Monday, June 27, 2011

Employee Satisfaction

An employee survey provides an organization or business with the information to understand employee perceptions of their work environment. How employees perceive their employer’s attitudes and actions is critically important to management if they want to retain a motivated and happy workforce.
Smart employers regularly utilize an employee job satisfaction survey, an employee exit interview survey, and occasionally use surveys to ask employees about their attitudes, suggestions, and preferences.  Employee surveys are also useful to collect information or employee feedback as to the effectiveness and usefulness of employee training and informational meetings. Employee surveys can reveal unfounded and potentially dangerous rumors which are circulating among employees. Employee surveys should be considered to solicit employee input before initiating organizational change or changes in employee work rules, pay or benefits.
The data from an employee survey provides the employer with useful information to keep the organization on the right track. No one knows better the strengths and weaknesses of an organization and its management and then the employees who are responsible for delivering the employer’s product or service. The employees know what is working and what could work better. They are your greatest information resource. A survey allows an employee to share their concerns and perceptions with you in a safe environment. Employees who might never have the nerve to speak up in a large meeting or stop by your office to share an insight or observation will often be comfortable offering their thoughts in a well constructed survey. This is especially true if the employees know from your past actions that you will seriously consider their input.

20 October 2009. <>.

Benefits of Customer Satisfaction

For all companies, their customer satisfaction is the most important thing. Companies need to really make sure that they give the best services to improve customer satisfaction and increase their sales at the same time. Throwing promotional products, giving special gifts for valued customers, and provide good comforts for the customers are several ideas that companies should do to increase their service to satisfy their customers. However, it is sometimes hard to measure customer satisfaction. It is crucial to have exact numbers that show their customer satisfaction rate. It will be important to do some research or to conduct surveys to see the accurate numbers. The numbers will be beneficial to use for determining the next steps and programs that companies have to create.
Companies will need to use a professional service to do customer satisfaction surveys. The survey will result important information about the feedback of such companies. Customers’ feedback will help companies to evaluate their performance. Both negative and positive feedback will be important for company future. Improvement and development will be done under several evaluations. Without clear customer satisfactions, it will be hard to make any movements.
For many reasons, customers are the power for all companies. Therefore, they should optimize their customers for reaching success. Due to such importance, it should be crucial for companies to consult the best quality improvement services that offer several excellent programs to help companies improve their business strategies and marketing plans. Customer Satisfaction Surveys should be the regular program of all companies and they should use professionals such as, Instant-Replays to complete such programs.

Christina, Anita. Thinking Buisness and Finance. 16 June 2011. <>.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Peek Into the World of Video Mystery Shopping

Slowly but surely, a new specialty is gaining momentum in the mystery shopping industry—video mystery shopping.

What is video mystery shopping? It’s the same as any other mystery shopping assignment except the mystery shopper carries hidden miniature video equipment—the old Candid Camera show meets mystery shopping. The employers then use this tape to provide further training to their employees. It can also be included in their performance evaluation. Of course this makes both the shopper and the client highly accountable.

During a video mystery shop the shopper will do many of the same types of things you do in a regular mystery shop. They will ask questions of employees, engage them in conversations and record their responses. They may even record images of the sales floor and service areas.
An advantage of video over written reports is that the client can see exactly what happened, and not have to rely on the written impressions of the mystery shopper. The employee who was shopped can view the tape and see exactly how they come across to customers.

The video equipment is easily hidden. The camcorder and battery pack are usually worn on a belt or carried in a purse. The camera itself it so small that it can be hidden in a button or a piece of jewelry.

Audio taping of mystery shops has been around for awhile, but video mystery shopping is just now starting to come into its own and for your benefit, Instant Replays specializes in video mystery shopping. The client is able to see cleanliness, body language, hear voice inflection amongst other important communication aspects that the recorders are able to capture.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Obtaining Valuable Business Information

Surveys are one of the primary vehicles for collecting the information businesses need. Done right, surveys can reduce new product and other risk; generate insights about employees, customers, and markets; and align PR, advertising, and other communications programs with target constituencies. Done poorly, they can derail strategy and generate misguided marketing, customer service, and communications plans. Your business—and your business strategy—is only as good as the information you have. So how do you ensure that a survey will give you the information you need? First, you have to identify what you are looking for and understand just what surveys can—and cannot—do.
Generally, corporate surveys seek to understand markets, relationships, or transactions, says Frederick C. Van Bennekom, author of Customer Surveying: A Guidebook for Service Managers. Market surveys seek opportunities and requirements for offerings. Customer and employee surveys typically explore relationships, identifying both strengths and areas for improvement. Transaction surveys can operate as a quality control check, revealing the perceived effectiveness of a purchase or service call.
Surveys demand well-defined objectives, a good match of the intended communication to the medium, and clear presentation of results. What problem will the results solve, or how will the results be incorporated into decisions or operations? "Many make the mistake of starting to write questions without spelling out objectives," says Roberta L. Sangster, chair of the survey review committee for the American Statistical Association, based in Alexandria, Virginia. Without an objective as a beacon, questions can lack relevancy, surveys can turn into swamps of complexity, and results can fail to illuminate issues.

