FAQs

1. Who is ICC/Decision Services?
We’re a team of professionals who work with our clients to increase sales and drive revenue through a variety of programs. We’ve been around since 1979, when we first opened our office in New York.
2. What is your primary value to your clients?
We’re known for going beyond just collecting data. We help our clients use the data we collect to drive real change in their stores. That’s what sets us apart from the competition, and what keeps our clients coming back.
3. What sets ICC/Decision Services apart from the competition?
Results: ICC/Decision Services is the leader in our industry. We offer a proprietary process for data collection, then supplement the data with measurable results that translate into increased sales, profits and customer satisfaction.

People: Our executive leaders have over 50 years retail experience, and our database of over 150,000 professionally- qualified people means the job gets done right the first time.

Customization: We tailor every program to fit your needs, so you can target key initiatives and not waste your time on less important issues. Savings: We don’t charge for changes in surveys or reports, so you’ll enjoy flat- rate pricing. And our ROI Calculator™ means you know exactly how each program benefits you.

Convenience: We save you valuable administrative time, and our proprietary technology gives you the fastest access to the information you need when you need it.
4. Do you have a list of your clients?
The following is a brief listing of some of those we have worked with or are working with now:
Albertsons
Meijer
Forever 21
Express
Talbots
CVS
The Limited
Rite Aid
McDonalds
Sports Authority
Coach
Godiva
Pacific Sunwear
Southland Corporation/7-11
Pizza Hut
New York & Co.
J Crew
JP Morgan Chase
Liz Claiborne
Winn- Dixie
Pier 1 Imports
Petco
BCBG Max Azria
Pathmark
Walmart
L.L. Bean
Samsung
5. Who should be using your services?
We often work with retail store executives in human resources, sales & marketing or operations, but our programs can be customized to meet very specialized objectives and needs.
6. I’m a Human Resources executive, how do your services benefit me?
If you are like most HR executives, you’ve dedicated a great deal of your time to creating training programs for new personnel and existing employees. We can help you be more successful by:
- supporting training efforts
- reinforcing and monitoring training procedures
- calculating the increase in performance
- supporting employee motivation programs
- increasing levels of customer service
- measuring the increase in customer service levels
7. I’m a Sales & Marketing executive, how do your services benefit me?
As a Sales & Marketing executive, you are charged with increasing sales comps month over month, quarter over quarter and year over year. Further, you are also responsible for increasing market- share. We will help you attain your goals by:
- increasing sales through simple behavior modifications
- giving you an effective way to measure return- on- investment
- create a uniform brand experience
- increasing profits through the improved sales
- deepening customer loyalty and retention
- monitoring the presence of your point- of- purchase displays
- measuring the increased effectiveness of all
your sales & marketing initiatives
8. How do your services support operations?
We will help you work toward smoother operations, loss prevention and profitability by:
- reducing shrinkage by increasing associate awareness
- increasing profits through improved sales
- assessing increased sales using our ROI Calculator™
- enhancing the total customer experience
- evaluating the enhanced customer experience
9. We are using CRM technology—isn’t that good enough?
CRM is a very important tool to track customers’ likes, dislikes and shopping habits, but there is so much more you can do to improve upon the total shopping experience for every one of your customers. We help you create an environment that makes shoppers want to return to your stores. When used in conjunction with CRM technology, our services can show you new opportunities and help you find untapped potential.
10. Are your programs and services expensive?
No, they are not. We design our programs so that with management’s support they pay for themselves.
11. How long would it take your company to be ready to start a program?
Depending on the scope of the project, we can typically be fully organized to start a comprehensive program within 5 – 10 days.
12. What tools do you use to accomplish successful programs?
Depending on your program’s specific goals and needs, we use a variety of high- performance tools to guarantee your program is a success.
The following list includes a number of our most valuable tools:
- Mystery shopping
- Competitive shopping
- In- store audits
- IVR surveys
- Web surveys
- Comment card processing and analysis
- Shopper Intercepts
13. How do you measure results?
Using a variety of tools and research methodologies, including our proprietary ROI Calculator™, we establish a baseline standard and then measure change from that point. Then, we work with you to help you assess, analyze and implement the prescriptive findings for change that will help make your investment count.
14. How do I get the results?
Results are posted daily to your unique Web site, which we build for you. Your Web site is updated in real- time so results are rolled up as they come in. Your Web site is available to you 24/7—which means no waiting, no lengthy delays, and access to your data when you need it most.
15. Can I change the type of reports I receive and how quickly do I get the results?
At no additional cost, all reports, surveys, instructions, store realignments and your Web site can be changed as often as needed to fit your unique needs and requirements.
The results are posted on your unique Web site within 24–48 hours.
16. Who gets to see the reports?
We know your data is valuable. Your unique website is password- protected, so you maintain total control of your site and report distribution. Additionally, with this control you can designate who sees which reports (e.g., you have the ability to allow one group of people to see one section and allow another group to see a different section).
17. Can I view a typical customer report website?
Yes. Although our customer report Web sites are all fully customized to fit the unique needs of our clients, we’d love to show you samples of our customer reports.
For a demonstration of our reporting capabilities and of the ROI Calculator™ and to learn how mystery shopping can positively impact your business, please contact us.
18. Tell us about your support staff.
Client Services is an area of emphasis at ICC/Decision Services. We use a team approach in which each client has a dedicated account executive, an assistant account executive, and field coordinators. All assistant account executives undergo a two- year Executive Training Program designed to facilitate and maintain the highest level of quality customer service.
19. Can you also provide information about the retailing industry, consumer trends, and new technology available and recommended?
Yes. We are members of the National Retail Federation, The American Marketing Association, Field Marketing Services Association, Mystery Shoppers Providers Association and the Food Marketing Institute. Recognizing that our education offers a huge benefit to our customers, we remain active participants in activities, conferences, and events that enable us to remain current in the marketplace.
20. Are you a Full Service Research firm or conduct Mystery Shops only?
We are more than just another company that contracts with a field force to conduct mystery shopping programs. While mystery shopping is one of the research tools that we use to help you succeed, we are also a fully- integrated CRM organization that utilizes classic marketing research techniques to support our customer’s total efforts.
21. How often do you recommend Mystery Shopping a store or unit in a month? a quarter? Why?
There is no one correct way to design all mystery shopping programs, which
is why we customize our programs for each retailer. Program frequency, which
is one design component of a mystery shopping program, is determined by the
following criteria:
- Objectives
- Use of data
- Corporate culture
- Support Staff
- Budget

