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Archive for the ‘Mystery Shopping’ Category

mystery-shopping

Mystery shopping is a popular research method used to gather feedback from an audience. It’s common for mystery shopping to be conducted in-person, but can also be conducted via phone or by making online inquiries. Mystery shopping is not solely used for retail research, as it is commonly known for. During a mystery shop, a trained researcher evaluates several factors that impact their experience. If they are rating an in-person experience at a restaurant, retail shop, or event facility, the researcher will often evaluate factors such as food, staff interactions, and/or amenities. Telephone mystery shops are insightful for companies which employ customer service representatives that interact with clients/customers over the phone. Researchers can evaluate the experience by acting as a customer and investigating factors such as the friendliness of staff, knowledge of staff, and speed of resolution. Mystery shops are also valuable for companies providing an online service or product. Researchers may gather mystery shopping data by performing actions such as filling out an online inquiry form, making a purchase, or utilizing the online “chat” feature to evaluate the customer service experience. Regardless of the where the mystery shopping takes place, the researcher should be prepared to assess the factors most important to your company by developing an evaluation form. Results will allow your organization to obtain feedback regarding the customer experience and determine areas of opportunity to increase your competitiveness in the market. Below are three tips when preparing for a mystery shopping project.

Be Informed

A great market research firm will do their due diligence and ensure their mystery shoppers are informed on the company’s products, services, location(s), and other factors that may impact the research. To gather rich data, it’s imperative that the mystery shopper be comfortable with their surroundings (in the case of an in-person mystery shop), and be familiar with what the company offers so they are prepared to handle any unexpected questions from a customer service associate or staff member. Now that technology plays a large role in the guest experience for many businesses, it’s important for mystery shoppers to visit the company website and review social media accounts to get a picture of the company prior to conducting the research.

Create an Evaluation Form

In order to collect great data, the market research firm should create an evaluation form, including questions which address all factors that the client would like feedback on. This form should be created prior to conducting mystery shops, and is filled out by the researcher following the event.  Some mystery shops may also require a scenario which outlines the “role” that the mystery shopper should play when collecting data. The goal is to investigate potential paths of the customer experience by determining how the staff deals with the inquiry/issue. This is popular among banks and credit unions evaluating their customer service and banking procedures. RMS has also created in-depth mystery shopping scenarios for law firms investigating their competitors, and medical practices investigating the patient experience. With mystery shopping, the possibilities are nearly endless and can be customized to fit the needs of any business.

Ensure Objective Feedback

A third party is a key element to protecting the confidentiality of the project and ensuring the collection of quality data. If a company were to use its own staff, there is a risk that employees would recognize the employee and ultimately discredit the project findings. Even in large organizations where an employee could be pulled from another branch or location, there is a conflict of interest since the employee is invested in the success of the company. This makes it more difficult for them to provide constructive criticism which may ultimately be the information needed to make the company more competitive in the market. For the mystery shopping project to be successful, the researcher needs to be completely objective and take on the persona of a customer.

RMS is a full-service market research firm and has conducted mystery shops in a wide array of settings (hotels, banks, credit unions, law firms, medical practices, and retail environments). If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com.

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The following post was written by Mark Dengler, President at RMS.

dog (2)

As summer starts to wind down, I trust that folks are enjoying the sunny and hot weather. However, don’t be fooled by these hazy days. Companies can’t afford to be lazy. Summer is actually an excellent time to work on relationship marketing strategies with existing and prospective customers. It is an opportunity to reach out and touch base with key contacts and connections.

“Relationship Marketing” is a marketing approach that focuses on building strong customer relationships and long term engagement. It is often associated with customer loyalty program development, but can prove very effective in prospecting and enhancing brand awareness. It is built upon communication strategies that encourage two-way interaction and engagement. Obviously, it is critical to be utilizing relationship marketing strategies throughout the entire year, however the summer is a particularly good time to connect with folks. For many, this popular vacation season slows the deadline-focused intensity in companies, and people are more willing to interact.

