Do retailer loyalty schemes actually work?

Loyalty schemes are fast becoming part of many retailers strategies to encourage both new and loyal customers to use their services. What every business has in common is the desire to drive repeat sales and business, whether this is in the form of membership cards, loyalty schemes or reward plans. It is apparent that now more than ever, consumers have an increasing number of shops to choose from; this means that the retailers themselves must remain competitive and differentiate from the competition. Continue reading “Do retailer loyalty schemes actually work?”

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

Maintaining customer trust is vital in modern business

Trust is a thing that’s incredibly tough to earn. Making your customers trust you as a business and instilling a loyalty element to your relationship is incredibly important to gain, yet it’s also easily lost.

It’s not uncommon for a company to lose touch with their customers: businesses rely on their employees to keep them in constant touch with their customers, yet a simple disagreement between these two parties can cause a loss of business for this company. Trying to keep up with demand from customers can be a tricky business as it’s not guaranteed that a customer will tell you outright when they have doubts about your company or the services on offer. Here’s how you can notice any negative signs within your customers:

There’s less contact between you.
If customers don’t come in as regular as they usually do, or they often miss making regular orders, they could be expressing their dissatisfaction without making a direct message to you. They could also be exploring other options, simply waiting until their contract is up with you and switching to a cheaper or better deal.

They seek advice from other businesses
If you’re a trusted business that has trustworthy sales people and advisers, they wouldn’t be trying to read information or find out things from other businesses. This could suggest that a customer is seeking advice from experts other than you, which could lead to the development of new business relationships.

They ask more questions
Customers who lose trust in your business will often start asking more questions than they usually would – they could often question the processes, practices and contracts regarding your business. It’s commonly a sign that they feel a level of distrust with your business.

They could be quiet
If customers aren’t offering the same level of feedback that they used to, you shouldn’t be surprised if they suggest you’re not listening to their opinions. They often won’t complain, compliment your business or even offer alternative suggestions.

So, what can you do to change this?
The best thing to do for your business is to monitor any accounts for these activites. You should always encourage sales and service clients to note any changes in the attitude of your customers.

It’s advisable that you also have a team who can reach out to your customers who may be losing interest because it might just bring them back.

For more on customer service hints and tips, please 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

What’s the true cost of poor retail customer service?

Is poor customer service in retail leading to lower sales in the sector?

The retail sector is one of the most used avenues of customer service worldwide, as customer interaction is more common with staff of the big brands compared to various other industries. Though it’s one of the biggest customer service sectors, companies on the high street seemingly suffer from poor levels of customer service. So, what can be done to combat this and if nothing is done, what effects can it have on the customer service industry?

Big brands on the high street are suffering from customer service woes whilst their online counterparts are enjoying continued growth. What can companies do to ensure survival in an ever fierce battle between the high street giants for customer service dominance? What makes a loyal customer?

Below we give you 4 top reasons to that’ll keep a customer coming back for more, ensuring that a customer stays loyal to your brand.

Be sure to monitor and analyse all forms of customer feedback

Mystery shopping is completely designed around doing just this. Need to monitor how your staff are performing in store? Just how helpful are they to the customers that visit you most? Find out all of this and more through our mystery shopping scheme. We can deliver over 10 different forms of customer service analysis, from video mystery shopping, to phone call analysis, exit surveys and more! It’s the best way to gain an insight into what your loyal customers think of you.

Consistency of information is key

Your customers will often call you for an information query, so be sure that you’re giving them consistent information across the board. There’s no point telling one customer one thing and relaying a different message to another: consistency is key. Your levels of consistency can be monitored by our telephone mystery shoppers. It’s a great way to see how you’re performing!

Give answers in a precise and timely manner

Have you made it easy for your customers to find vital information at the drop of a hat? It’s a good idea to have an FAQ section of your site (pictured) as it will usually answer all of the questions that could be asked by your customers. This will reduce customers calling up your store, so it’s a good way of keeping the communication process open without having to speak with your customers directly.

Mystery Shopping FAQs
Mystery Shopping FAQs

Multi-channel engagement

Customer service should be available anytime, anywhere, regardless of the platform that it’s being delivered on. Offer a multi channel service to all which allows a wider audience to interact with you!

What do you think of our ideas? We want to hear from you in the comments below! For more on customer service and mystery shopping, please visit our website.

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