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Optimizing the Retail Experience

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Describing the relationship between a regular customer and a retail establishment (in this case a café), Ernest Hemingway wrote this in his story, “A Clean Well Lighted Place.” “‘Good night,’ the other said. Turning off the electric light he continued the conversation with himself, It was the light of course but it is necessary that […]

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The Simple Secrets of the Loyal Customer

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As a business owner or even a general manager, the ideal customer is the one you see on a daily basis, i.e. the returning customer. Obviously because a returning customer is one who regularly spends his or her money, but also because these are the customers who can potentially get your business more attention than […]

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Using Customer Exit Interviews for Customer Experience Optimization

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If you are serious about customer experience optimization, you need to hear from the people who leave your retail store without making a purchase. After all, for most businesses, that represents the majority of your traffic. Consider the advantages of conducting customer exit or intercept interviews and how to get the most out of them.

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Undercover Students in Colleges and Universities

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When universities work to attract students, they are doing more than just selling an education; they’re selling a lifetime experience. From initial information packets sent to prospective students still in high school, to student life literature sent during their undergraduate years, to post-graduation and alumni relations, each touch point should have a corresponding look and feel that supports the university’s goals for the student experience.

Gathering business intelligence by utilizing undercover students as mystery shoppers to measure these experiences is now a global best practice. The undercover student or mystery shopper poses as a student and engages the university with a particular interest. University administrators are then able to measure the interdependency of the touch points throughout the journey that define the university-student relationship.

Universities are complex places with many different facets that affect student life. For example, dining experiences or healthcare services at a university may garner complaints from students, so an “undercover student” can be deployed to determine what specific aspects of these experiences may need to be changed to improve the student experience.

Here are some possible questions about admissions, for example, that a university might use mystery shopping to answer:

• What are my competitors doing differently in their recruitment process?
• Is my institution well presented in social media?
• Is our application process easy to navigate and are all entrance requirements easily found on our website?
• Are we missing any important information on our website?
• How quickly should I respond to queries, and how quick are my peers in answering such requests?

Measuring the experiences students have at a university enables cause-and-effect linkage with the metrics universities track today and, ultimately, students’ willingness to give back to the university when they are alumni. Metrics could be financial or more qualitative:
• Within the bookstore, test “suggestive selling” behavior to see how it increases the average size of sale or units per transaction.
• Determine what impact a program has on the number and type of student complaints.
Employing frontline research – like mystery shoppers – to shape university life from start to finish, will have a positive impact on a college’s bottom line from tuition to donations.

Universities compete with each other for the best students and the most efficient and effective way of reaching these students. By using mystery shoppers, you can walk in their shoes and gauge best practices for competing in today’s educational marketplace.

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Customer Retention Depends on Customer Experience

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Why do customers leave? Many businesses think that price is the main factor which leads customers to look for another option. But in reality, far more customers leave because of unsatisfactory customer service. Statistics gathered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and SBA indicate that 68% of customers leave because they are upset with the way they have been treated by a business. Over two-thirds of customer loss has some connection with customer service.

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Increase Sales with Retail Point of Sale Optimization

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Everyone has seen candy bars and magazines at the checkouts in the grocery store, but retailers in many other niches often miss out on the power of retail point of sale optimization and all of the upsells that can go with it.

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Does My Company Need A Touchpoint Map?

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It’s all about our two most important assets; employees and customers. If it weren’t for this important human dimension our businesses wouldn’t be here today, right? However, as we go through the daily grind, we can sometimes lose sight of the real reason behind what we’re doing – to provide great working environment filled with […]

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Compliance Intelligence: Helping health care insurers maneuver legal landscape, project positive brand image

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has opened a vast marketplace for today’s health care insurers as millions of Americans shop for coverage in compliance with the new health care reform law. Yet at the same time, this business boon brings to the forefront an array of highly complex and challenging compliance issues. Agent […]

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Create Value with Customer Complaints

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The negative feedback that comes from customers in the form of complaints and poor reviews creates an opportunity to boost consumer confidence and better orient your company to the demands of the consumer. Dealing effectively with customer complaints is essential in an Internet-driven marketplace. A customer may share their positive experience with a few friends, […]

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The customer journey map knows no borders: International mystery shopping ensures brand and service consistency across countries and cultures

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Globalization. It’s proven an enormous boon for some of the most recognized names in corporate America – from Wal-Mart to General Electric, from Ford to McDonald’s. These U.S. firms and so many more like them have capitalized on rapid growth in emerging markets like China, India, Europe and Latin America, earning stronger profits than if […]

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