Over the next couple of weeks, it makes sense to consider implementing the following key marketing strategies to better position your organization for a strong fourth quarter and building strong relationships:

  1. Identify your top customers and make a personal inquiry as to their needs and satisfaction with your product/service. Your senior leadership should be involved with this activity. Simply by asking for customer feedback, you demonstrate to customers their value.
  2. Mystery Shop your organization. It was Maya Angelou who said “people may forget what is said or done, but they never forget how you made them feel.” This quote embodies the heart of customer relations. Companies need to look at their own processes from this perspective, making sure that customers and prospects have a positive interaction experience.
  3. Examine your “listening posts.” What are the ways that customers and prospects inform you of their needs and experiences? Do you have listening posts? Are these being used? Now may be the perfect time to enhance your tools of interaction. Refresh your website capabilities. Implement a customer survey. Conduct some key research in-depth interviews. Find effective ways to “listen” to your customers and prospects so that you can continue to meet their needs.
  4. Focus on informing rather than promoting. Companies that look to position themselves as knowledgeable experts in a particular area are able to build market followers. These followers include both customer and prospects. Establish your organization as a go to source for information. Look to offer free resources such as white papers, webinars, and podcasts.
  5. Optimize social media to depict your organization’s culture and values. In building relationships, people want to affiliate with those that are most like them, hence the term homophily. This is true with organization affiliation as well. Companies need to promote their culture, values and beliefs to help brand themselves. It serves as a means for individuals to identify and affiliate with. With evermore competition, this approach is a way to differentiate your organization and foster strong relationships.

Summer is definitely a great time to enhance your relationship marketing with customers and prospects. And it never hurts to take advantage of the sunny weather in the meantime.

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a full service marketing and market research firm located in Baldwinsville, NY. RMS provides an array of research methodologies that result in actionable analytics and recommendations for the client to enhance decision making. RMS is also home to QualiSight, a premier focus group and interview research facility, and RMS ViewPoint, a leading consumer research panel in Central New York. Visit our website at RMSresults.com.

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The following post was co-written with Zach Shaw, Panel Associate at RMS

blog-qual-quan

What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is a non-numerical method used to discover and understand consumer behavior, beliefs, attitudes, experiences, and interactions. Qualitative data is often implemented during the exploratory phase of the research, using unstructured or semi structured techniques to facilitate an open dialogue with the participant(s). Giving the participant more freedom in their response allows them to provide more detail than can be gathered through closed-ended quantitative research. Instead of looking for statistical comparisons, qualitative researchers will evaluate the gathered data to identify trends given by the recipients, and implement solutions.

Types of Qualitative Research:

  • Focus Groups – A focus group includes a small number of people (often 10 or less) brought together to participate in a guided discussion by a moderator. The discussion focuses on specific products, topics, or services, and follows a pre-determined focus group moderator’s guide. The moderator’s guide outlines the questions to be covered, as well as the topics for which the moderator should expect to probe deeper for additional explanation.
  • Intercept Surveys –An intercept survey is a very brief, in-person interview with a participant and an interviewer. For example, the interviewer might approach someone leaving a retail store and ask them a few questions about their experience.
  • In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) –IDIs often take the form of a one-on-one discussion between an interviewer and participant. The interviewer typically follows a semi-structured interview guide, developed prior to the conversation, to direct the discussion. It is common for IDIs to be completed in-person, over the phone, or via the web.
  • Mystery Shopping – Mystery shopping is used to measure the quality of a service, compliance with regulations, or to gather specific information about products and services. This method allows the client to obtain competitive information without being involved in the process. Mystery shoppers often gather this information through telephone calls or by visiting the store and acting as a customer.

Why do Qualitative research?

Qualitative research can be used at any phase of research, but is most commonly done as a first or last step in the research cycle. It can be very valuable when developing new products or marketing initiatives that are looking to gauge consumer perceptions. Qualitative data allows the researcher to have in-depth discussions with participants and allows the researcher to gather more detailed information on consumer needs, behaviors, desires, routines, and a range of other information that companies use for designing products and services. The depth of qualitative research allows the researcher to uncover contextual details that may be overlooked in quantitative research.

What is Quantitative Research?

Quantitative research looks for patterns in numeric data and is generally better for confirming and clarifying a research hypothesis. Applying statistical tests to numerical data provides a better understanding of trends, allowing the researcher to make more informed statements about the results. RMS customizes each questionnaire to the needs of the client, but many of the questionnaires follow a structured outline and are primarily made up of closed-ended questions with provided response options for the participant to choose from. This structured approach to research is different than the more conversational approach used in qualitative research.

