• 29

    Wawa: A Customer Experience Success Story

    Over the past year, businesses have watched each other struggle while reducing costs in every possible way. Every so often, you hear of a business success story. These are the few businesses that are thriving and expanding in tough times. Wawa — a convenience store chain — is a success story featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week.

    What strikes me as interesting with every success story is the company’s strong belief in the customer experience. Wawa’s CEO Howard Stoeckel emphasizes the importance of customer experience through the entire interview. “What is best for the customer?” is management’s first thought when making strategy changes. They consider the customer first when deciding product expansion, quality, store layout, and employee service training. Stoeckal knows customer experience and impeccable service is what makes Wawa stand out from their competitors. Wawa credits commitment to providing superior service to their success.

    Stoeckal mentions the importance of customer experience in a down-turn economy, “That is priceless at a time when people have pangs of anxiety about the economy, about their jobs, about their retirement,” he said. “If you can help people feel better, that goes a long way.” (Source: Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Right now, the data indicates low price is key to attracting customers. Examples such as Wawa prove price is sometimes not the strongest deciding factor; the customer experience is. A bargain price lasts only a moment in a shopper’s mind; the experience lasts a lifetime.

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  • 24

    The basic foundation of building customer loyalty

    There’s no need to explain how important customer loyalty is to your business. You already know that. More than likely, you’re struggling with how to retain customer loyalty. We are here to help.

    Customer Loyalty = Customer Service
    What is the simplest way to foster loyalty? It’s great customer service. From word-of-mouth to loyalty reward programs, it is amazing customer service that brings repeat business. Training your employees to have superior service skills is the first pillar of loyalty success.

    Simply think about the very best service you’ve witnessed as a customer. Is it the stellar smile a Kroger baker greets you with? The confidence you have in your favorite department store clerk who always knows where to find your size? The very same reasons you gravitate towards one grocer over another is what attracts your customers. The first step is to find out if your staff is providing stellar service. One proven way to determine what level of service your staff is giving is to utilize a secret shopper program.


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  • 16

    Today is the critical time for strategy, vision, and asking tough questions

    In my last post, I talked discussed how the face of retail is changing. Extending on the same Forbes article, which powerfully states:

    “The retail territory of the next 10 years is truly up for grabs. New retail concepts, and even manufacturers that want their own stores, have big opportunities to become the big retail success stories of the next decade. Those that dazzle their customers with distinctive offerings and environments for purchasing them will thrive alongside the Wal-Marts and Amazons of the retail world.”

    At times like this we tend to focus on tactics ““ are we doing enough to cut costs, what layoffs are coming up, what is the best discount to run, etc. ““ and too often strategy gets left behind. This is a critical time for strategy, vision, and asking the tough questions.

    You’ve probably heard about marketing myopia, and the story about the fate of the railroad industry but a refresher is always useful. The question is, why did the railroads not become the airlines? The problem is that they saw themselves as being in the railroad business, not the transportation business. They had a vision problem, and a fatal one. What is your vision? What business are you in? Selling groceries? If you change that to “˜home convenience’, how does that change your business model? Do you “˜sell clothes’ or do you help your customers with their confidence and presentation?

    We are looking at some rapid changes in the months and years ahead. The company that sees these changes the best will prosper. What are you doing to prepare? Do you know your customers well enough to make sure you thoroughly understand the value you bring them? Do you know their needs intimately?

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  • 10

    Customer Intercepts

    Satisfied with your customers’ shopping experience? We’re not.

    Customer intercepts reveal what your customers buy. And what they ignore.

    Your customer’s in-store experience is the key to improving brand relationships and ultimately your company’s profitability.  Were your customers satisfied enough to make a purchase? More importantly, why did they leave the store empty-handed?

    With the help of ICC/Decision Services’ Brand Ambassadors, you can gain immediate and uncluttered customer insights about your brand, your staff, store layouts and more through customer satisfaction surveys. These targeted experience questionnaire deliver the data and insights required to create strategies that will turn shoppers into profitable customers.

    Improve customer satisfaction

    • Target specific customer types and gain meaningful results through a fully-customized customer satisfaction survey program.
    • Obtain fresh, objective and service-based responses from your customers and potential customers that reveal their immediate perspectives about their customer experience.
    • Track customer feedback through customized web-reporting tools.
    • Learn why potential customers did not purchase and improve customer satisfaction.

