Mystery Shopper Companies Maximize Customer Satisfaction

Mystery Shopper Companies Maximize Customer Satisfaction

If anything has been learned this past holiday season, it’s that the American consumer-that most tried and true, gifts-seeking champion-long in hibernation, has finally resurfaced.

Times have changed, the market if different, but the American shopper is back. And while they may now be armed with a debit card rather than their American Express, and they’re spending again – and they’re spending in stores.

That’s right: the American consumer has not turned its back on old Brick and Mortar. It’s excellent news if you are a retailer, but what now? Have you prepared to turn this new foot traffic into repeat business?
With all the media focus on online shopping in the last ten years, it’s easy to forget that most consumers still prefer a tangible, in-person shopping experience.

As reported by the Chicago Sun Times, 2010’s “Super Saturday” (the last Saturday before Christmas) sales rose 15.1 percent from the previous year, up to $7.58 billion nationwide, and many large chains are using their new social media presence to drive foot traffic back into their stores. This has influenced many stores to devote more resources towards improving their shopper’s in-store experience, and many are doing so by employing the services of mystery shopper companies.

Its perfect timing, in our current up-trending retail climate, now is a perfect time to re-evaluate and improve customer service through feedback. Mystery shopping firms are an effective way of turning higher in-store foot traffic into more loyal customers and increased repeat business. And if you are not up to date on what mystery shopper companies can do nowadays, know that feedback provided through mystery shopping is more advanced and further reaching than it ever has been.

Now when mystery shopping began, it may have only been a single shopper giving a grade, coupled perhaps with a written report. Today, that’s only scratching the surface. With a combination of technology and good old-fashioned groundwork, mystery shopping feedback now addresses a company’s complex system of strengths and needs in its entirety. The shoppers are still around (and their processes have improved over the years, to be sure), but now they’re backed by customer feedback surveys, audits, brand research, consultative meetings and more. When working with certain firms, you can even personalize the services you think will best benefit your brand.

You may be asking, how does this all relate to your specific store?

While it’s true that the American shopper is feeling a renewed sense of confidence and empowerment, the world’s economic woes have not completely healed. We all know that retail is often the first sector to take a hit in such austere times, so the need for retailers to maximize any positive trend is paramount.

Shoppers are spending more, but when they are spending they are spending more carefully. To capitalize on this, your customer experience must be the best. By entering stores in dramatically increased numbers as they have been, customers around the nation are demonstrating that the in-store experience matters to them-that they want to touch, smell and talk about the things they are interested in buying.

The new, highly selective American shopper will gravitate towards the brick and mortar experience that benefits them the most. In a time when the retail market is finally loosening, it only makes sense that one of your first investments should be into improving your own customer service.

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