Tips for successful customer support

Mystery shopping is all about satisfying the customer, as their satisfaction is the key component for the success of a business.

Customers are expectant of quick, efficient service; they expect not to be put on hold and will look towards social media to add a complaint or ask a question.

Below, we’ve listed a selection of tips to ensure that your customer service is of the highest standards online:

Deal with common questions

FAQs (frequently asked questions) are a brilliant way of reducing the amount of repetitive questions that are asked, by featuring a well thought-out FAQ on your website, customers will be able to see that their query may have been answered.
Include warranty information, video clips, return and exchange policies and anything you thing customers may find useful from your company; it gives a sense of being ahead of the game.

Instant responses

Automatic responses stating that someone will be replying to a query 24 – 48 hours later is unacceptable, your customers will have sought out service elsewhere by then.
Deter from automated responses and implement a policy somewhere that you will strive to get back to queries within so many hours or as quick as possible.

Speedy on social media

A majority of customer will look to social media to ask questions or complain, and because of platform not being an official means of branding for your business (more for advertisements etc.) you should be able to reply quickly, without solving the question at the present time, but assuring them you are there and have heard their request.

Privacy

A customer’s privacy should be of utmost importance, do not, under any circumstances, ask for a customer’s personal bank details.
This information will not only put them at risk, but your business is likely to make customers feel uncomfortable and they will lose trust in your brand.

Careful of jargon

Ensure that your customer service representatives understand that not every customer they come into contact with will understand the common jargon used in your area of industry.
Use clear replies and be direct when answering questions – too much detail can be confusing.

Be calm

Customer support teams will need to have thick skin to be able to deal with angry customers, it’s not professional to shout at customers who are shouting at you.
By being calm and handling the situation with apologies, it should lower the temper of the customer.

For more information on customer service tips, or our services we offer, please visit our website!

3 Common Managerial Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

As managers lead their teams and projects, they strive for improvement in each aspect of their work. Specifically, the most effective improvement opportunities likely exist with how managers manage their employees- individually and as a collective team.

Here are tips on how to avoid the 3 most common mistakes that managers make with their employees – and, how they can work to avoid these mistakes.  Continue reading “3 Common Managerial Mistakes and How to Avoid Them”

Sharing with others over Christmas

As Christmas is a time for giving, here at Retail Maxim, we thought we’d share something special with those less fortunate over the festive period. Instead of sharing Christmas cards, we all donated the money to a little office fund, one that would benefit a family across the UK over Christmas.

We raised £40.35, purchasing a number of food items and essentials, which was then donated to a food bank.

Please share this with your friends and share a thought for those who aren’t as privileged going in 2015.

Christmas 2 Christmas 1

Mystery shoppers: the benefits

Times has evolved from surveys and questionnaires of rating customer experience, mystery shoppers are the new method to extract customer satisfaction.

Below we explore the benefits of employing a mystery shopper within your organisation:

New experience
Some mystery shoppers you have employed may have already visited your company prior employment, but others will be experiencing something entirely new, which means no biased opinions that will affect their view of your business.
This is an opportunity to learn what the experience is like from someone who is trained to give your feedback, similar to the way a real customer would view the sales process.

Customer satisfaction
Mystery shoppers are specifically trained to evaluate customer service, which will give you an insight into the satisfaction of your customers.
You’ll be able to find out if any of your employees are behaving unpleasantly towards customers, which inevitably it leading to low satisfaction scores, and you’ll also be able to see how your employees work when you’re out of the office.

Low cost
Depending on the company and the shopper, mystery shopper services do tend to be at a low cost. It’s something that doesn’t require much investment, to get the sort of feedback you’re receiving.

Keep employees on their toes
Employees that are aware that a mystery shopper may be visiting their store, will be more likely to excel in providing excellent customer service to every customer, knowing that they may be being evaluated.

For more information on mystery shopping, visit our website!

