Nobody Raves About Average – A Story from Roxanne Brown

Roxanne Brown, of Purple Land Management, recently posted a story on her LinkedIn profile that really hit home for us here at Shoppers’ Critique. We spend our time making sure that our clients have happy customers. Our findings can be quite surprising to managers and company owners if they do not support a customer service oriented business model. Below is what Roxanne had to say about her experience with customer service, or the lack of:

This weekend I had to do the unthinkable – I had to go to the mall. I typically avoid going on the weekends thanks to the throngs of teenagers, pushy kiosk salesmen and overall pain in the butt parking. This time though I had to go and tried to make the best of it. After fending for myself in the store, I waited in line while I watched an angry exchange between a customer and the store manager involving a coupon gone wrong and it made me think…..Does no one understand customer service anymore?

As a land services provider, my job is to keep my client/customer (E&P companies) happy. Part of how I do that is by providing a great quality product at a fair price. But there’s more to it than that. It’s my goal to always add more value to my services and to make my customer feel even better about their experience with me.

One of the ways I accomplish this is to remind myself that even my boss (the client) has a boss. And EVERYONE wants to do a good job for their superiors. At the start of every project I ask my clients what their meeting schedule is and how they report on the work they have going on in the field. This allows me to tailor my product to make them look good. For example, if a client tells me that they meet with their bosses every Friday to discuss the projects they have going, I can make sure to give a concise and easy to read summary to them every Thursday. This means they go into their meetings on Friday with a clear picture of exactly where my project is and allows them to answer any/all questions their supervisors may have. Voila! Everyone is happy and my client looks like a rockstar.

Another way I make customer service a top priority is to work with my clients and their budgets. If I know what their end goal is, I can always give them options on how to best achieve that and allow them to pick what best suits their needs. I recently had a client who needed to drill 10 wells in the next 3 months. I sat down with them and went through possible scenarios to meet their needs – maybe it would be best to bring on more people in order to get the project done faster. Sometimes I can talk to the title attorney and find out things that aren’t so important that we can skim over and save some time on. Other times we can save some money by actually scanning in the documents and making them searchable on the computer, thus saving mileage, hotels, etc. for the people who are working the project. One or all of these things combined often times makes the difference between my client staying profitable or not. In this particular case I was able to bring them in on time and under budget.

The days of sending a box of chocolates or a bottle of liquor to a client are over. Those things may be nice, but they can buy their own dessert. Bottom line – they need real value and good old fashioned customer service. Today I’d like to challenge you to think of ways you can help your client’s succeed and provide them with the best customer service possible.

If you own or manage a business, your job is to make sure your customers receive the product and service they’re looking for. If you can succeed in providing great customer service, your customers will not only come back for more, they are likely to recommend your business to their friends as well.

Kevin Nixon Joins Shoppers’ Critique International Sales Team

Addition Further Advances SCI’s Commitment to Customer Relationships & Customer Intelligence

(Longwood, FL – March 12, 2015) Shoppers’ Critique International, the largest Florida-based consumer marketing/intelligence company, has announced the immediate appointment of Kevin Nixon as National Sales Manager. While Kevin will work with all industries, he will specifically focus a significant portion of his attention growing the company’s business in sports, entertainment & attractions, automotive, retail and casual/fine dining services.

Formerly VIP Account Manager at EDI Health Group, Kevin led a team responsible for sales and support for large group practices. Kevin also developed performance improvement plans designed to improve overall sales company-wide. Prior to joining EDI Kevin was with Kaiser Permanente and consistently delivered excellent customer service by responding quickly to client needs and resolving client concerns. Some of his other duties included analyzing various metrics and developing process improvement plans. Kevin has a wealth of knowledge and practical experience in both the sales and operations for both large and small companies including Wachovia Securities and National City Bank (now PNC).

“Kevin Nixon brings a wealth of credibility, experience and relationships in specific industries that we do business with, or are aggressively targeting and we look forward to him making an immediate impact leading our sales and customer relations efforts,” said Shoppers’ Critique Operations Manager Jake Dancy. “(Shoppers’ Critique CEO) Bill Green and I are both extremely excited to have Kevin join our team. His 10 plus years of sales and operations experience will strengthen our company’s growth and we look forward to his contributions.”

Nixon stated, “My focus has always been and always will be providing high quality customer service to each and every client. I am in the business of building and maintaining strong relationships to ensure a superior level of customer satisfaction for my clients and their customers. Shoppers’ Critique provides a great opportunity for me to utilize my passion to help others develop and maintain Customer Intelligence programs that help enhance their customer’s overall experience. I’m excited to join the team of experts already amassed at SCI and look forward to working with our diverse group of clients.

