Case Studies

REMOTE OFFICE MANAGEMENT

Situation: The client has a number of smaller remote offices situated around New Zealand. The scope of these does not justify the costs of maintaining a local manager. Costs associated with travelling from head office to inspect these sites regularly also are excessive.

Solution: Suitable Mystery Shoppers (situated locally near each branch) can carry out inspections as required and provide management reports to head office of their findings, along with observations. Inspections could be random or regular and with or without the local staff’s knowledge. Checklists can easily be developed which encompass the scope of required management checks. By selecting a suitable shopper with business experience, we can provide reliable reports at reasonable costs.

IN-DEPTH COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

Situation: The client has several local competitors and feels they are losing market share, but doesn’t understand why. They suspect they are not competitive in quoting. The industry’s product is complex and prices are always supplied by formal quotation - and only after extended consultations with prospective clients to refine the proposal. So - gaining definitive information is hard. Quotes are given by our clients, but frequently do not turn into business. Those lost prospects are often later found to have commissioned a competitor to carry out the project instead.

Solution: Mystery Shoppers approach the client’s competitors and pose as prospective credible customers. Our shoppers go right through the quoting process supplying information as appropriate to gain competitors’ quotes. Each competitor is given similar information so providing proposals which are as closely matched as possible. Where deposit payments are required, these are paid by the shoppers and reimbursed by the client. The formal proposals are then handed to the client for detailed analysis. The competitors surveyed are subsequently advised that the shopper “prospect” will not be going ahead with the project. By selecting a suitable shopper to match the typical demographics of the industry’s customers, we can gain comprehensive and reliable reports of competitors’ processes and their proposals.

SMALL RETAIL CHAIN

Situation: The client has several stores nationally and feels he is not converting enough prospects into customers. He is concerned that staff may not be working to best advantage and wonders if prospects find the store environment unattractive or the products expensive etc.

Solution: Mystery Shoppers go to the stores as prospective customers on a cyclic basis and make enquires regarding various products and services. Some purchases are made (later reimbursed by the client). Shoppers fill out a web based form via a secure web site which asks a complex set of questions requiring the shopper to rate various aspects of the store, the products and the customer service. The client can review these reports at any time online and, at the end of the project, a full set of reports is supplied. The client can then implement various remedial actions to improve the aspects of the survey which rated lowly. Future surveys will monitor the improvements and define any further improvements which may be required.

LARGE RETAIL CHAIN

Situation: The client has many stores nationally. They wish to maximise their selling margins on products and ensure their competitive edge. Prices vary in accordance with market trends, promotions etc. They have a variety of competitors, some national and others that are typically smaller local operators who tend to discount heavily. The client finds it difficult to remain aware of the trends in the marketplace and such efforts are very time-consuming.

Solution: Mystery Shoppers carry out regular checks over a wide range of stores nationally. They pose as customers and covertly record prices in the competitors’ stores. These prices are entered by shoppers into an online application. The data is processed in a various ways and then reported to the clients. This information is used to adjust prices within the client’s stores to reflect the desired degrees of competitiveness and margins. The information can also be used to ensure that supplier prices remain competitive. By performing regular cyclic checks, the information is always current and takes into account new price trends as they occur.

RETAIL OR SERVICES CHAIN

Situation: The client has many outlets nationally, they regularly run large heavily advertised special promotions and need to ensure that staff in the regions are aware of the various promotions and are conversant with these, and to confirm they are offering the information to the public.

Solution: Mystery Shoppers pose as prospective customers and go to outlets or make phone enquires as appropriate. Shoppers ask questions about the product or service in question and rate the response by the client’s staff both in general terms and in relation to the promotion. The client is able to measure the effectiveness of the information disseminated internally and adjust training procedures as appropriate. Shoppers file reports via a web based application, providing instant feedback to the clients.

SALES ORGANISATION

Situation: The client has several branches and wishes to investigate customer experience and see how well enquiries are being fielded by sales staff. He wishes to ensure staff have sufficient product technical knowledge and that customer enquires are being handled professionally.

Solution: Mystery Shoppers with suitable demographics approach the sales staff and pose as credible customers. They rate the sales person according to predefined criteria and report the findings back to the client via a web based application. The client uses the information for identifying staff training requirements and also for staff incentive rewards. Staff are aware they may be Mystery Shopped and so are attentive to customers, making for a generally higher level of performance. Ratings by shoppers are used to determine the staff rewards program.

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