Types of Quantitative research:

  • Mail/Paper Surveys – A mail or paper survey is a questionnaire that is completed by the participant on a hard copy rather than in digital form. These types of surveys can either be distributed via postal mail or given to the recipient in person to complete. Mail or paper surveys are a great option for populations which may not have easy access to a computer or the internet, but are known for often having a lower response rate than other types of quantitative research.
  • Mixed Mode – Mixed mode research involves more than one type of data collection. For example, data may be collected with a combination of research methods to reach the desired populations. Phone surveys could be used to collect data from an older population who is more likely to have a landline; online surveys may be distributed to those younger than the population receiving the phone surveys, and paper surveys would be used to collect data from the subset of the population who does not have immediate access to a phone or the internet. A mixed-mode approach allows the researcher to ensure data is collected from the target population of interest, with a mode that is most comfortable to that population.
  • Online Surveys – An online survey is a digital version of a questionnaire. Participants may be sent a survey link that is embedded within an email, or they may access it on a social media post, which they can complete online.
  • Telephone Surveys – A telephone survey is completed over the phone. The interviewer takes the participant through the questionnaire question by question.

Why do Quantitative research?

Quantitative research often gathers a larger number of responses, allowing the researcher to make more reliable assumptions regarding the resulting data. Quantitative research questions can be used to measure consumer feelings, satisfaction, and other factors in a structured form, giving the recipient limited response options.  This quantifiable approach to research is a great option when a client has a sense of what their target audience thinks, feels, or expects, but would like to further test their assumptions.

RMS is a full-service market research firm located in Syracuse, NY. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Senior Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422. Visit our website at www.RMSresults.com

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student satisfaction research

Attrition is a growing concern among higher education institutions. Students are no longer starting and completing their college education at one institution, and competition is on the rise to keep them engaged.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 33% of first-time college freshmen will not return to the same institution for the following academic year.1  Even fewer complete a program after six years at private for-profit schools, where 68% drop out. The outlook is not as grim at nonprofit private schools and public colleges, where 33% and 43% fail to graduate after six years, respectively. Interestingly, institutions that are more selective in their admissions process (those with the lowest admissions rates) experience higher graduation rates (33%), on average, than those who have open admissions policies (86%).2 So what influences these high attrition rates? Many factors, including customer service, finances, scheduling options, personal reasons, and perceived value of education may be playing a role. The cost to retain a student is much lower than the cost to recruit a replacement, so it’s important for an institution to pinpoint the issues affecting their campus, and create strategies to increase retention rates.

Here are some options for gauging student satisfaction with an institution.

  • Quick Pulse Telephone Surveying

A quick pulse telephone survey is a short (10-15 question) survey that offers the fastest turnaround time from start to finish. This type of study is often completed in about a week, and results in a report that can include: results that are representative of the student population, overall student satisfaction with your institution to create a benchmark for ongoing research, opportunities for your institution to effectively meet the needs of students, an estimated return rate of students (overall, and by class), and an assessment of the effectiveness of seminar and acclimation programs. More information on the quick pulse telephone survey process can be found here.

  • Student Satisfaction Online Survey

Conducting an online survey is a cost-effective option for examining student satisfaction. This method is frequently used to ascertain the factors affecting the retention rate among current students. Prospective students (including those who made an inquiry but failed to enroll) and alumni can be included in the research to provide a holistic review of the student experience. Online surveys often include approximate 20 questions and last less than 10 minutes. This methodology provides administration with a detailed report of the findings which can be disseminated to faculty and staff as the institution sees fit.

  • Mystery Shopping

Through mystery shopping, researchers can gain a full-circle look at the student’s experience at an institution. From the initial campus inquiry to the application and enrollment process and beyond, researchers can utilize in-person visits, phone, and online touch points to evaluate all aspects of a student’s academic experience. This “boots on the ground” approach can provide an institution with an inside view that would be hard to obtain through other methods. Research can be customized to include an evaluation of as many, or as few, touch points that the institution would like to investigate.

Are your students happy? RMS has all the tools and resources to conduct your student satisfaction research. Studies conducted by a third-party yield more honest and accurate responses from students when compared with those administered by the institution. If you’re interested in learning more about student satisfaction research, please contact our Sr. Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy, Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 1-866-567-5422.