Having previously lived in Orlando, FL Kevin has recently returned to the City Beautiful. As a St. Louis, MO native and a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a degree in Business Administration and an M.B.A from Kaplan University in Project Management Kevin looks forward to leading the SCI sales efforts and being an active participant in the Central Florida community.

Important Shopper Registration Update

Shopper Registration UpdateUntil now, we have required every shopper to provide their social security number during registration since we are required to report shopper income on a 1099 form if they exceed $600. That information was encrypted and all proper security measures adhered to.

Still, it seems every month or so we hear about another major company with a security breach and millions of people’s personal information obtained. As a proactive measure, SCI has decided to change our process and what we store.

Social Security numbers are no longer required during the registration process. All shoppers that registered previously will have that information deleted from our system.

From this point forward, we will only collect that information when we are required to have it for federal or state reporting requirements. Shoppers will be advised when it is required. We will only retain it on our system for as long as we need it for reporting purposes.

Our shoppers are one of our greatest resources and we want to continue to make their experience with SCI the best it can possibly be. Thank you for the many years of partnership!

Mystery Shopping Services Review

We love helping our clients so when one of them reaches out to us with their praises we are always grateful. See what one of our loyal customers had to say about us:

I just wanted to reach out to you and recognize how outstanding and amazing your associate is. Pat is a valuable asset to the overall Toyota team and Mystery Shop program. In my last 6 months in the Digital Marketing team, Pat has assisted us with identifying holes in our program and coming up with ideas to improve. I enjoy working with her as well as Elizabeth. When I reach out to Pat for help, I know I can rely on her for quick responses. Her work ethic and overall positive attitude is a great contribution and extension to our Toyota Digital Marketing Team.

-Digital Dealer Experience Planner
Toyota Motor Sales, USA

Mystery Shopping Company Displays New Video

Marketing Outlook Forum

Shoppers’ Critique International is happy to announce that Paul Bell (National Sales Director) attended the 2014 Travel and Tourism Research Association’s Marketing Outlook Forum in Atlanta, GA. The aim of this forum was to get a global perspective on the industry by bringing together all manner of practitioners and researchers to look at the future of the industry.

As a leading network event for the travel and tourism industry, there were a number of high quality educational programs in addition to the great marketing forums. Many offices, airlines, hotels, and travel industry suppliers from the United States and Canada attended these events. “This was a very insightful event and I enjoyed the entire conference. The travel and tourism landscape is always changing and this was an opportunity for us at Shoppers’ Critique to gain insight from industry leaders.” said Bell.

Florida Attractions Foundation Golf Tournament

On October 10, 2014, Jake Dancy and Paul Bell of Shoppers’ Critique International participated in the 17th annual Florida Attractions Foundation Golf Tournament. This year’s amazing event was held at Kissimmee’s Falcon’s Fire Golf Club, with the focus on bringing together the top tourism industry leaders for a day of fun. “What a great event! We thoroughly enjoyed visiting with our partners at the FAA as well as our fellow FAA members”, said Jake Dancy. “It’s a good thing we weren’t evaluating our golf skills, otherwise we would have found a lot of room for improvement. We really enjoyed spending time with our colleagues and look forward to continuing to work together. We have developed deep relationships with the FAA and the membership and it’s always a special day when we can get together outside of the office,” said Paul Bell.

In addition to the tournament itself, there was also a silent auction where the benefits went to the Florida Attractions Foundation, a program that provides scholarships to students who are entering into hospitality and tourism related fields. “We were honored to participate in this special event, and equally pleased that proceeds from the silent auction go to this wonderful charity” said Jake Dancy.

Recognizing Problems in Your Restaurant

Restaurant owners have a lot on their plate. Not only do they have to worry about serving great food

to their customers, they have to make sure they are providing the best dining experience possible.

Restaurant patrons not only critique the food, but the service, staff, atmosphere and overall feeling they

get during their meal.

Owners of smaller restaurants may not always have control over all of the elements mentioned. If they

are the chef, they may not be able to keep up with the front of the house during a dinner rush or maybe

they haven’t found anyone to help with management. Critics or mystery shoppers can help a restaurant

owner pinpoint the problems, which need to be addressed in all areas of their business.

