Becoming Customer Centric - Mystery Shopping
by Craig Bailey
We continue our series
on leveraging the Voice of the Customer as a key element to
becoming customer centric with a discussion of the final aspect within the
step of "obtaining the pulse of the customer": Mystery Shopping.
Mystery Shopping essentially involves walking in the shoes of the customer
by interacting with your firm to obtain the experience of the customer
first-hand. Activities that could be considered include:
Contacting the customer service center (online &
Purchasing a product or service (online & offline)
The goal of the above is to assess the experience from the customer's
perspective. As such, it is important to perform the above (or other
mystery shopping) activities numerous times with the goal of obtaining a
representative sampling of the breadth of experiences a customer may have.
In addition, performing these activities may require representing various
customer segments. Mystery shopping activities should be performed during
various times of the day (and/or night, if a 24x7 offering) to determine
if a consistent customer experience is being delivered.
This activity can be formal or informal, depending on the nature and
complexity of the firm. On a more formal basis it may make sense to
predefine a set of attributes that should be assessed in this exercise.
The following table outlines examples of what could be measured for each
of the two mystery shopping items above.
Mystery shopping offers empathetic insight into how the customer may
perceive doing business with your firm. Note that this exercise can also
be effective to perform with competitors as part of a competitive/market
research exercise. By doing so, a comparison can take place between your
firm and others in the marketplace.
It should go without saying that mystery shopping activities need to occur
in such a way that the customer-facing personnel of your firm are unaware.
Otherwise, you may not obtain the true experience of the customer.
In our next edition we will present approaches for "involving the
customer" on our way to sharing practical approaches to taking proactive
and responsive action.
View previous articles in this series.
Supply Chain Synchronization - Service
Peter E. Ventola
This is the second article of a two-part series on using customer
segmentation and product prioritization to manage your supply chain. In
the previous article, I discussed the importance of prioritizing both
customers and products, and provided some ideas to help with this
prioritization process. In this issue, I present a Service Matrix to
demonstrate how you can utilize your customer segmentation and product
prioritization to manage your service capacity.
Segmenting Service by Customer and Product Priorities
Once you have done the work to prioritize customers and products, it is
important to use this information to segment your service capacity.
For example, you should not provide premiere service to everyone, unless
you have unlimited capacity. Using the matrix, you can see that premiere
service should be focused on the upper left quadrant (highest priority
products for Franchise customers). Being clear about your service segments
will lead to improved commitments. The matrix can also be used to drive
rules focusing functions on the franchise customers, including:
• Order acceptance lead time
• Inventory targets
• Manufacturing master and detail scheduling
The trick is to find the rules that help your business establish a
comfortable manufacturing rhythm while supporting the appropriate customer
commitments; these commitments will be driven by your customer/product
It is also important to realize that situations will arise where your
matrix and rules may put business in jeopardy. After all, customers change
in size and scope, so occasional retuning is necessary. I suggest
providing some flexibility in the way of an exception handling process.
Exceptions must be recorded and reviewed as part of the sales and
operations process. In this way, you can be sure that the proper business
is protected and any customer reprioritization can be reviewed as needed.
Aligning your products, customers and business functions will allow you to
stay focused on the appropriate priorities, allowing your business to run
smoothly, without disruptions in the supply chain.
View previous articles in this series.
+ Becoming Customer Centric
+ Recommended Reading
+ Supply Chain Synchronization
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2005: The Year of Growing Carefully by Allan E. Alter, comes from
CIO Insight. Editors at CIO Insight analyzed results from 13
online surveys they conducted throughout 2004 to uncover the trends and
strategies that will shape the CIO's world in 2005 and beyond. This
article presents some of the highlights from the full report. The full
report is available for
purchase from Ziff Davis.
VoC Presentation Available
Material from Craig
Bailey's presentation at the 7th Annual Voice of the Customer
Conference in San Francisco is available on the Customer Centricity
here to download the presentation.
About Customer Centricity, Inc.
We strengthen overall company performance through
better service delivery and management.
We boost efficiencies in front-line customer service and technical support
teams, order processing, fulfillment, field service, logistics and other
key operations functions.
In short, we align the resources of your organization to exceed your
customers' expectations in the most effective and efficient manner
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