to Swim and Continuing Education programs for all types of aquatic facilities around the world.

Michelle had been a lifeguard in high school and college, which made her a natural fit for the position. And in her role, which saw her driving all around the country, from city to city, pool to pool, she would not only train the lifeguards, but then she would secretly videotape them at work. This would help them measure the accountability for their actions and help them understand what they were doing right or wrong.

Village of Niles, Illinois Park District Oasis Water Park - Water park safety auditors are a different kind of secret shopper

“Parents often treat the lifeguards as babysitters,” said Michelle. “They just drop them off at the pool and expect the lifeguards to watch over them. The goal is to have zero drownings and near drownings.”

“A near drowning is when you have to resuscitate a victim,” she added.

Michelle’s employer has about 20 auditors on the road each summer. They spend 90 days during the summer driving all around the country, visiting a different state and water park every day.

“It’s kind of funny to see a bunch of 20 year olds terrorize the US with their Avis cars,” said Michelle.

But this is not a typical secret shopper role, she said. They look for someone who’s had supervisory and teaching experience. Michelle had originally been a camper at a summer camp, then a volunteer, and finally a camp counselor. Then she started teaching lifeguard classes and became an on deck supervisor.

Michelle originally applied when she was 19, but didn’t get the role. She applied again the following year, and they said the only reason she didn’t get it the year before was because she was too young. They told her she had the best communication interview the previous year, out of all 500 applicants.

Yes, that’s right: five hundred applicants. A lot of people want to be water park safety auditors, but they only need 20 for the 90 day summer. So let that be a lesson to anyone who wants to be a secret shopper: you need strong communication skills in order to impress your potential employer. You need to be able to write clear, concise reports, so communication skills are a must.

Michelle said the main operating season for water parks and pools are the unofficial days of summer — Memorial Day to Labor Day. That’s where most of the auditors spend their time. Then there are the year-round clients, like we have here in Florida. They get quarterly audits from the off-season auditors who live in the state. Or maybe they’ll send someone from their home office, if necessary.

Michelle is fortunate in that she’s neither regular season or off-season. She’s more or less a free agent, and will get an occasional call to see if she’s available to do a training and assessment.

This was an interesting look to see another place where a secret shopper type of function can be performed, but outside the traditional mystery shopping arena. This one requires special skills that you would have started acquiring while you were still in high school. While it may not be a lucrative career move, it’s a good way for a college student to spend their summers.

And if you’re a looking for a lifeguard or even a water safety supervisor at a YMCA/YWCA or even major theme park, check out Ellis & Associates’ job listing’s page. That’s where you’ll find the safety auditor positions — and they’re already recruiting.

Photo credit: VNiles (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Evaluating service is not always done in person. In some cases, such as contact centers, it can be done over the phone, without ever having to leave the house or office.

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.

His evaluation efforts of the contact centers brought to light some crucial questions. For instance: Why do customer service problems crop up in the first place? Is it apathy on the part of contact center employees, or are they not being equipped with the tools they need to do their jobs properly? Is there an incentive structure set up to reward employees for doing well?

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:

  • Friendliness and helpfulness of staff.
  • Amount of time spent on hold.
  • Quality of hold music.
  • Number of transfers.
  • Whether they have to explain their problem over and over when they are transferred.

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.

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Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Evaluating an assisted living center can be a long, drawn-out experience, and can be fairly involved.

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:

  • Staff members’ personalities and helpfulness.
  • Hold time.
  • Number of transfers.
  • Comprehensive nature of information given.

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!

www.measurecp.com

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

 

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.

 

www.measurecp.com

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Video mystery shopping is an invaluable training tool for your business. Are your employees acting as ambassadors of your brand? It’s one thing for an employee to give great service when they know management is watching, but what about when management isn’t there? Whether or not it’s a conscious decision, many employees simply act differently when they know they’re being critiqued. Video mystery shopping takes the concept of mystery shopping to the next level, and the findings from a video mystery shopping experience may just be valuable beyond measure for your business.Measure CP Logo Icon

Measure CP partners with you to find ways to increase your success. Here’s how we do it. First, Measure CP gains an understanding of the intricacies of your business by performing a thorough analysis of what you believe are your company’s main problems and opportunities. Next, we collaborate with you to find a customer experience management solution – such as video mystery shopping, brand audits, mobile feedback, or a combination – which measures and reports on how your processes and protocols are being followed, and where your areas for improvement are.

