June 07, 2017 /
Comments Off on Customer loyalty for free

Customer loyalty for free

There’s no need to over-complicate customer loyalty.

Often companies “expect” loyalty form customers, but don’t give it back in return.

Customer loyalty is a two way street.

Here’s a great example of how to provide loyalty for free.

Even if you think it’s a cliche example, then I’d challenge anyone to tell me how it’s a bad thing.

The only thing getting in the way of loyalty is laziness.

June 07, 2017 /
Comments Off on Selling Features and Benefits is right, and wrong

Selling Features and Benefits is right, and wrong

Don’t talk to customers about Features and Benefits.  It reverses the sales process.

In my Mystery Shopping business I often see customers asking questions about whether or not the staff members asked the customer about Features and Benefits.

Customers only care about what you can do for them – value.  When a staff member sells on ‘features’ first, they go into sales spiel mode, mechanically listing (or reading) a list of features, many of which are not relevant to the customer.

If your ‘features’ are not relevant, then customers don’t care. You would not sell a 4WD vehicle to someone on the basis of its off-road ability if the customer never intends to go off-road.  They may be interested in towing capacity rather than off road ability.

When we bought our last family car, my wife was interested in a seven seater with ample back legroom.  Nothing else mattered.

The first step is to understand what the customer wants.  Try this order instead.

  1. Determine what the customer wants (do more listening than talking),
  2. Describe the ‘benefits’ of your solution,
  3. Describe the specific features which provide the benefit.

Talk about the benefits (value) and use the features to validate what you said. Simple.

Features and Benefits are important, but in the right order.

May 05, 2017 /
Comments Off on A dumb or cynical question?

A dumb or cynical question?

When surveying customers, make sure you get the questioning right. Optus Telecom in Australia got it wrong.

Check out the question below.

 

 

 

 

 

How would I answer if I received terrible service?

“Has the use of [product] prevented you from…..”

If you got bad service, you would expect to answer Yes, because the use of the product has prevented you from…..

But they’ve slipped the Yes in as the positive response. A cynic might say this was intentionally written this way. But if you are that clever, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself.

Very confusing question and answers.

Easily fixed.

May 01, 2017 /
Comments Off on The ROI of Mystery Shopping

The ROI of Mystery Shopping

Although a store may spend $10,000 a month on rent, it seems incredulous that a $100 per month spend on mystery shopping (1% of the rent) needs to be justified with ROI. If salaries and running expenses are taken into account (roughly to equal the monthly rent), then $100 per month equates to 0.5% of the operating expense of a site.

However, if ROI needs to be justified, it can be done as follows. Note, the resultant ROI number is so high that it seems unbelievable. There are few (if any) investments that can return a 3,600% ROI.

Imagine a store with:

  • 5,000 people walking through per month
  • 80% of people buy
  • Average price of $60

The store also has the following statistics found from the mystery shops:

  • Greeting customers 68% of the time
  • Commitment to purchase is asked 32% of the time
  • Up-selling 34% of the time

Let’s do the math to calculate the ROI:

5,000 customers x 80% who buy x $60 = $240,000 sales per month.

Here’s what happens if the store increases each of the three mystery shopping categories by 10% and 10% of the customers now buy (e.g., customers who were asked for a commitment to purchase increases 10% from 32% to 42%, and conservatively, only 10% of that 10% who asked to commit to a purchase actually made a purchase).

3 categories x 10% x 10% = 3% increase in sales

Old sales of $240,000 is improved 3%, being $7,200 increase in sales.

If the mystery shop expense was $100 per month ($1,200 for one year) and it took 6 months to get the 10% improvement, then there are 6 months of the $7,200 increase in sales ($43,200), then there is a return of $43,200 for a $1,200 expense, an ROI of 3,600%.

There is perhaps no greater opportunity for an investment with 3,600% return. It’s an investment worthy of the front page of every newspaper, yet it remains hidden in plain view.

April 24, 2017 /
Comments Off on Why Measure?

Why Measure?

Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

Extract from my book – Mystery Shopping Mastery

Time and time again I see companies trying to fix problems they have imagined while ignoring the problems that need fixing. Sure, management is an art and skill, but good measurement provides direction to apply that art and skill.

Hard skills are easy to measure, such as average sales, staff costs, and even foot traffic. But soft skills seem only to be measured anecdotally because anecdotes are easy. If executives ask their middle managers about customer service, they provide a sterilised view. If they ask the customers, they only get extreme views.

The only voices heard from customers are complaints from the disenfranchised or comments from raving fans. Sure, this information is important, but it’s equally important to get information about the “normal” experience. How do you serve the 99%?

The following example is a true-life story of how a simple measurement completely transformed a company’s strategy. Our client was a mortgage broking company selling loans into the retail market. The problem was that the advertising was wildly successful, but the advertisements were not being adequately converted to sales.

Their strategy was to employ older, more experienced mortgage bankers, and the advertising reflected their experience by suggesting customers “shop with experience.” The mystery shopping zoomed right in on the problem of poor conversions. Although customers were reacting positively to the “experience” angle in the advertising, the delivery by the mortgage brokers was very different. The mortgage brokers were selling based on price. This created a huge disconnect between what attracted the customer and what was being delivered.

The solution for the client was simple and difficult. Either change the strategy to reflect the current culture or change the culture to reflect the strategy. The company spent a fortune trying to improve sales tools, redefine the marketing, and even speed up computer systems. But all of that was wasted because the problem was simply that the sales people were doing something completely different to the strategy.