  1. http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php?measure=92
  2. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40

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Mystery shopping or secret shopping is just one of the many market research services we offer here at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS).  When businesses think of market research, surveys and focus groups often come to mind first.  Therefore, other atypical methodologies such as observational research, shop-alongs, and mystery shopping often pique the interest of our clients.  We have done a number of mystery shopping projects in a wide array of industries including higher-education and financial services.  Some other mystery shopping blog posts we’ve covered here on this blog include:

With that in mind, we decided to provide you four basic tips for mystery shopping.  Consider these four tips to improve the experience and provide your client with more accurate data from the qualitative/evaluation process.

1) Do a little research beforehand. If you have a telephone mystery shop or in-person mystery shop, it’s in your best interest to do a little research on the location beforehand.  Most (if not all) businesses have a website, Facebook page, or some kind of online presence.  Be sure to visit that site and learn what you can – office layout, directions to get there, FAQs, etc.  A little insight beforehand will help you feel more at ease and relaxed and eliminate some of the unexpected.

2) Know your evaluation criteria. Market research firms will consult with the end-client to develop an evaluation form that the mystery shopper fills out after the experience is over with.  So it’s important to understand which topics or which questions the client needs answers for.  If you have a firm grasp of the script/form beforehand, it will be a lot easier to focus on and remember those tidbits from your mystery shop afterwards.

3) Be objective. This may be the most crucial tip in this series.  Go into the mystery shop with a blank slate.  Act as a real customer who walks into the office or the store.  Don’t over-think minor details that may not truly impact your experience.  It’s very difficult to do, but as a mystery shopper you need to be as objective as possible.  For example, let’s say you are in a drug store to evaluate the ability of employees to help you find a product you need.  Just based on the situation itself you will be more aware of little nuances that you may not have noticed as a normal customer – a dirty shelf where the vitamins are located, the employee who helped you had messy hair, etc.  Just don’t let these little things impact your overall experience to an extreme negative.  Maybe you noticed these little details but the employee was extremely helpful, answered all your questions, and showed you a cheaper generic vitamin for half the price.  Be objective, and put yourself in the shoes of a normal everyday customer of what matters most to your experience.

4) Spend a little more time on open-ends and comments. Some barriers with mystery shops is the disconnect between shopper and analyst.  A lot of the time during mystery shopping projects that involve a lot of completes, the market research firm is forced to use secondary (non-analyst) staff to do the shops.  Therefore the analyst or manager who deals directly with the client and writes the report might be in the dark.  Your job as a mystery shopper is to recreate your experience on paper.  So the analyst feels like he/she was the one who actually did the shop.  This tip on open-ends and narrative is crucial.

mystery shopping firm Syracuse ny

Next time you have a mystery shop or secret shop, keep this tips in mind.  They will help produce an easier, more focused, objective, and more well-rounded recall of the experience.  If you are interested in speaking to someone at a mystery shopping firm to discuss what RMS can do for your company, email our Director of Business Development Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or call her at 315-635-9802.

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This post was written by our guest blogger Mark Dengler, President of Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), a market research firm in Syracuse, NY.

What is mystery shopping or secret shopping? Mystery shopping can come in all forms – from phone calls, online inquiries and most commonly, in-person visits. Typically, a script or checklist of what is expected from an employee and/or a customer experience is developed. Posing as a customer, a researcher then analyzes the experience, collecting data and rating the encounter based on those measures. Mystery shopping has become a popular market research tool for monitoring customer experience.

With more in-depth mystery shopping projects, clients may create scenarios of specific situations that a customer would bring to a company to see how the staff deals with the issue.  These scenarios can be as uncomplicated or as complex as requested. Information collected from mystery shopping experiences is used to continually track performance of employees.

What is mystery shopping market research firm in syracuse ny

Unlike other market research that companies may contemplate doing in-house, mystery shopping requires a third-party vendor due to the element of disguise. A company cannot use its own staff because targeted employees may recognize the mystery shoppers, thereby biasing the research results. Even if someone was pulled from a different department to do the mystery shopping, there is no guarantee they would be 100 percent objective.

RMS recently wrapped up a project with a client that wanted to test how well clerks were selling a specific brand of cigarettes in a convenience store. The client undertook an advertising push to promote their cigarettes and employees were trained to encourage the brand sales at the register. Employees were told of their expectations.