Our customer experience management solutions are effective because they mirror the actual shopping experience that a customer undergoes, so you can see exactly how your associates represent your brand. With video mystery shopping, Measure CP works with you to place high-quality hidden audio video equipment throughout your business location. We’ll record the visits of several mystery shoppers in diverse situations, then we’ll hand the footage over to you along with a thorough analysis of your company’s opportunities for improvement and areas of strength and weakness. We’ll help you interpret the findings of our video mystery shopping research, looking for patterns and opportunities for growth.

You’ll get a truly clear picture of how your company operates and presents itself to potential customers through our video mystery shopping program. You’ll see if your employees are representing your brand accurately, and we’ll help you find clear opportunities for improvement through close analysis of the video mystery shopping content. What can Measure CP’s video mystery shopping program do for your business? The possibilities are endless, so call us today and let’s start exploring the potential.

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

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.

Real-Life Training

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.

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

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 are three ways Measure CP helps B2C companies with market research:

1. Benchmarking

Black frame Wayfarer sunglasses on a white notebook and clipboard. We often associates clipboards 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.

2. Process Mapping

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.

3. Pricing

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 for Market Research

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 in terms of increased sales and market share.

Photo credit: Caio (Pexels, Creative Commons 0)

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Mystery shopping has a variety of purposes outside of traditional retail shops.  Automotive after sales mystery shops offer a valuable look “under the hood” of a company’s service operation…but only if the right partner is providing the mystery shopping service.  Just as there are all kinds of car salesmen, there are many kinds of mystery shopping providers out there, making a variety of claims about how they can help you improve the customer experience.

mystery shopping

At Measure CP, we’ve done enough automotive after sales mystery shops to know what to look for in a prospective vendor.  Here are five questions to ask before you let any mystery shopping company on your lot:

#1: Can you match my demographics? Shopper pools for nearly every mystery shopping provider skew heavily towards females.  If you are looking for a predominantly male shopper pool for your after sales mystery shopping program, dig in on this question. If a mystery shopping provider is unable deliver on your demographic, then move on to the next candidate.

Also, when exploring the question of demographics, find out how the prospective mystery shopping provider handles alternates.  Do they have a deep bench of qualified shoppers to take the place of anyone who may quit (quitters are called flakes in the business) in the middle of the program?  Because we are dealing with people, flakes happen, and the best mystery shopping providers plan for them.

#2: Do you handle everything in-house?  Does the prospective mystery shopping provider handle scheduling, editing, and video in-house, or are they at the mercy of a third-party vendor?  This question is vital because with every step that is covered by a vendor, your prospective partner has that much less control over the operation, which can cause crippling delays when the inevitable glitch occurs.

Have the prospect walk you through each step of the operation.  How does project management work?  How does scheduling work?  How do shoppers report their results?  How does editing/QC work?  What is at stake here is the overall quality of the solution.  Each vendor means another communication handoff, which jeopardizes the ability of a mystery shopping provider to respond quickly to problems.  At Measure CP, we do everything in-house, maintaining control over every facet of the program.

#3: Do you have automotive experience?  Automotive after sales mystery shopping programs are very complex operations that can literally span the continent.  Having an untested partner at the controls is a risky proposition.

Have a prospective mystery shopping provider walk you through their automotive experience, and look specifically at how they certify shoppers and onboard vehicles.  If they have never performed automotive after sales shops, see if they have done ANY after sales shopping programs.  Measure CP has developed a detailed checklist for clients that helps anticipate bureaucratic red tape that can bring a program to a stand still.

#4: Are you a national or regional operation?  If your program will include an audit of dealerships spanning the entire country (not to mention international locations), you want to make sure your prospective partner is skilled at dealing with a program of this scale.

A regional mystery shopping provider may be just fine for handling a particular portion of the country, but if they are not well versed in something as basic as video recoding laws, for example, it could end up costing you a lot of money in fines and lawsuits.  Smaller mystery shopping providers tend to rely on third party vendors for overflow work, which could also affect the quality of their solution for you.  Measure CP’s experts know the automotive industry, and will help you avoid costly pitfalls.

#5: How do you communicate?  Communication is perhaps the most vital critical success factor in an automotive after sales mystery shopping program.