Why customer service is important for your business

Customer service is such an important factor to consider for your business, as it has the power to make or break it.

If customers are unsatisfied with your employees or feel they aren’t being treated as a customer should be, they will go elsewhere for their purchases and will probably even suggest friends and family members to avoid your business.
Of course, you do not want that, so it’s important to train up your employees to serve the best customer service and then monitor it, so it continues at a satisfactory level.

When customer service is high, customer satisfaction will be even higher and that’s perfect for business.

Customer service comes in many forms, and you may not even realise you’re doing them, so remember to pay attention to what you’re doing at all times.
An example? – A customer could walk into your retail store and ask for a specific item. you may not have that item in stock but you do have a similar one that does the same thing, so you say, ‘I’m sorry we don’t, but we do have another product that serves the same purpose, maybe you might interested in that?’ – That’s customer service.

Another form of customer service is over the phone.
No matter what type of business you are running, you will get customers calling on the phone – either to be asking about the hours of operation or regarding a purchase they may have recently made.
No matter the reason for calling, you employee answering should know how to answer appropriately and maintains mannerisms at all times.

People will continue to do business with you if they are treated kindly and with the utmost respect; if treated the opposite way, customers will be driven away.

Following up with customers is another form of customer service.
Showing your customers you care about the and you want to make sure that everything they have and need is working efficiently and at a standard they like, they’ll be grateful for that and will remember you.
Plus they won’t be afraid to come to you if there’s a problem they may need assistance with, and won’t think twice about recommending you to friends and family.

One last form of customer service you should ensure happens is helping your customers. No matter if they are young or old, by helping them to their car when they have quite an arm load of products, you are showing you care.
Another way is by helping them selecting the right product for them, by helping them understand which will cater best for what they are purchasing that product for.

It’s crucial to keep the customer in mind by providing them excellent customer service, if you do not, they will leave and go to your competitor.

For more information about customer service and our mystery shopping services we offer, visit our website!

Are you listening?

An indepth look into mystery shopping

By Robert Brocklesby BSc

I get asked all the time by clients, how can we ensure that a higher percentage of our customers make purchases? My answer is always the same: you must first ask your customers why they are not purchasing, understand what wants and needs you are not fulfilling, and act.

Reports indicate that anywhere from 50 – 82% of customers leave retail stores without purchasing. For most retailers, increasing the percentage of purchasing customers by a very attainable 5% could make a tremendous difference to the bottom line. The example I always site runs as follows: if 50% of a store’s 200 daily customers typically make purchases, and this store’s average sale per customer is £40, raising the store’s purchase rate to 55% (only 10 more purchasers per day) would equate to an additional £400/day and £146,000 annually. If that store was part of a 100-store chain, and they all raised their purchase rates from 50% to 55%, the additional annual sales would equate to almost £15 million!

I truly believe that in an age where customers willingly share their experiences with family, friends and the social media world it’s not surprising that they may be just as willing to share their thoughts, experiences and preferences , if asked, with retailers.

This is where Retail Maxim’s ‘Real Customer Surveys’ can help. Both Exit Surveys as well as ‘Online’ based surveys consult ‘real’ customers who have either bought or not, with a focused questionnaire to discover their views.

Retail Maxim’s surveys are an effective form of gauging Real Customers’ honest thoughts and opinions. We also charge a fraction of the price compared to other Market Research companies who often create lengthy, complex surveys which can aggravate customers. So, are you reading this and need to know the answers to the following sorts of questions?

  • What are your customers’ unfulfilled needs?
  • Why are customers leaving your locations without purchasing?
  • Are your promotional materials bringing customers in and making an impact?
  • Where else are your customers shopping and why?
  • What do customers think about your new concept store?
  • And much, much more…

If the answer is ‘yes’ then call Retail Maxim today to discuss how we can help.

Robert Brocklesby BSc

Joint Managing Director at Retail Maxim Ltd

Who would best suit a Mystery shopping Job?