From the service side of the dining industry, it can seem as though people like to complain to get

something for free. With the recent increase in review writing that has become popular, everyone

can say what they feel. It is important to keep an eye on what your everyday customers say about

your restaurant and your food, but keep in mind some people talk because they can. People have their

own idea of a perfect meal. Don’t ever ignore a bad review or complaint, but realize you can’t please


The main complaints to be taken into consideration in this business are food preparation, plating

techniques, food handling, service provided by the wait staff and ticket times. If you receive consistent

complaints in any of these categories, it may be time to meet with your staff and address the problem.

Each group of workers in a restaurant must work together to create synergy in food preparation and

service. If the ticket times are slow, impatient guests will wait too long for their food or attention from

their server. In that case, it is hard to change a diner’s opinion of your restaurant. Sometimes, mediocre

food can be overcome by great service and a pleasant experience. Other times, your amazing food is

being overshadowed by rude or inattentive staff members.

It can be difficult to accept that things are going wrong with your business. Admitting you need help

takes acceptance and self confidence. It’s better to ask for assistance than to let your dream crumble

and be left with just your pride. If you see a decrease in sales or you need help getting out of a rut, a

mystery shopping company can help you sort out your biggest kinks. Criticism from the public allows

you to see what is wrong, but a mystery shop report enables you to fix the problem in private, instead

of issues being announced publicly. The mystery shopping company will assist you in putting together a

plan to pick up business and please your clientele.

Four Representatives of Shoppers’ Critique to Attend the 2014 CXE3 Conference

We are excited to announce that we will be sending four representatives to a customer experience conference in Mid-October that will be put on by MSPA-NA. Shoppers’ Critique is one of the charter members of the MSPA. We proud to see a strong representation of the association meeting in our home town.Customer Experience Conference

Event: MSPA CXE3 Customer Experience Conference: Engage, Educate, Enhance
CSI: Orlando – Customer Service Investigation: Solving the Mystery of the Future of Customer Service

To be held at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, FL from October 15th through the 17th.

To keep pace with the increasingly wide-range of issues faced by providers – regardless of the industry, MSPA-NA has expanded the 2014 conference to include topics that address the impact of the customer service experience overall.

Since we are in the business of measuring customer experience, we are excited to be attending this event. We will take the opportunity to network with other providers and be in intriguing sessions on how to prepare for the changing landscape of customer relations. The knowledge we pick up from this event will make us better able to take on the challenges of being a mystery shopping company and more efficient in serving our current and future clients.

Keep Customers Coming Back by Avoiding Common Mistakes

Retail sales is a tough gig these days because of the increase in online shopping. Even in the real world, retail salespeople make mistakes, but how they handle them makes all the difference.

Some shoppers think they do not need to talk to a salesperson in the store if they are doing most of their shopping online. However, talking directly with a salesperson can benefit the customer because they can receive immediate help and learn about another product if the initial product turns out to be ineffective.

Here are some of the most common mistakes retail associates make:

• Not building a rapport with the customer. Salespeople often fail to greet a customer, which should be the first step in the sales process. For customers who need help and want to be helped, a greeting starts the conversation. Friendly, pleasant salespeople will keep customers happy and coming back for more. Customers remember those who do not greet them.
• Not finding out what the customer needs. Asking what they need help with allows the sales associate to direct them. Salespeople are there to fulfill a need, but if they cannot identify it, they will not be much help. Sales managers should know the customer and make sure their needs are top priority. Their goal is making the sales process easy. Without that, the sale is lost and so is the customer.
• Not listening. Listening to the customer more will make them a better salesperson overall. Many salespeople are paid, based on their sales, but that is not the best structure when keeping the customer in mind. Giving someone an incentive to sell something creates a pushy situation and will rub the customer the wrong way. Salespeople should not confuse telling with selling. If a salesperson is constantly trying to sell the customer something instead of listening to their problem to help solve it, this is the wrong method.
• Not knowing about promotions when the customer asks. A customer seeking the best deal depends on a salesperson to make that happen. The salesperson should tell them why the company is the best option for them. Salespeople should be trained on the benefits and functions of the products to make the customer feel positive about making the purchase.
• Not addressing a dissatisfied customer immediately. If a customer is not happy with something, a good salesperson will notice and fix it immediately. The salesperson should feel out the customer, be attentive to their needs and suggest add-ons. Once the main sale is made, the salesperson should keep in mind complementary products.

These common mistakes seem easy enough to fix. A successful salesperson gets experience over time and learns from mistakes that will improve their sales technique.