Because these programs are so complex, things never go exactly as planned.  This is where effective communication is key.  Is the prospective mystery shopping provider pro-active?  Do they hold onto information too long?  Do they shoot from the hip and do things on their own without consulting you?  These are only a few questions to ask, and they provide a perfect platform to setting expectations at the outset of the program, rather than having to learn the hard way.

For the utmost confidence, choose a mystery shopping provider that can confidently answer all of the questions outlined above.  It is imperative that you have experience on your side and get the detailed checklist of critical success factors needed to allow you to provide your customers with the best service.  Contact Measure CP today and speak to one of our automotive specialists about your next after sales mystery shopping program.

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Mystery shopping is essentially a mirror which reflects the reality of front-line customer interaction and how the company brand is interpreted by the customer. For small to medium-sized businesses especially, building a brand can be difficult and takes a lot of time. There are many things that play into building a brand – everything from your logo to your signage to your employees’ uniforms. There’s even more to consider when you think about how your brand image is created and interpreted in the minds of your customers. A mystery shopping program can help you determine if your brand is being projected correctly.

Mystery shopping programs can help you discover a variety of things that would be incredibly difficult to find out on your own. For example, let’s say that your business has multiple. Building a strong brand image requires there to be consistency between all your locations in the appearance of your stores and in the attitudes of your staff. It may be difficult for you to determine if this is the case if you are working on your own. Deploying a mystery shopping program can provide the unbiased experts you need to ensure your high standards are being met company-wide.

For example, a mystery shopping program can examine questions such as: Do the locations of your business look consistent from store to store? When a customer walks into one location then visits another at a later date, are they greeted with a welcoming, professional attitude each time? Do your employees across all locations dress in the appropriate uniforms and attire, and do they follow the same rules of decorum expected of all staff? A mystery shopping program can identify the answers to all of these questions, and more. And perhaps more importantly, a mystery shopping program will use questions like these, and a plethora of other questions, to determine if your brand standards are being met aesthetically in your stores as well as in the attitude of your staff.

Mystery shopping can help reinforce a company's brand image.If you are interested in measuring your brand image over time, consider employing a mystery shopping program on a yearly basis. The first step in this process would be to work with your mystery shopping program to identify what is successful about your business and what areas need work in order to increase sales. Then, on a yearly basis moving forward, the same things would be analyzed in order to measure improvement. As your mystery shopping program helps you build your brand, your sales will build as well.

A primary benefit of working with a mystery shopping program is that mystery shoppers see what you are not able to, and experience your company from the customer perspective. In order to build and protect your brand image, it is important to communicate with customers in the ways that work best for them. Mystery shopping can help you find ways to engage your target audience so that you can keep existing customers and find new audiences too.

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

A brand audit can help companies of all types and sizes better communicate with their customers. Especially when a company experiences rapid growth, “good enough” takes the place of “perfect” in terms of getting something out the door. If this is the case for your company, perhaps it is time for a brand audit.

A brand audit looks at your company’s outgoing communications, with a critical eye to detail. Whether you realize it or not, the communication going out to the public or to vendors cover a huge range, and absolutely every piece plays a role in communicating your brand. A brand audit examines everything your company creates: proposals, press releases, the company website, sales flyers, and more. The brand audit then finds answers to questions such as: Are all outgoing communications effectively communicating the company’s brand image? Is the logo modern, and does your company tagline communicate the organization’s value proposition? A brand audit can help you answer all these questions.

The purpose of a brand audit is to determine if the message your company is sending to employees, vendors, and customers is the right message, and if it is being communicated effectively. Brand audits also take a look at compliance issues within your particular industry, ensuring that your company is meeting standard benchmarks and following industry guidelines where appropriate. The primary goal of a brand audit is to help your organization communicate with customers consistently and effectively – which in turn will help your company create scalable growth.

Brand AuditThat is why performing a brand audit is not just for big companies. Small to medium sized businesses have the most to gain from performing a brand audit. If your organization is experiencing rapid growth, and if you hope to keep growing at the same or even a faster rate, a brand audit may be a crucial aspect of your marketing plan. In order to ensure your organization is getting the best return on investment possible from your marketing and communications efforts, it is of utmost importance that all aspects of the brand are in alignment. If your brochures, advertisements, and website fail to give customers the same impression, this can truly impede opportunities for growth and brand recognition. Performing a brand audit ensures that your organization can move forward with a consistent, modern approach that increases customer loyalty and expands awareness of your brand.