RMS researchers created different scenarios whereby mystery shoppers would walk in and ask for a competitive cigarette brand and see if the clerk suggested the client’s brand instead (as instructed).  If the clerk failed to mention the brand, RMS asked its shoppers to inquire about the client’s brand to hear how the clerk responded. The mystery shopper also noted how well the brand was advertised at the point-of-sale, how friendly/knowledgeable the clerk was, and specific stock levels of each cigarette brand. At the conclusion, the mystery shopper rated the overall experience.

Through this research, RMS was able to provide the client with feedback on specific employees, specific store locations, and provide data on the cigarette’s advertising campaign execution – all from the perspective of an everyday customer.

Are you interested in using mystery shopping services provided by RMS?  Contact or Director of Business Development, Sandy Baker, at SandyB@RMSresults.com or give us a call at 315-635-9802.  We can customize a mystery shopping project for you no matter where you are located.

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We’ve covered mystery shopping before in a number of different posts.  Those blog posts defined mystery shopping as a market research service designed to measure the quality of customer service or gather specific information about products and services.  Mystery shopping accomplishes that by sending a trained secret shopper into a facility or storefront to evaluate their experience as a true customer.  The mystery shopper knows they are there to evaluate the customer service, while the customer service rep treats the mystery shopper as a true customer.  Our past secret shopping posts focused a lot on benefits and examples of our mystery shopping services in Syracuse, NY. However, this post will focus more on refining the logistics of these specific market research studies to provide the researcher with more comprehensive findings.

Mystery shopping is in essence, a very subjective evaluation of a process.  Training is put in place at the front end to ensure that shoppers evaluate their experience based on the same factors.  However, many unforeseen variables may impact the ratings for specific categories.  For example, the customer service rep may not have answered your question completely, but the rep was very accommodating and answered as best he/she could.  Case in point, the mystery shopper is asked on their evaluation form, “How well did the customer service rep answer your question?”  The shopper may be more inclined to rate that interaction more positively because of the kind effort.  This subjectivity can be minimized through good training and experienced/objective shoppers, but these variables that impact ratings are always on the table.

This emphasizes the necessity to allow room for narrative on your mystery shopping evaluation forms.  Don’t just ask your mystery shoppers to rate a bunch of factors on a scale of 1-10.  Have the mystery shopper explain why they rated each factor the way they did.  In some cases, the analysts working on the report may actually do all or some of the mystery shops, which offers great value.  I would recommend this if it’s possible.  However, if the project is large enough, the research team will need to use other resources to complete the shops, which create disconnect between analyst/reporter and the evaluator/shopper.  Therefore, it’s recommended you add additional quality control measures to provide your client with the most reflective data as possible. 

Mystery Shopping Services Syracuse NY

Based on Communication Model from Darkshire.net

One thing improve the form’s quality is to add a full-page to the end of each mystery shopping evaluation form to allow for the mystery shopper to write a story of what happened from start to finish.  This narrative provides the analyst insight as to exactly what happened on the telephone call or the in-person shop.  This narrative might also point out some overlooked findings that the shopper might not think matters, but may be an interesting finding for the analyst or client.  This page allows the analyst and client to feel like they were there without being there.

  • Vance, our Senior Research Analyst and bunker author states, “incorporating more narrative is a way to take advantage of the inherent subjectivity of the methodology. Mystery shoppers are subjective, but so are real shoppers. A narrative approach captures something close to what a real shopper might talk about their experience with a friend – thereby giving the client true word of mouth type insights/feedback.”

Another thing we consider is scheduling a window of time after each mystery shop is completed to have the analyst quickly debrief with each shopper.  This will help clarify exactly what happened during the experience.  It will also add some more depth to each evaluation form and give an opportunity for the analyst to further train each shopper.

Do you have questions about how to best set up your mystery shopping project?  Contact Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), a market research firm in Syracuse, NY, by calling 1-866-567-5422.

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The pure definition of mystery shopping or secret shopping, whether it is done in Syracuse, Upstate New York, or anywhere across the globe, is a form of market research designed to measure the quality of retail service or gather specific information about products and services.  Although, I believe it should not be limited to only retail specific experiences.