Mystery Shopping is a tool used to anonymously evaluate customer service, operations, employee integrity, merchandising and product quality.

Mystery ShoppingI’m sure you’ve heard of them, but what do you need to get a mystery shopping job? It’s not necessarily qualifications you’re required to have but they are advised, it’s mainly down to a number of different skills and knowledge behind an individual’s character.

To get a mystery shopping job you must be at least 18 years of age or older which is a minimum requirement. The individual should have knowledge of how to use the internet, don’t worry you don’t have to be a PC guru, just enough knowledge where you can simply access emails and create/send reports from the mystery shopping experience.

 

Qualities needed for a Mystery Shopping Job

 

Reliability in the individual

Reliability in an individual is essential the majority of the time due to the fact a mystery shopper has to be on time and punctual once turning up to any briefing or task, usually this is if the client has asked for a mystery shopper to be in store at a specific time.

Confidence

Confidence is key, always remember that! this is because any real customers will behave naturally and their opinions expressed with what they dislike or like, with any mystery shopper job you are ‘acting’ or posing as a customer once in store, you then have to monitor the store based on a criteria in which has been requested by the client.

Accuracy

Delivering truthful and honest feedback is essential meaning any individual must be 100% accurate when performing the mystery shopping tasks, high level of detail is usually needed in any report stating your opinions, experiences with staff and their performance in certain situations.

Having a good memory

This is an essential and yet basic skill, but any mystery shopper is required to have good memory and the ability to recap experiences to be able to write a detailed report, this is why memorising certain details in accuracy and clarity will help when noting down each task.

 

Access to a camera device/scanner

With every mystery shopping job you’re required to have a camera or any device with a camera as well as a scanner, this is due to the fact that receipts of purchases or photographs which are required for evidence will need to be sent in with the report in order for it to be complete.

 

What is a Mystery Shopper

What is a Mystery Shopper and what purpose do they have?

Mystery Shoppers also known as a Mystery Consumer is an individual(s) who are hired by market research companies such as Retail Maxim and others like Watchdog organizations but also can be internal, their key role is to measure the quality of service, gather specific information about products & services as well as check the compliance with regulation.

What are mystery shoppers

The obvious role of a mystery shopper is they perform specific tasks such as purchasing product(s), asking questions about the product or service, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way, and then provide detailed surveys or feedback about their experiences.

So what about mystery shoppers today?

Mystery Shopping Surveys

Since around 2010 onwards, mystery shopping has become abundant in the medical tourism industry, with healthcare providers and medical facilities using mystery shoppers to asses and improve the customer service experience.

In the United Kingdom mystery shopping is increasingly used in this day and age to provide feedback on customer services provided by local authorities, and other non-profit companies such as housing associations.

To find out more about the criteria to be a mystery shopper or the common FAQs to becoming a mystery shopper then please click one of the two links.

Common FAQs of becoming a Mystery Shopper

Criteria Of a Mystery Shopper

Customer service: which brands actually get it right?

The customer service industry was created by mistake, seemingly.

It’s been outsourced to companies for the past decades and since the evolution of the internet customer service has become widespread across all mediums of contact now. Online customer service is often ill-suited to meeting customer service needs and here’s why:

  • New channels of communication have been adapted to slowly by companies.
  • New channels bringing the challenge of a single customer view has been difficult to handle.
  • Single customer view brings the challenge of data centralisation.
  • New devices and consumption habits (the Smartphone) have made older web assets somewhat redundant, proposing more problems for companies.

Yet, in 2013, many companies seemed to wake up and smell the ‘coffee’. The coffee of customer service being something that needs tackling head on as when it’s completed well it can be unbelievably important to the resulting level of customer happiness, augmenting the final product you sell.

There are many avenues in which customer service lives where seamless customer experience takes away the reliance on call centres, improving conversion and customer happiness.

Aside from the web giants making a virtue of customer experience, which brands have made recent commitments to customer service?