Large companies may perform brand audits from time to time to ensure that globally, there is consistency in how the brand is communicated. Language translations, advertising standards worldwide, and trends that change from country to country can all impact a brand’s consistency and effectiveness. Brand audits ensure that large-scale marketing problems are kept under control. Small to medium sized companies face similar issues to a large organization, but on a different scale. Perhaps dealing with global trends in advertising isn’t an issue yet for your organization – but as your organization grows, issues like this may not be far off. Performing a brand audit in the early stages of your company’s growth ensures that your company reaches customers as effectively as possible as you expand your brand.

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Mystery shops can help a business better understand and develop their brand image consistency, customer perspective, employee effectiveness, and so much more. Does your business have multiple locations, or franchises? One challenge that multiple-location businesses have is maintaining quality and brand standards at a precise level.

Employing a mystery shopping program gives business owners and operators an unbiased perspective on their business regarding brand consistency, quality control and the level of workplace professionalism.

Mystery shops inspect what your business is doing and how it is operating for customers. What do you need to be aware of as a business owner or operator? If your business has multiple locations or franchise opportunities, mystery shops should be an integral part of your quality control program.

There’s no way for a business owner or operator to be at every location at once, especially if the locations of your business are in different cities or states. Mystery shops audit the quality and consistency of each of your business locations, providing clear insight into how your brand is being presented to customers by your employees, signage, website, and more.

Mystery Shops help businesses develop brand consistencyMystery shops can confirm whether the dollars your business is spending in advertising, sales, and operations are transferring to a measurable return on investment.

Mystery shops can either be done openly or covertly, and provide a clear picture of how your business is being presented in each of your locations, as well as online and over the phone. Brand consistency is crucial to the customer perspective of your business, and a positive customer perspective is crucial to long term success.

Secret shops can find any inconsistencies that may exist between store locations, and as a part of working with MeasureCP, you will receive detailed recommendations on how to make those inconsistencies disappear for good. Don’t spend your valuable time waiting – contact MeasureCP today and find out what our mystery shoppers can tell you about the consistency and quality of your brand.

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

While both brand audits and mystery shops help a company or corporation expose its weaknesses and strengths, the holes in its operations and the areas that need improvement, a brand audit asks a shopper to go deeper.

As a brand auditor, you will be asked to delve into more than just the setting, cleanliness and customer-employee interaction; you will be given a checklist, which will prompt you to evaluate and analyze everything from the appearance of the logo and marketing collateral within the store to the positioning, perception and reputation of the brand out in the field to the employee interactions and knowledge to the basics of compliance rules and more.  Now, that does not mean you are under qualified or that it will be too difficult for you. It simply means you will be asked to go above and beyond a typical mystery shop, while performing a brand audit.

Brand audits versus mystery shopsBrand audits look further into the marketing elements, brand structure and differentiators, the brand’s personality, and position inside and outside the storefront.  On the other hand, a mystery shopper is asked to look more at the topical, physical aspects. Some examples are customer service, overall environment, tidiness and sanitation of the store, and clients’ responses to their experience in general.

The following are some of the basic differences between brand audits and mystery shops:

Overt or Covert

Unlike mystery shops, brand audits can be either overt or covert.  Brand auditors will usually go into the store, office, hotel, gym or restaurant and make themselves known to the employees and managers before they continue on with their audit.  There is a possibility that the auditor will be undercover and equipped with microphones and video cameras just as a mystery shopper is during his or her shop.

The Checklist

Brand audits require auditors to look at a whole array of specific items; on the other hand, mystery shoppers are asked to evaluate their experience across the board with the employees, services, and atmosphere. The checklist will guide the auditor through the process, so nothing is left untouched.

Dive In Deeper

Mystery shoppers typically report on their experience, while brand auditors look at marketing strategy and budgeting, brand positioning in and out of store, the personality of the brand, what makes this brand unique and different, how the logo looks, and the particular qualities of the brand.  All of these components are listed in the checklist, so auditors have no need to worry about missing some aspect of their brand audits.  In addition to the marketing and positioning of the brand, brand auditors may be asked to perform compliance audits, which include age compliance in relation to the selling of tobacco and alcohol, marketing messaging compliance and fair housing compliance.