As is the case with most market research, tools are designed to analyze the end-user, whereas mystery shopping or secret shopping is designed to analyze the point-of-contact delivering the experience to the end-user.  Therefore the analysis is focused on the process rather than the end-result.  Through past projects here at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) outside of Syracuse, NY, we have managed many mystery shopping projects that go well beyond point of contact from a retail perspective.

In general, some clients have internal research departments who conduct their own market research, while other smaller clients utilize their staff to do market research through less than optimal survey tools such as SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang.  Mystery shopping services are a core competency for RMS.  Our clients come to us because they can’t do it in-house.  Employers cannot send out their own employees to mystery shop one another (or at least they shouldn’t).  There are lots of issues that are inherent with one employee with his/her own agenda, mystery shopping another employee.  Let alone, if he or she was recognized.

Mystery Shopping or Secret Shopping can extend far beyond researching a simple retail exchange.  Here is just a sample of projects where RMS has provided mystery shopping services:

  • A local college used RMS to design, conduct and report on mystery shops to admissions counselors and campus tour guides.  The college is using the mystery shopping to improve their initial student experiences.
  • A health insurance company that provides coverage in Syracuse, NY used RMS to conduct mystery shopping calls around appointment availability at specific doctors’ offices.  The insurance company is using the mystery shopping to garner information on access to care.
  • As a component of a feasibility study, a local senior living provider used RMS to conduct competitive research on other senior living options in the Greater Syracuse area.  The mystery shopping calls collected information on competitive rates, service offerings, occupancy rates, and availability.
  • Similar to the prior bullet, a local real estate client used RMS to conduct another form of competitive research around apartment living offerings in the city of Syracuse.  Similarly, mystery shopping information was collected on rates, service offerings, occupancy rates, and availability.

Interested in mystery shopping or secret shopping services in Syracuse, NY?  Contact Sandy Baker, our Director of Business Development, at 315-635-9802 or SandyB@RMSresults.com.

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Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) has noticed a trend of clients requesting more and more mystery shopping services in Central NY over the past few years. The need for a third-party vendor for this type of market research activity is crucial. Unlike other market research you may contemplate doing in-house, with this you can’t use your own staff to do mystery shopping on fellow colleagues.  They may obviously recognize them, biasing the research. And, even if you pulled someone from a different department to do the secret shopping, how can you be 100% certain they can be objective? It requires the shopper to be anonymous and unbiased.

Click here for a Bunker Blog post on doing market research in-house.

This type of research can come in all forms – phone calls, online inquiries and most commonly, in-person visits.  By commissioning a firm like RMS to conduct mystery shops, we can do research and analyze the actual point of contact or point of entry of your own customers.  We become your customers and analyze our experiences from a researcher’s objective point of view.  RMS works with our clients to create a script or checklist of what management expects a customer representative to say while dealing with a customer.  We also analyze the data and rate the experience based on those measures.

In more in-depth mystery shopping projects, RMS can work with the client to create scenarios of specific situations a customer could bring to a company to see how the reps may deal with the issue.  These scenarios can be as uncomplicated or as complex as requested. Information can be used to continually track performance of your employees.  Some clients choose to inform their employees that they will be mystery shopped in the future. This often results in improved service, just knowing they may be dealing with a mystery shopper at any time.  Other clients choose not to inform staff at first so they can compare and contrast a before and after.  This baseline – before and after – methodology is recommended by RMS so a benchmark is created.

Click here for a Bunker Blog post on the importance of benchmarking.

RMS Example: We just wrapped up a project with a client who wanted to test how well clerks were selling a specific brand of cigarettes in a convenience store. The client recently underwent an advertising push in convenience stores all across Central NY to promote their cigarettes. Employees were encouraged to promote the brand at the register. RMS set up different scenarios where our mystery shoppers would walk in and request a competitive brand and see if the clerk suggested the client’s brand instead (as instructed).  If the clerk didn’t, we asked the shoppers to inquire about the client’s brand to hear how the clerk responded. The mystery shopper also noted how well the brand was advertised, how friendly/knowledgeable the clerk was, specific stock levels of each brand, and ratings for the overall experience. Through this research we provided the client with feedback on specific employees, specific store locations, and data on the cigarettes advertising campaign – all from the perception of their everyday customers.

Interested in how mystery shopping  in Syracuse NY can help your business? Visit our website in the toolbar to our right for more information on Research & Marketing Strategies.

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