Wreden, Nick. Using Surveys to Get the Information Your Business Needs - Survey Says? Identify Your Objectives. 4 11 2002. <>.

Why Customer Surveys are Important

A customer satisfaction survey is a very important tool that can provide benefits for businesses of every size. Surveys can assist business decision-makers in developing strategies to achieve the all-important goal of gaining and retaining customers. Results can play a key role in identifying areas of the business that require corrective action and improvement. Surveys can also identify areas that can be leveraged to achieve business growth and expansion.
Small businesses can gain extremely useful information. For example, a small restaurant owner, new to the area, can find out how customers found them, what they like and whether they'll come back for more. A clothing boutique owner can find out if styles align with the tastes of shoppers and, if not, make inventory adjustments. A tax preparer can assess if fees, turn-around-time, referrals, or hours and location are helping or hurting efforts to gain and retain customers. Larger businesses have levels of managers and executives who usually don't have direct, one-on-one contact with customers. Surveys provide data and feedback to monitor customer satisfaction levels and assess employee performance in fulfilling management objectives and goals. Surveys can be executed to target specific customers by demographics, by geography, marketplace needs and more.
Customer surveys are conducted in different methods by different companies or business establishments. Some of the most popular methods used in customer surveys include:
Face-to-face interviews
Telephone survey questionnaires
Mail survey questionnaires
Telephone interviews
Field service interviews or questionnaires
Customer complaints data from interviews and questionnaires
Purchase-point survey questionnaires
It is vital to target the right individuals. For example, if the customer is a company rather than an individual then the questions must be designed to suit it. The questions on the survey should be able to be answered in way that the business can take action to make changes based on the answer. Remember, the bottom line is all about improving your prosperity or success of your business by improving your customer satisfaction

Munson, Cheryl. Importance of Customer Satisfaction Survey . 1999-2011. <>.

Survey Variety

      The growth of the internet and in particular the World Wide Web has led to the extended use of electronic mail for business communication, the electronic survey is becoming a more widely used survey method. Electronic surveys can take many forms. They can be distributed as electronic mail messages sent to potential respondents. They can be posted as World Wide Web forms on the Internet, and they can be distributed via publicly available computers in high-traffic areas such as libraries and shopping malls. In many cases, electronic surveys are placed on laptops, and respondents fill out a survey on the laptop rather than on paper. Advantages of using the internet to administer surveys would be that the recipient is able to receive the survey in seconds, it is cost effective, and a wider base of participants can be reached and given the opportunity to answer in a timely manner.

Oral surveys are considered more personal forms of survey than the written or electronic methods. Oral surveys are generally used to get thorough opinions and impressions from the respondents. Oral surveys can be administered in several different ways. For instance, in a group interview, as opposed to a group administered written survey, each respondent is not given an individual questionnaire. Instead, the respondents work in groups to answer the questions together while one person takes notes for the whole group. Another more familiar form of oral survey is the phone survey. Phone surveys can be used to get short one word answers (yes/no), as well as longer answers. Some advantages of using oral surveys include; the administrator’s ability to control the response rate and to answer any questions participants have about the survey.

Written surveys are another way to obtain useful feedback for business. There are 3 types of written surveys; Mail, group, and drop-off surveys. Mail surveys don’t limit the business and allow them to reach a large sample of people. Mail surveys are inexpensive to administer and they are convenient for the respondent because they are able to respond at their leisure. The group administered survey allows a high response rate and the administrator is able to get results in a set time and space. A drop-off survey is similar to a mail survey in that it is convenient for the respondent, but the administrator is able to describe the importance of the survey when it is dropped off. 