    Create a better customer experience

    Our experienced field representatives are strategically placed outside of your retail locations to survey customer satisfaction immediately as customers exit your stores. Customers can be targeted to your specifications:

    • By demographic
    • Whether or not they made a purchase
    • In customer groups, as a couple or with children

    Customers complete a short, meaningful survey and the results are analyzed by store location, chain, or individual visit and actionable strategies are recommended to improve customer experience.

    Our customer experience runs deep

    Our customer satisfaction programs have helped numerous clients in:

    • Retail stores and chains
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores and chains
    • Drug stores and pharmacies

    Contact us today for additional information
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  • 09

    Mystery Shopping Oldie

    Can you handle the truth?

    Mystery shopper programs deliver the frontline reality.

    The brand strategy that you hammer out in the boardroom is sure to drive sales and profitability. But only if it’s executed properly at store level. A mystery shoppers program from ICC/Decision Services can take a snapshot of your brand in action – assessing your customers’ entire shopping experience through certified mystery guests. Our customized mystery shopper programs are fully integrated with other program components for a full 360° view of your brand.

    Mystery shoppers reveal your customers’ true experiences.

    • Our mystery shopper programs ensure brand consistency across stores, even at remote locations and during busy times of the year.
    • Unlike other mystery shopping companies, our outcome-based mystery guest programs assess service and sales experiences and mine data for trends and improvements.
    • The results can help improve training programs and reward staff through mystery guest evaluation of frontline performance.
    • Ensure the successful launch of products and initiatives across all stores and regions.

    Delivering insights to reward and improve.

    ICC /Decision Services highly-trained mystery shoppers monitor key locations of your choice, gathering the kind of feedback that will help improve your customer shopping experiences. The results are analyzed using our proprietary software and are available for your review 24/7 through your own secure site. We provide the flexibility to review mystery shopper assessments by region, district and store level, to assess programs and challenges at the store or chain level, and even benchmark against the competition.

    Let mystery shopping reveal the truth about your business.

    Our mystery shopper programs have helped numerous clients in:

    • Telecommunications
    • Restaurants
    • Banking & Finance
    • Brand and Agency
    • Compliance: Alcohol & Tobacco
    • Drug Stores / Pharmacies
    • Fitness
    • Gasoline & Convenience Stores
    • Government
    • Healthcare
    • Grocery
    • Hospitality
    • Retail
    • Luxury Goods
    • Professional Services
    • Automotive

    Contact us today for additional information
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  • 09

    E-Shops powered by STELLAService™

    Are you losing revenue because of unhappy online customers?

    Are your online competitors profiting at your expense?

    Let E-Shops powered by STELLAService™ measure measure the quality and effectiveness of your Internet retail operation and improve your results.

    The only way to tell if you are providing a top-rate online customer experience is to test it live. That means continuously evaluating every detail of the purchasing and returns processes and experiencing customer service as your customers do, as well as monitoring competitors. Through E-shops, ICC/Decision Services examines the customer touch points that most dramatically impact your online game plan. Combined with our integrated analysis and comprehensive reporting, you’ll gain crucial insights into the quality and consistency of the services you provide your online customers.

    Take aim at your company’s online program.

    E-Shops powered by STELLAService™ targets your business’s online customer service performance as well as your shipping, delivery and return processes.

    • Numerous orders are placed through your online store and the stores of your competitors, and all packages are received and assessed for quality, accuracy and speed of delivery.
    • Each package is then returned (via mail or in-store) to ensure a complete view of the entire customer experience.

    Identify weak links in your customer service strategy.

    We engage your customer support team and the support teams of your competitors across all points of customer contact: phone, email, live chat, SMS and social media. These interactions are designed to measure the availability, responsiveness, knowledge and helpfulness of each company’s customer service representatives (CSR).

    We also track service quality by individual CSR, time of day and day of the week in order to capture specific performance patterns across individuals and operating hours. This kind of detail gives you a comprehensive view of your performance versus the competition.

    Web-based reporting and analysis, aggregating data from multiple interactions, provides instant real-time information to help revise and modify critical elements of the customer experience.

