Listening to External and Internal Customers


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The Competition for Consumer Dollars cash wallet
As consumers remain cautious about spending, industries respond by listening to customers more carefully and interacting with them in creative ways. Retail stores look for innovative ways to draw customers in and keep them engaged. Macy's recently hit the mark in this area when they launched an interactive "Magic Fitting Room."

The Magic Fitting Room is located at one of Macy's flagship stores and creates an experience that combines an in-store visit with a digital interaction. A large mirror with touch buttons allows young customers to "try on" various outfits virtually. They can then convey the experience through channels such as Facebook.

Read the full article here.

Holiday Spending Expected to Increase! 
People Walking and ShoppingA recent study shows that spending by affluent Americans will grow four percent during the holiday season, but how do you ensure that well-off customers spend more at your store or restaurant?

One way, as always is for companies to exceed customer expectations. While the anticipated spending increase is good news, the study also revealed some troubling statistics; of those earning more than $100,000, 40% said that retail service had worsened, and 20% said that product quality has declined.

Stores and restaurants can take action to address these issues in order to capture more holiday sales. Web surveys are fairly fast to implement and may be used to gain customer opinions on everything from salesperson friendliness and product knowledge, to speed of checkout. Firms can view a summary of survey responses so that management can act on the information quickly. We survey providers offer suggestions and expertise as to survey length, question design, and communication.
Read the full article here.

Logo Passion


Predicting customer reaction to a major marketing change, such as a logo revision, is challenging at best. Gap recently found this out after development of a new logo produced very negative customer reactions. Gap believed that the new logo captured their evolving brand, however, consumers disagreed and voiced their opinions online. After listening to the passionate feedback, Gap canceled plans to move forward with the new logo.

What's most interesting to us is that Gap reported that employees felt positive about the new logo. Many times, firms discuss strategy changes with their management teams and staff, and use these opinions to determine if they should move forward with the change.

Read the full article here.

Five Ways Firms Benefit from Internal Surveysemployee survey pic
As Chase LeBlanc, author of "High Impact Hospitality, Upgrade Your Purpose, Performance, and Profits" points out in his recent article, employee involvement is one of the top ten ways to motivate managers. Internal surveys allow organizations to involve employees in ways that positively impact motivation, cost savings, and revenue production. These surveys offer five principle benefits:
  1. Learn about employee concerns quickly. Since internal surveys are web-based, employees can voice their opinions on communication between departments quickly and conveniently. Companies should be sure to encourage employees to complete the internal surveys on a regular basis, so that the information remains current.
Read the full article here.
Uncovering Customer Opinions on Wait Timebusiness man_ watch
The fact that customers don't like to wait is no surprise, especially in a digital era when consumers access many services immediately and on demand. A recent study showed that 69% of those surveyed said that they had to wait for an appointment with a service or utility provider, or some other type of delivery. Approximately 23% said that the wait caused them to lose wages. 21% switched providers because of the wait.

Some firms do not extensively track the amount of time that customers wait for service delivery. And while 48% of those in the survey indicated that they called customer service to complain about the wait, others did not. So how does a company know what is acceptable wait time and if their employees meet the standard?

Read the full article here.

Customer Problem Resolution can Offer Opportunitiesairport checkin pic
Many organizations train employees to use a step-by-step method for problem resolution. This is an effective way to ensure that employees handle customer issues according to company standards and prevent customers from leaving. The challenge is that some employees focus on problem solving steps alone and may miss prime opportunities to impress the customer.

In Lydia Ramsey's case, the missed opportunity was an airline employee who begrudgingly upgraded her to first class on a rescheduled flight. The passenger saw the seat number and asked if it was first class, and the unfriendly airline employee said that it was. As Ramsey points out, the employee could have used the first class seat as a way to tell the passenger, "We're sorry for the inconvenience of the rescheduled flight, however we are happy to offer you a first class seat." With this type of offering from the airline employee, how likely is it that the passenger would have felt good about the airline again? Chances are good that the passenger would have been more pleased with the airline, despite the circumstances.

Read the full article here.

2010 Mystery Shopping Providers Association Conference

MSPA New Logo

Confero Data Services Manager, Paul Jacobi, Account Executive, Rob Barry, and President, Elaine Buxton recently attended the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) North America Annual Conference held September 21-23 in Chicago, Illinois. The conference continues to be the top venue for mystery shopping providers looking to stay abreast of industry trends, share best practices, and collaborate on industry challenges. This year's discussions included:
  • Strategic analysis of mystery shopping and field work industries.
  • Promoting brands across social media.
  • Impact of Smartphones and other technology on data collection.
In addition to participating in the MSPA sessions, Rob took the opportunity to visit with Chicago-based clients while Paul met with web developers about future projects. Elaine Buxton, currently President of MSPA North America, connected with many industry counterparts and provided overall leadership for the conference. 

Confero Team Participates in Jiffy Lube Association of Franchisees ConferenceJiffy Lube
Lana Meade, Client Services Manager, Elaine Buxton, President, attended the Jiffy Lube Association of Franchisees (JLAF) Conference on September 27th-30th at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Jiffy Lube, a Confero client since 1992, organizes the conference yearly and it is always a fun and informative event. It was also a chance for Lana and Elaine to demonstrate mystery shopping program enhancements for franchisees, including a redesigned reporting format.

While there, Elaine and Lana had the opportunity to connect with long-time clients and friends, Jiffy Lube corporate personnel and franchisees from all over the US. They were pleased to see a client, Jiffy Lube franchisee CB Squared Services, receive recognition as runner up in the "J-Team All Stars Grand Finals." The team "Ken & The Cruisers," ranked in the top two among 1,300 other competing Jiffy Lube service centers. They demonstrated their teamwork and skills by performing a Jiffy Lube Signature Service oil change for two customers during the competition. Judging was based on the delivery of an exceptional customer experience.

October 2010

Issue: 8
In This Issue
The Competition for Consumer Dollars
Holiday Spending Expected to Increase!
Logo Passion
Five Ways Firms Benefit from Internal Surveys
Uncovering Customer Opinions on Wait Time
Customer Problem Resolution can Offer Opportunities
2010 Mystery Shopping Providers Association Conference
Confero Team Participates in Jiffy Lube Association of Franchisees Conference


Mystery Shopper Comments of the Month

What would you do if a customer made one of these comments about one of your employees?

"I saw the manager delivering food to several tables. I noticed him interacting with the kitchen staff and helping coordinate things. At one point the manager came to our table and cleared some dishes. He asked us if we were enjoying our meal. He was personable and appeared to be very engaged in managing the restaurant."

"The banker was polite, but I felt she talked down to me. She explained one checking account, so I asked for information on the others. When she answered my e-mail, she answered my question but never mentioned the visit. She also did not say that they would like to have me as a customer, and she did not invite me to return."

"The interaction with the server was great. He demonstrated excellent customer service from start to finish. I observed him with others and his interaction with them was the same. He seems like an employee that keeps customers returning."

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Confero in the News

Elaine Buxton Talks with Inc. Magazine About, "How to Set Up A Mystery Shopping Program"

Confero's Elaine Buxton Talks With WRAL About Mystery Shopping

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Elaine Buxton

President & CEO


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