University, Colorado State. Writing Guide: Survey Research . 1993-2011. <>.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mystery Shopping Used as an Excellent Research Tool

Mystery shopping is becoming more acceptable as a market research tool with each passing day. It originated as a method to find out how happy consumers are with retail companies as well as find out how effective their employees go about their duties but it's now been adopted even by airline companies, auto dealerships, restaurants and many other companies. Companies employee secret shoppers to provide feedback on how effective their employees are in customer services and how much they appreciate their companies.

Mystery shopping is a method used to find out how excellent their customer service is. Mystery shopping is an easy way to get the best out of your customer service employees in order to satisfy your customer needs and help boost profits through increased sales.
Many firms have mystery shopping departments for employing mystery shoppers for their range of companies. Critics believe that mystery shopping is one of the best options when it comes to market research because the shoppers always talk about specific aspects of the companies exactly as they see it just like any ordinary shopper and they can't be noticed by other shoppers as well as company employees.
Squidoo. (2011). Retrieved from Mystery Shopping- A Research Tool:

How Mystery Shopping Differs from Market Research

Mystery shoppers must follow specific guidelines on what to do during an evaluation and shop at specified locations they may not normally visit. Marketing research study participants are not given evaluation guidelines in advance.

Mystery shopping is typically more operational in nature than marketing research and is most often used for quality control, training and incentive purposes. Marketing research is used most often to determine real customer and prospect opinions, perceptions, needs, and wants.

Mystery shoppers are recruited based on specific profiles that closely match a company's real customers. Marketing research study participants are sampled at random from a qualified population to represent a larger population.

Mystery shoppers are asked to be objective and explain observations. Marketing research study participants are encouraged give their subjective opinions freely.

Michelson, M. (2003, November 1). MSPA North America. Retrieved from

Mystery Shopping and Market Research Benefit Each Other

The reason market research is so important to mystery shopping is because mystery shopping is such a popular and important tool used in market research. Some of the largest employers of mystery shoppers are market research companies who have been hired to discover how everyday customers view a company’s services and products. Simply put, it is very common for mystery shoppers to work directly for a market research company rather than a specific business. Mystery shoppers conduct field research for market research companies who then use their feedback to report back to the client.

Mystery shopping is a market research tool this is being used more and more. For example, a study conducted on hospitals showed that patient satisfaction played an important role in the distribution of salaries for administrators. More so than in years past when patient satisfaction wasn’t a factor in determining salaries and administrators had less motivation to provide good customer service. By using mystery shoppers, these levels of satisfaction can be measured. It might mean that a mystery shopping report to a market research company could directly influence how a hospital communicates with its administrators about customer service. In essence mystery shopping, while an important tool for market research, is ultimately used to improve business for customers. (2011). Retrieved from Mystery Shopping and Market Research:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Interesting Article on Exit Surveys

You know that getting to know your customer is important, but how do exactly do you do that? This is where what is known as an ‘exit survey’ or ‘comment card’ is invaluable. It stands to reason that if your customer is your most valuable asset, then speaking directly with him is a powerful tool. Not only will you gather information about who your customer is, but you will then be able to communicate with them, sending out promotions and information that will be invaluable for building a fruitful relationship. Don’t forget, it’s easier (and cheaper) to market to existing customers than to new ones, so this customer database will become invaluable. Keep adding to your database with EVERY customer and potential customer. No matter what business you are in, you can, and should, find a way to speak with your customer at the end of any interaction. Find out from your customer’s perspective what you are doing right and what you need to improve on.
         Exit surveys are a surprisingly simple and effective marketing tool to do this. Essentially they are mini surveys given at the end of the customer’s time with you. Give them to a customer with an invoice, after a service rendered, or while they are waiting for their bill.  Where possible, have staff hand the survey to clients in person and explain that you would like to hear their thoughts about their experience. You may incentivize it with a chance to win something, but to make it simpler you can just ask people sincerely to give their thoughts. Most people are delighted to give their opinion, especially the people who have enjoyed their experience with you (who are, after all, your best customers and the ones you are going to want to develop a relationship with) or unsatisfied customers (who you will want to appease in order to reduce negative word of mouth). Make sure that your staff understands what the survey is for (to better understand the customer and meet his needs).
      Use the information at weekly staff meetings to gauge performance, praise staff and discuss problem points. Send unhappy customers an offer to come back and give you another try; it is amazing how powerful an unhappy customer that you have turned around can be for spreading great word of mouth.
Add this information to your customer database and use it to refine your knowledge and carry out marketing campaigns. Filter customers by different criteria and look for opportunities. Test follow-up campaigns to encourage repeat customers. Send an email or postcard, thanking the customer for their business with an offer for the next time they do business with you.