Interest Rates Rises and Christmas

On the 2nd of November, the Bank of England raised the base rate from 0.25% to 0.50%, in an attempt to tackle inflation following the post-Brexit economic slowdown. The term interest rate refers to the amount that is due to be charged to the borrower as interest and it comes as a percentage of the loan in question. While the rise in interest rates won’t affect savers much, it might affect small businesses, first-time homeowners and mortgage payers.

As a result of the higher interest rates and worries over the consequent slowing down of the economy, retailers are growing more and more anxious over people’s sending money, especially so now, during the run up to Christmas. Many families find this time of the year particularly stressful, as buying presents, as well as food and drinks, puts a lot of pressure on the finances of the household. To understand how much the recent announcement will impact buyers and retailers alike we have asked the following question to an anonymous panel:

Given the recent increase in the Bank Of England base interest rate do you think you will be spending more, less OR about the same in the shops, in the run up to Christmas?

We received a great response, with 1545 people giving their opinion and showing how important this topic is during these uncertainty filled times. Both retailers and families alike might be happy to know that the poll show an overwhelming 82% of respondents predicting they will be spending the same average amount as the past years, 4% saying they would spend more and 14% voting they would spend less.

The results clearly show that the rise in interest rates will not impact Christmas spending as much as many retailers feared it would. HSBC’s James Sawley declared: “It’s a squeeze of sorts, of course, but not at a level which would have a knock-on impact for retailers on the high street”. While this might be reassuring, other experts have considered the sole psychological effect of the announcement as a worrying sign for future spending and many retailers have started selling Christmas products and launched sales back in October to make sure the interest rates did not affect their turnover.

2017 has seen a 43% rise in discounted products in October, which is a very uncharacteristic move according to shopping experts. This also shows, however, that this climate of uncertainty might push planning over last-minute buys. This might mean that while people might be spending the same average amount as the past years, they might be doing so gradually.

What are your thoughts on the rise of interest rates? Will you be spending more or less this Christmas?


Is upselling good customer service?

We have all been victims of it. You are in a cafe or a restaurant, you have chosen and ordered a yummy meal and you are excited to finally eat your lunch. As you are about to pay, the nice lady at the counter asks “Would you like dessert for only £1 more?” All of us has experienced upselling in one way or another. On one hand, the extra pound spent for an additional item is a great deal. But on the other side, the cafe has led you to spend more money for something you didn’t really want.

According to research conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health and Slimming World, upselling also leads to health dangers. While it might be easy to see the sole monetary value of the deal, it is also important to see this in terms of calorie intake. While it is true you are spending extra pounds, you are also eating extra calories. According to research, upselling alone leads to 17,000 extra calories per person per year. This data is particularly concerning, as obesity is slowly but surely becoming a big danger for many people in the UK and worldwide.

Emotionally, for a lot of people struggling with their weight, those extra calories can be seen in a very damaging way. Many customers are filled with guilt and regret after they fall for an upsell. Which may lead them to have a potentially bad connection with the business that led them to have negative emotions.  

Great customer service and the ability to upsell products do not always go hand in hand. Upselling, in fact, can generally be considered an annoyance by some people.

To understand this further, we asked a number of people how they felt on the matter. We had over 1076 responses and our the findings were:

It annoys me – 45%

I don’t mind – 55%

While the majority of those who participated in the poll don’t mind upselling, the results are pretty tight. The general consensus is that upselling is seen as a somewhat controversial topic, which leads to general divide. When a percentage as high as 45% is annoyed by a sales strategy, they are generally associating it with bad customer service, which is likely to hurt the brand as a result.

While we doubt upselling is going to stop anytime soon, we hope businesses will start being more responsible and caring when it comes to their sales strategy. If you are unsure about the quality of customer service your clients are receiving, why not use a mystery shopping company, such as Retail Maxim? We can help you understand problems and future areas of improvement. Contact us for more information.

5 Tips for Great Customer Service

Regardless of the line of business you are in, the customer service you are providing should be top priority.

Without quality customer service, not only will the marketing likely fail but also the business’ itself will be in a precarious position.

To keep those customer’s returning and have really great customer service, we’re sharing some tips below.

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Mystery Shopping Myths: Debunked!

It is incredibly exciting to become a mystery shopper and receive your first assignment.

The world of mystery shopping, although beneficial in many many ways, is frequently misunderstood.

We’re looking into some common myths about mystery shopping and debunking them along the way!

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Beginner’s guide to Mystery Shopping!

We have all heard about Mystery Shopping, but can we really use it to make extra cash and how can we go about it? Here are some tips and suggestions to shop for free:

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Why Customer Service Is Important

Customer service is one of the main aspects a customer will judge a business on.

It is your responsibility, as the business owner, to deliver the service a customer expects from using your products/services.

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Retail Maxim’s Fundraising Success for Colleague

Earlier this year, a colleague of ours’ son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Due to this, his mother must test his blood every 2 hours leading to the two of them being unable to enjoy a full night’s sleep.

We discovered that they were able to purchase a continuous glucose monitor retailing for £750, as this is not available through the NHS, we set on a fundraising mission.

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3 ways to prevent poor customer service

What determines the true cost of poor customer service? The short answer is that there isn’t an equation to help determine how much you are losing by poor customer service.

No two customers or businesses are the same but the negative impact of producing poor customer service can be similar, if not the same.

For each customer that is lost from poor customer service, you lose new customers that could have been referred to you. Along with that, your brand’s reputation could be damaged and brand loyalty. This will further negatively impact your performance and profits.

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How mystery shopping can improve customer service

Mystery shopping is a popular tool used by many businesses to measure the quality of their services or product delivery from a consumer perspective.

Many times the actual delivery at the retail outlet is not up to par with the company’s policies and claims and mystery shoppers can help the company pick out whether their frontline staff is providing customers the standard of service expected of them.

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Working as a mystery shopper

It is possible that in some point of your life you’ve been standing in a queue at a retail store next to a mystery shopper.

They’ll be hard to spot, seemingly shopping for a night out for essentials, but what they are doing is taking mental notes of the stores’ appearance, cleanliness, and service of the store.

There are roughly 50,000 mystery shopping trips carried out every month in the UK, as stated by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), and as more and more spending takes place online, the demand for mystery shoppers is increasing.

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