As we dive headfirst into 2020, many businesses are optimistically declaring this will be the year of clear vision – a year of 20/20 vision. While the well-known phrase works well to encourage team members to set goals and meet those set expectations, this mantra should be more than just a morale booster.
Clear vision in 2020 should look like defining your brand’s biggest challenges and determining the best strategies to implement in order to overcome those challenges. So what challenges is your brand most likely to face this year?
In this blog, I will outline some of the most common business problems, as well as solutions to more effectively gain clear vision on those particular challenges.
1. Improving Employee Retention
In any industry, it’s common to hear companies struggling with high employee turnover rates. In fact, 75% of employees in the U.S. don’t stay at their jobs for more than five years (iHire). Yet a recent Gallup study found that highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. The main question to answer in this respect, then, is how can you keep employees engaged so that they stay with your company longer and enhance your brand’s overall customer experience?
Part of the answer to gain clear vision on improved employee retention lies in the need to focus on your employees, viewing them more as brand ambassadors who mirror your company’s personality, expertise and reputation.
As you reflect on the importance of your employees, consider your current training strategies and how they can improve. Are employees engaged and interested in the program? Are you making new hires feel like a valuable part of the brand?
Beyond the initial training, you might also consider whether ongoing training is in place. Do employees lose sight of their importance in the company? Do they hold firm to the company’s standards and policies? Tools such as market research and mystery shopping can answer these questions for your brand and help fill gaps in your training programs.
2. Maintaining Quality Customer Service
Improving employee retention and maintaining quality customer service go hand in hand, as without the former, you can’t expect to have the latter. Keeping up with shifting customer expectations only grows harder for businesses as services enhance and technology advances – which we will touch on later.
The first steps to satisfying these changing expectations entails understanding what your customers currently experience and what they want from your brand. Tools such as social media review monitoring and mystery shopping can help you identify these expectations and experiences.
Social Media Review Monitoring
Because of social media platforms and online review sites, finding out what customers think of your brand doesn’t have to be hard. One of the hardest parts is collecting the information and effectively analyzing the data to interpret it all.
Fortunately, there are social media review monitoring tools that can aggregate any mentions of your brand – and those of your competitors – and easily visualize and analyze the data, while also offering actionable insights on a managerial and/or individual store-location basis. If you’re interested in learning more about these tools, let’s schedule a meeting to discuss your specific needs.
Mystery Shopping Programs
Beyond social media, there are other ways your brand can best understand what your customers experience in-store or online. First, ask yourself the following questions. Do your customers have the same experience online as they do in-store? Are your customers in the restaurant space receiving the same quality food when they order take out as they do when they dine in? Do in-store retail shoppers receive the same personalization and custom experience as they would online?
The need for personalization cannot be overstated, as a recent Accenture study reports that 48% of consumers expect specialized treatment for being a good customer, and 33% will leave a brand if they don’t receive a personalized experience.
Secret shoppers can help you gain clear vision on these questions and identify your employee’s customer service strengths and weaknesses by evaluating what your brand values most – product knowledge, friendliness, helpfulness, etc. – and offer insights to better personalize and customize every experience.
With the help of these and similar tools, your brand can zone in on specific strategies to ensure a seamless transition and quality experience with every interaction, no matter the medium.
3. Staying in Touch with Technology
This common business problem is one of the easiest to point out, but not as easy to accomplish. As partnerships form across various industries (i.e., how McDonalds acquired AI company Apprente), brands are facing challenges to not only keep up with technology advances but get one step ahead of them in order to stand out from the rest.
Anymore, brands are all but required to have a digital presence, maintain responsive and robust social media accounts and own a customer-centric mobile app for convenience purposes. In the restaurant and retail space, self-serving kiosks, digital coupons and price-matching features are becoming more and more popular. Even in the banking realm, mobile features and responsive communications are becoming common expectations. Fail to meet these advancements, and your loyal customers might start to see your brand as outdated and move on to one that can meet their requirements.
How do you know what’s expected of your brand on the technological front? And how can you best manage your online presence? Online customer experience audits performed by mystery shoppers can track how responsive your mobile applications, social media platforms and other online accounts are and offer insights into whether your brand’s technology and online efforts are up-to-date.
4. Determining your brand’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
As hinted at in my second point, meeting customer expectations starts with telling your customers what they should expect when they interact with your brand. Will they get the highest quality service? Will they receive the fastest service? Maybe they can expect the most responsive and helpful support should they need it.
By researching your competitors to understand what they have to offer, and mystery shopping your own brand to understand what customers receive from yours, you can best strategize what your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) is. To formulate your USP, food delivery platform Grubhub offers three tips: distinguish yourself, identify customers that will connect with those distinctions and spread the word in every marketing piece.
Once your brand locks in its USP and properly markets it to the correct audience, you will be able to most effectively set your customer expectations and set your employees up better to meet and exceed those expectations.
5. Keeping up with the Competition
You feel it. Your competitors feel it. And you customers are a major driving force of it. The constant pressure to be more efficient, more customer-oriented and more reputable than the next company offering similar products and services is a daily battle for executives in any industry. So how do you take the USP you formulated in the last point and stand out from the crowd?
It starts with competitive intelligence. By analyzing the market with experienced professionals, you can discover who your biggest competitors are, what marketing and sales strategies they are using, and any threats or opportunities they present to your business. With this clear vision in place, you can capitalize on your competition’s weaknesses and make them your brand’s strengths. Take this delivery gap statistic for example.
86% of consumers believe retailers should offer the ability to choose the most convenient delivery option at the time of ordering, but 47% of consumers report that the delivery option they want is only sometimes, rarely or never available.Small Business Trends
By filling delivery gaps discovered through competitive intel, your brand can stand apart from the crowd and focus on what customers truly expect from brands in your industry.
Make 2020 the year of clear vision for your brand by addressing the most common business problems. From employee retention and customer service enhancements to keeping up with technology and capitalizing on your brand’s unique selling proposition, there are a number of ways you can help your organization stand out from the competition.
Mystery shopping services – including audits, competitive intelligence, online experiences, social media review monitoring and other UX/UI assessments – can support your brand’s efforts to keep an eye on every store in your organization, as well as those of your competitors.
Ready to gain clear vision for your brand in 2020?
Schedule a free consultation with our team to discuss your brand’s challenges and how to overcome them with SeeLevel HX’s market research and mystery shopping expertise.