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Archive for Mystery Shopping

B2B Mystery Shopping Improves Your Business

B2B Mystery Shopping

B2B Mystery Shopping To Improve Your Business

A bit more complicated than typical mystery shopping, but definitely beneficial.

Traditional mystery shopping in the business-to-consumer (B2C) model is pretty straight-forward. Mystery shoppers are sent in to a business or retail location with specific tasks and questions to answer about their experience.

Business-to-business (B2B) mystery shopping works in the same manner, with the one exception being that customers, or mystery shoppers, will pose as companies or customers calling to inquire about your services and products.

B2B mystery shopping is one way you can make sure you stay focused on delivering great customer experiences every time and also allows your business to determine baselines and pinpoint areas for improvement. You can evaluate staff performance, review processes and procedures, and ensure your brand reputation is solid.

Understanding your customer’s journey in a B2B environment takes a little more creativity. Here are a few ideas on how to approach being a mystery shopper of your own B2B organization.

1.Use the web contact form to inquire about products or services.

Find out what it’s like to call in as an actual customer and ask questions: What is it you do? What types of products/services do you offer? What happens if I have a problem/issue arise? What is your return policy? (if applicable)
It’s amazing how many inbound sales departments are totally unprepared for this line of questions. And you can experience what it feels like to be an actual customer.

This also gives insight into whether your employees are upselling/cross-selling other products or services offered by your company that may be important to the customer.

2. Use the web contact form to inquire about products or services.

Is the form easy to fill out? Does it cover the pertinent information? How quickly do you hear from someone? Is the form confirmation written in a robot voice? Lots of areas to consider here!

3. Ask typical questions of the sales person.

You probably know what questions get asked the most, so go ahead and ask them. Email the salesperson back and ask random questions. Ask what happens if you want to add a service in the middle of the contract. Ask about price. Ask the difficult questions salespeople hate and see what happens.

4. Sign up for the free product trial.

If a trial is typically offered, go for it. See what it’s like to sign up, use the product, call support and then either end the trial or not. Pay attention to how many emails and calls you get. Pay attention to if the product trial lives up to the marketing hype.

5. Ask other customers.

Check out forums or communities and ask about others’ experiences. Pay attention to what they say doesn’t work. Or call a few current customers and ask them. What’s working? What’s not? Tell me what can be improved and what works well.

The best way to get a truly outside-in perspective, however, is to ask someone from the outside to do it. You’ll get honest feedback and find holes in your process easy to ignore on the outside. But any form of mystery shopping is better than none. Take a step and examine what experience you’re really delivering to your business customers.

 

mystery shopping

 

​Furthermore, fictitious accounts and companies can be created to pose as current customers to evaluate the service ordering process. From here, you can see if your employees are attempting to upsell/cross sell, offering additional products/services that are important to your customers, and the general service levels provided.

 

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Digital Customer Experience

customer experience

Why are customers willing to pay more for a better experience?

In a recent study called The Disconnected Customer: What digital customer experience leaders teach us about reconnecting with customers” by Capgemini, a significant gap was found between how businesses and consumers perceive the quality of their customer experience.

Of the organizations surveyed, only 3 out of 10 match customer expectations. Research also revealed over 80% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience. This holds broadly true across sectors and countries, with around one in ten consumers (9%) actually willing to increase their spending by more than half!

In today’s digital age, regardless of whether we’re buying in-store or online, consumers now have an almost unlimited amount of information at their fingertips in order to make a decision. If you can’t find a review for a particular product or supplier, you’re probably going to immediately question its quality. Third party endorsement from other consumers and industry experts such as Trip Advisor and Amazon are an absolutely essential ingredient in sales conversion.

This wealth of information also helps determine where a customer is going to get the product or service from. If Company A is the cheapest option but Company B offers free delivery, free returns, a 24-hour helpline and a 3-year warranty, it’s fair to say that savvy shoppers are going to opt for the pricier one, especially if they feel it is worth the extra value.