In general, programs that are tied to motivation, recognition of excellence, team building, and compensation are run on a more frequent basis (e.g. once a month or more). Programs whose objectives are to read or measure compliance can be run on a less frequent basis (e.g., once a month or less). Perhaps the most important criteria in determining frequency is the capacity to use the information and effect change. Developing a diagnostic tool is one of several methods that can make a real impact in your business.
22. How would you recommend putting the data to work? Can you provide an example?
With our clients’ assistance, we develop a set of diagnostic tools based upon corporate training and policies. The diagnostic tool is designed to be used by store managers as an instructive instrument for educating staff. This proves to be an excellent empowerment device and means that data can be translated into results in the most streamlined and cost- effective way possible. For example, a unique feature of our Data Management Information system is the individualized regional manager home page that provides regional or district managers with access to mystery shopping and comment card results.
23. I have an IVR/Web survey program; do I need mystery shopping?
Most likely, yes. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) programs and/or Web surveys are great metrics with which to measure a particular set of customer reactions to service, product and location. However, it’s important to understand that, while IVR is great for assessing overall experiences and feelings of customers who have sought out your business, mystery shopping adds an entirely different measurement to help with total improvement. Because mystery shoppers are trained professionals who are engaged to evaluate very specific components of your business, they can help effect real measurable changes in the way business is done.
24. I have a mystery shopping program; do I need IVR/Web surveys?
The short answer is yes. While mystery shopping is a very valuable tool in
and of itself, utilizing IVR/Web surveys in tandem can help you realize the
fullest benefit for your business.
25. What is the value of competitive shopping?
In the retail market it is vital that you always keep your products, services and promotions at the leading edge. When you keep your finger on the pulse of what your competition is doing and how they’re doing it, you position yourself to increase market share. To make sure your products and promotions are responding to consumer needs appropriately, you need to track the promotional events, activities and in- store positioning of competing products. Competitive shopping can help you maximize your own product performance and improve your customers’ experience. Our competitive shopping programs can help highlight product launch effectiveness, demonstrate in- store gaps in your (or your competitors’) product offering, and allow you to assess your current marketing and development strategies to respond to marketplace cues.
26. Do you have any case studies?
Yes. We have included a series of ICC/Decision Services case studies to help you see how our solution- oriented programs work in the real world with real results.