Despite the differences and the deeper level of analysis required by brand audits, together mystery shops and brand audits can help a company make necessary changes and build its strengths.

 

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Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

If anyone needs a brand audit, it is the hospitality industry. For large, upscale hotel chains, there are so many places where the hotel’s brand is visible, it is difficult for the marketing department and hotel staff to keep track of it all.

For example, a downtown hotel near a city’s shopping district or convention center is sure to draw a lot of traffic, especially at peak times. But what are visitors to the hotel seeing when they enter the building? What about in the rooms?

Inside the building is usually not an issue: hotels are very good about making sure everything is properly labeled and branded throughout the building. If there is one thing hotels know, it is how to brand themselves inside.

Galt House in Louisville, KY

Galt House in Louisville, KY

But what about throughout the city? There are posters and flyers, ads in local magazines, logos on menus of nearby restaurants, coupons, and more online marketing collateral than most people are aware of. They need to know where their brand is being used, possibly without permission. This is where a brand audit can help.

Hotels can work with a mystery shopping agency that provides brand audit services as a way to monitor all the places where their brand is being used or misused. A mystery shopper can attend a conference, visit different restaurants, and even monitor online mentions on behalf of the central office. Rather than having an already-overworked marketing staff try to do their own brand audit, which needs to be an ongoing venture, they can work with the mystery shopping agency to do regular checks on their behalf.

What about in smaller cities, where the hotels are often independently-owned franchises? This is a little more difficult, since many larger chains have hundreds, if not thousands, of franchisees in the world. A brand audit would be next to impossible for the staff to perform.

Again, this is where the mystery shopping agency can help. They have shoppers throughout the world who can perform a brand audit on all the properties, ensuring all the branding is being used properly.

A brand audit is usually done publicly, unlike regular mystery shopping, which is a secret. The shopper is anonymous, and does not make himself or herself known to the staff. But in a brand audit, the shopper can show up, checklist in hand, and check off the different categories to make sure the franchisee is following all the requirements and using the marketing collateral properly. A brand audit can also cover the different in-town and online properties in the surrounding area, and can often be done as part of the same package.

Hotels need to protect their own brand image, to make sure that their franchisees are displaying the proper information, and that the company name and logo are being used properly outside of the hotel. A brand audit can help the marketing department ensure everything is in order.

Photo credit: CC Chapman (Flickr, Creative Commons)

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Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

Corporations should make brand protection an integral part of their sports sponsorship packages, not only as a way to make sure their brand integrity is maintained, but to ensure the teams and events being sponsored are meeting their obligations of the sponsorship contract.

Large corporations will often be involved in several sports sponsorships, as well as many high dollar sponsorship packages. Consider what goes into sponsoring an NFL team, a motor sports team, or even an entire sporting event. Often hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent per year on a single team or event.

A London Underground train decorated to promot...

A London Underground train decorated to promote London’s Olympic bid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For example, anyone who watches the Indianapolis 500 this weekend will notice several things related to sponsorships:

  • Everything has a name — the Izod IndyCar series, for example.
  • There are sponsor names on a driver’s car and his or her firesuit. Some spots on the car and suit have more value than others — side pods on the car, and larger sponsor patches up near the driver’s face, as well as the driver’s hat.
  • The drivers will use the name of the sponsors and their cars, like James Hinchcliffe referring to “the number 27 GoDaddy car” in interviews.

While teams will do everything they can to honor their sponsorship agreement, the companies still need brand protection to make sure that the agreement is followed exactly. An agency that specializes in brand protection can monitor whether a team has placed their logos in the correct places, is using them properly, and not overusing them or misusing them.

A brand protection agency can also police a sporting event to make sure that sponsor messages aren’t being overused or misused. In fact, the 2012 London Olympics actually hand “brand police” provide sponsor and brand protection, by making sure someone wasn’t misusing the Olympics name, or sneaking in sponsorship messages when they weren’t allowed.

The brand protection agency can even provide auditing documents when the event is over, or on regular intervals of the contract, to help ensure all aspects of the contract are being properly followed.

Corporate sports sponsorship is an important marketing investment. To be sure companies are getting their return on investment, they need to work with an agency to make sure everything is being done properly. A brand protection agency can provide the necessary documentation and support to help corporations know their obligations are being met.

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Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

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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Mystery Shopping Programs

Canada’s National Lottery Uses Mystery Shoppers for Age Compliance Checks

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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