    Real information that delivers real change.

    These performance measurement services are an objective source for internal quality control or to identify performance trends over time – providing a real-time picture of your business as it expands, launches new products or hires new people.

    With E-Shops powered by STELLAService™, you gain:

    • Comparative and consistent measurement across your business communications channels and support locations.
    • Transparent and objective service quality evaluations vs. your peer group.
    • Improved service through more informed and better trained staff.

    Contact us today for additional information
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  • 08

    Customer Surveys

    Your customers know how to improve your in-store experience. Are you ready to listen?

    Turn customer survey data into actionable results.

    Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, right? But are you missing out on customer observations and suggestions that can improve your store performance?

    ICC/Decision Services conducts detailed IVR and web-based customer satisfaction surveys that provide in-depth voice-of-customer responses. We then help turn those survey findings into coaching and training programs that improve the way your business performs – all across your retail chain.

    Realize the benefits of customer survey data.

    • No one-size-fits-all solution from ICC/Decision Services. Our programs are customized to meet your specific needs.
    • Our online reporting website gives you 24/7 snapshots of survey results for immediate feedback and analysis.
    • Quarterly coaching calls help you and your management team gain maximum benefit from your customer data.

    How do our programs work?

    We start with your needs. Our market research professionals work with you to create a customer satisfaction survey that focuses on the key outcomes of your Customer Experience initiative. Customer survey invitations are delivered through POS receipts or extended directly to customers by store personnel. Customers then go online or call a toll-free number to participate in the survey.

    All survey data collected undergoes extensive assurance verification and a rigorous two-stage analysis. It is reported on our website offering different administrative-level views of your results.

    Contact us today for additional information
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  • 08

    The road of retailing: Where your customer experience takes precedence

    It is undeniable that the retail industry will forever be changed through the spread of technology and our current economy. Recently, a Forbes article discusses the changes and what lies ahead for the retail industry. The article reminded me of one of my favorite articles “Welcome to the Experience Economy“ by B. Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, from the Harvard Business Review published in 1998. In that article the authors wrote:

    “Today the concept of selling experiences is spreading beyond theaters and theme parks.”

    “Companies should think about what they would do differently if they charged admission.”


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  • 06

    eValuation™ Cards

    Let 21st Century technology drive your comment card program.

    Improve customer satisfaction with online eValuation™ Programs

    Customer satisfaction surveys and comment card programs don’t lie. The questionnaire results are immediate, fresh and reflect your customers’ in-store experience with the kind of accuracy that results in positive changes. But getting usable feedback can be a challenge with a conventional Comment Card program. A poorly run customer experience management program means this valuable survey information is never reported.

    A Customer Experience program from ICC/Decision Services’ utilizes the web to deliver eValuation™ programs that make it fast and easy for shoppers to provide comments. Whether it’s by text, Tweet or a brief visit to a user-friendly website, the survey information is captured accurately and is available for immediate analysis and review.

    Hi-tech feedback  that delivers positive change.

    • eValuation Card programs make it fast and easy for customers to provide feedback, leading to higher response rates.
    • The simplicity of our customer satisfaction questionnaires help ensure the full range of customer experiences are captured, not just the extremes.
    • Gain crucial insights into your customers’ subjective shopping experiences, simply, immediately and accurately.
    • Combine eValuation Cards with a Mystery Shopping program for a complete snapshot of how your stores actually operate.

    Discover the problem before it’s on Facebook or Twitter.

    • ICC/Decision Services will design a complete customer experience management program, customized to your needs and designed to prevent problems before you read about them online.
    • Data is gathered through user-friendly methods that drive up response rates.
    • The survey information is inputted into a customized website that enables you to view data by store, region and district.
    • Data can be manipulated to track the progress of individual stores, reveal geographic trends or deliver other customizable reports as needed.

    Contact us today for additional information
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  • 05

    The Significance of Quality Assurance in assuring successful service marketing

    In its simplest form, Quality Assurance refers to the process in which a business entity (both manufacturer and service provider) retains the superior quality as promised to each consumer. More elaborately, any customer no matter how frequently he or she purchases a service or product should get the same level of quality in every transaction.

    Many companies term Quality Assurance in different names, but the underlying ideas are more or less similar in every case.


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