This is a common story. Management wastes money on misdirected sales and service training programs and fancy board level re-alignments. But, the problem is often as simple as the staff not executing the current strategy. And it might not be the fault of the front-line staff.

April 22, 2017 /
Comments Off on You can’t watch everything

You can’t watch everything

Extract from my new Book – Mystery Shopping Mastery

Let’s start with an extract from a mystery shopping report:

The store was in immaculate condition with all the clothes put away and neatly stacked. But I waited eight minutes to be served. The staff were busy talking to each other but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I grabbed some clothes and took them to the change rooms. I was close to the staff and could overhear their conversation.

The three staff members were talking about their recent night out. One of them was getting very specific about how she got drunk and what she did with a guy she picked up at a bar.

The gutter language was terrible. Normally, I would say something, but I was conducting a mystery shop, so I kept to myself.

I stuck my head out of the change room to ask a question only to see one staff member recreating events from her night out, like a pantomime. It was disgusting. I asked for help and another staff member turned around abruptly to tell me she was busy and would be with me in a few minutes.

This type of report is shocking to a client but unsurprising when you run a mystery shopping business. In the world of customer service measurement, we get to see what really happens, whether a client likes to hear it or not. We reveal the truth.

Unfortunately, companies tend to believe their own rhetoric. They believe the stories told to them by everyone in the service chain. Anecdotal evidence seems to trump reality.

The truth can lead a company to water, but it can’t make them drink. Sometimes the truth is so big and scary that it gets either ignored or pasted over in an effort to be seen to be “doing something.”

April 11, 2017 /
Comments Off on You are only one step from customer service disaster

You are only one step from customer service disaster

United Airlines famously forcefully ejected a passenger because the flight was overbooked (to make room for 4 crew). It got quite violent. So was the public reaction.

Your company is one misstep away form this treatment.

Naturally, a twitter hashtag was born #newunitedmottos

It’s hilarious and scary for any company.

A reminder – this was real footage – then we can see what the internet did.

Or this one

And two takes on the Pepsi drama

Also good

And they keep coming

Photoshopping Gold

More Gold

More video playtime – they had to drag grandma in.

Clever play on words

And probably my favourite

Your customer service is only ever one step away from disaster. Be vigilant. Measure, Mystery Shop, Train, Reward, Repeat.

March 07, 2017 /
Comments Off on How to know what’s happening when you don’t control the retailer

How to know what’s happening when you don’t control the retailer

This is an issue that’s been raised by a lot of clients – especially where they don’t control the retailer.

Are you worried about how your product is being sold by retail outlets, by retail staff you can’t control?

Is your FMCG product visible and displayed according to guidelines?

For larger ticket items, do staff have the appropriate knowledge about your product to sell it, and is yours, the first product being recommended?

Our research shows that staff knowledge is 1.5 times more important than customer service when selling a product.

Our research also shows that 66% of customers would pay 10% more if your product is recommended, and 31% would pay 20% more.

So How do you find the truth?

We’ll visit you retailers by tapping into our 45,000+ mystery shoppers to help you find out – a) how your product is stocked – b) the retailer’s product knowledge – and- c) how it’s being recommended …. all critical to sales.

Use data to stop worrying.

January 25, 2017 /
Comments Off on The difference between Mission and Vision

The difference between Mission and Vision

The difference between Mission and Purpose summarised in 1 minute.

Mission is a focusing statement about how the organisation operates now and into the future.

Purpose is a timeless statement of ‘why’ the organisation exists.

January 24, 2017 /
Comments Off on Why Measure?

Why Measure?

Peter Drucker famously said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

Time and time again I see companies trying to fix problems they have imagined and, at the same time ignore the problems that need fixing. Sure, management is an art and skill, but good measurements provide a direction to apply that art and skill.

Hard skills are easy to measure. For example, average sales, staff costs, and even foot traffic. But the soft skills seem to only be measured anecdotally because anecdotes are easy. If executives ask their middle managers about customer service, they provide a sterilised view. If they ask the customers, they only get extreme views.

The only voices heard from customers are complaints from the disenfranchised, or comments from raving fans. Sure this information is important, but it’s equally important to get information about the ‘normal’ experience. How do you serve the 99%?mystery shopping

The following example is a true life story of how a simple measurement completely transformed a company’s strategy. Our client was a mortgage broking company selling loans into the retail market.

The problem was that the advertising was wildly successful, but the advertisements when not being adequately converted to sales.

Their strategy was to employ older, more experienced mortgage bankers and the advertising reflected their experience by suggesting customers “Shop with experience”. The Mystery Shopping zoomed right in on the problem of poor conversions.

Although customers were reacting positively to the “experience” angle in the advertising, the delivery by the mortgage brokers was very different. The mortgage brokers were selling based on price.

This created a huge disconnect between what attracted the customer and what was being delivered.

The solution for the client was simple and difficult. Either change the strategy to reflect the current culture, or change the culture to reflect the strategy.

The company was spending a fortune trying to improve sales tools, redefine the marketing, and even speeding up computer systems. But all of that was wasted because the problem was simply that the sales people were doing something completely different to the strategy. This is a common story.

Management wastes money on misdirected sales and service training programs, and fancy board level re-alignments. But, the problem is often as simple as the staff not executing the current strategy. And it might not be the fault of the front line staff.

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