Recently, Capgemini found a distinct correlation between a high quality of service and price and revealed that 4 in 5 people are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.

So why is this?

 

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact we want our voices heard and our loyalty rewarded, and a great customer experience makes us feel like we have achieved this. In most customer experience circumstances it comes down to speed, convenience and low effort required from the customer.

As an organization you need to invest in the digital customer experience. Think about what your customers value and what they care about. What is the connection between you as a brand and your consumer? Internally, the data and touch points need to flow through your organization and allow you to manage and meet the expectations and desires of your customers. What would be your ideal digital customer experience? Determine that and you can reap significant rewards.

 

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How to Deliver Superior Customer Experiences

WOW customer service

First, let’s define customer experience. In essence, customer experience is the customer’s perception of how well you live up to your brand promise. If you fail to meet the expectations you have created, then that brand promise can become your undoing. With the influence of millennials and the power of social media, customers can cause more damage to your brand than ever before.

Most businesses want to create a compelling brand promise… otherwise what’s the point of having a brand? So how do you deliver on that promise? Check out these tips for building a superior customer experiences.

Listen to your Customers

Your customers are talking, tweeting, posting and livestreaming. They’re sending information about themselves and their interests into the world. Use these conversations to make meaningful decisions that improve the customer’s experience.

Active listening is the first step. At Microsoft, their social listening software pulls in about 150 million conversations each year. After cleaning out the irrelevant data, over 5 million conversations are handled personally. Ideas, suggestions and needs from customers are processed and forwarded to development teams, to be turned into product improvements. And once a product has been updated, the company circles back with those customers, letting them know. These customers, in turn, organically advocate on behalf of the brand and market Microsoft products to their networks.

The Knock it Out of the Park Strategy

Some brands simply deliver on their brand promise so spectacularly well that the standard of customer experience can only be admired. This is the “knock it out of the park strategy”. There is no brand that embodies this strategy more than Disney. They simply go further to deliver on their brand promise than almost any other company on the planet. Their guidelines: greet and welcome every guest, make eye contact and smile, seek out guest contact, provide immediate customer recovery, and display appropriate body language and thank everyone. This strategy is the hardest to implement and may be expensive to maintain, but it is the most powerful strategy and brands that adhere to it tend to stand the test of time.

The Over Deliver Strategy

If you promise a customer something and you deliver over what you promised, that is a great customer experience. The emphasis here is going that extra mile to surprise a customer with the quality of your service or product. Take Lidl for example. Lidl is a German-owned discount supermarket chain. Their products are typically sold out of their transport packaging rather than being stacked nicely on shelves. So how does Lidl over deliver? On the quality of their own brands. The competitive pricing and brand quality result in a very positive experience.

The Create the Perception of Over Delivery Strategy

Very similar to the previous strategy, but different because the under promising is more intentional than the over delivering. There is a hint of deviousness about this strategy, but if executed well it can be very effective. The aim is to promise customers less than the company normally expects to deliver so that average performance appears to be over delivering.

The Be as Honest and Transparent as Possible Strategy

This strategy involves telling customers exactly how things are going to go before it happens. By preparing the customer ahead of time, even if they dislike a situation or experience, they aren’t as likely to spread negative feedback because they were informed upfront. This is the purest strategy in the context of managing expectations. Wagamama is a hugely successful Japanese themed casual dining out chain of the UK. When you order your food the server informs you: “Because everything is cooked fresh, your dishes may be delivered to the table separately.” If that were to happen in any other restaurant, you would be fuming. But it becomes okay because Wagamama warns you as soon as you sit down. Transparency can be hugely valuable if used properly, and this is an excellent example.

Conclusion

The key lesson here is that branding and the creation of customer expectation are enormously important. Whichever one of these strategies you choose to employ, your entire organization needs to be geared up to execute on it. It only takes one employee to ruin the experience of dozens of customers and risk getting a whole host of negative reviews.

 

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