Besides the web giants making the customer experience difficult to match, which brands have been making increased commitments to customer service in 2013?

Self-service

A majority of customers now expect a self-service options for customer service, with many actively preferring it in modern business. Smartphone usage is high enough to influence the efficiency of any customer service operation. As self service options are digital, it’s much easier for companies to keep records of customer interaction.

Anytime Fitness

24 hour service is naturally a fantastic USP for Anytime Fitness, as the name of the company so subtly suggests. The brand’s sites have ’24 hour’ featured in title tags to avoid any confusion to customers.

Anytime Fitness makes it clear about being 24 hour

You may think that 24 hour access for Anytime Fitness customers isn’t really an example of customer service as it’s essentially the product offered, yet this isn’t the case.

If this doesn’t give you enough satisfaction, Anytime Fitness produce instructional videos to take the personal trainer out of the equation, allowing customers to maintain a fitness regime when the specific staff aren’t around. These videos are accessible in the Gyms or on the website, so it’s great for all customers. These videos are also accessible to non-gym goers, for a fee, opening up their market massively by adding a new revenue stream.

Anytime Fitness believe in 'convenience + culture+

All of this is based on the company’s commitment to their audience’s convenience and culture. Check out the membership page for ease of use and beautiful design.

Giffgaff

Giffgaff, rather famously, do not operate call centres. There’s a significant cost struck off to start off with. Naturally, some customers will ask for a phone number on support forums, but the stats for their customer service responses are great.

Giffgaff offer help online

Answers on the support forums are given by fellow customers, which is similar to the model developed by Sky, where customer service ‘champions’ are rewarded for their efforts through free stuff, product testing and sometimes an occasional meeting with the Sky team themselves.

This thread just shows the customer reaction and true feeling when one customer displayed their dismay at Giffgaff not having a phone number.

Crowd-service or P2P

AirBnB’s customer satisfaction is much higher than the classic hotel chains like Hilton, treating this as an indicator of the power of crowd service. The idea is that when it comes to P2P products in particular, the customer service is often provided by the property owner, who is more invested in the product than an outsider.

Of course, this can sometimes mean it can be harder to ensure consistency of experience for all, but nevertheless the culture is fantastic in providing good, wholesome customer service.

Barclaycard Ring

Barclaycard Ring is a similar concept to that of crowd sourcing, but it’s often on a larger scale in this instance, taking onboard customer feedback on what the service do for its customers, both small and big. These can vary from reward programs to charity work.

Barclaycard Ring rewards program

The service is currently still in infancy, nearing two years old, yet it has increased customer retention level by 25%, with Barclaycard estimating a return so far of $10m.

Becoming a Mystery Shopper in the UK

Mystery Shoppers in the UK and what they do

mystery shoppers in the uk

Mystery Shoppers, for bigger corporations and retailers these mystery shoppers serve a massive purpose when it comes to finding out how much they really do value their customers. With great customer service becoming an absolute key these mystery shoppers are everyday looking employed people who come in-store and grade each store with ratings of their customer service.

How to become a Mystery Shopper

Becoming a mystery shopper isn’t as complex as you may think, in fact Retail Maxim specialises in mystery shopping and customer experience services. Throughout the UK thousands of individuals are required to help mystery shop in many outlets and they get paid to shop.. yes that’s right!

Here’s just a key factors we look for in people:

  • Confidence
  • Accuracy
  • Reliability
  • Staying Calm
  • Having a good memory
  • Access to a camera device/scanner

 

Mystery Shoppers: The Benefits to Businesses

With customer service becoming a must in today’s retail sector the benefits to businesses are massive! Mystery shoppers are used to collect useful information and data across as many stores as required helping businesses gather a clear view on how their staff have been trained to aid any customers and their enquiries in the correct manor.

If you’re a business and you wish to find out how mystery shoppers and other services dedicated to providing you information on your company’s customer relations then head over to Retail Maxim for more information.