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MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger1 MSPA MADRID 2004 Riding the Tiger: Advances in Mystery Shopping Technology Tony Felos and John Hsu Managing Partners,

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Presentation on theme: "MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger1 MSPA MADRID 2004 Riding the Tiger: Advances in Mystery Shopping Technology Tony Felos and John Hsu Managing Partners,"— Presentation transcript:

1 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger1 MSPA MADRID 2004 Riding the Tiger: Advances in Mystery Shopping Technology Tony Felos and John Hsu Managing Partners, SurfMerchants LLC N

2 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger2 I. Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? II. What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? III. What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? IV. From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ? N

3 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger3 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? a) COMPREHENSIVE FEATURE SET Mystery Shopping systems need an unusually wide range of functionality SURVEYS SCORING REVIEWERS CLIENTS SCHEDULERS SHOPPERS PAYMENTS/BILLING REPORTS N

4 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger4 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? a) COMPREHENSIVE FEATURE SET b) ABILITY TO OVERCOME A LACK OF STANDARD METHODOLOGY: Every mystery shopping company does things differently. Developers have to guess how to build systems. Example: Even the basic terminology is different: -> Shop, Report, Evaluation, Job, Visit, Assessment ? -> Reviewer, Editor, Proofreader ? Successful systems devise an interface that works for a majority of clients

5 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger5 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? a) COMPREHENSIVE FEATURE SET b) ABILITY TO OVERCOME A LACK OF STANDARD METHODOLOGY: c)SUFFICIENT FLEXIBILITY TO MEET CLIENT DEMAND: Mystery Shopping Clients are usually larger than MSP’s and have unusual leverage in demanding customizations.

6 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger6 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? c) SUFFICIENT FLEXIBILITY TO MEET CLIENT DEMAND Vendor / Client relationship examples : Microsoft : New Versions of Windows McDonalds: New Fries TALL, GRANDE and VENTI ? Starbucks - can impose terminology upon customers

7 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger7 Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? c) SUFFICIENT FLEXIBILITY TO MEET CLIENT DEMAND In mystery shopping, many clients: Are larger than MSPs. Want to replicate their previous systems Will not hesitate to ask for customizations In flexible systems, most customizations are both possible and affordable.

8 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger8 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? a) COMPREHENSIVE FEATURE SET b) ABILITY TO OVERCOME A LACK OF STANDARD METHODOLOGY/BEST PRACTICES c)SUFFICIENT FLEXIBILITY TO MEET CLIENT DEMAND d)SCALABILITY System performance must be sustainable under high shop volumes

9 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger9 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? d) SCALABILITY Easy to build low volume systems, hard to build high volume systems Very difficult to test for high volume performance (hard to simulate thousands of simultaneous users doing different tasks) Successful systems allow MSPs to increase shop volumes without limitations or uncertainty

10 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger10 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? a) COMPREHENSIVE FEATURE SET b) ABILITY TO OVERCOME A LACK OF STANDARD METHODOLOGY/BEST PRACTICES c)SUFFICIENT FLEXIBILITY TO MEET CLIENT DEMAND d)SCALABILITY e)RAPID AND CONSTANT EVOLUTION Systems must stay current and competitive in an industry still undergoing constant change

11 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger11 I) Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? e) RAPID AND CONSTANT EVOLUTION WORD PROCESSING SOFTWARE: Mature industry (word processing around for 25+ years) Word processing has well defined requirements, industry accepted interfaces Today’s version will still be usable and competitive for 3-5 years MYSTERY SHOPPING SOFTWARE : Young industry (6 years ???) Mystery shopping has constantly growing requirements,no industry accepted interfaces Today’s version MAY be competitive for 1 or 2 years. Constant investment required ! N

12 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger12 I. Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? II. What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? III. What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? IV. From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ?

13 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger13 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? SCHEDULING Search for Shoppers Contact Shopper Return Messages Send Forms & Instructions NON AUTOMATED SYSTEM scheduling 1000 locations in 50 states 1 search per state Avg 2.5 calls per location to find shopper ___________ 50 searches ___________ 2500 calls Avg 1 return call to shoppers who didn’t get shop ___________ 1000 calls 100 shop packages delivered by email, fax or mail ____________ 1000 packages

14 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger14 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? SCHEDULING Search for Shoppers Contact Shopper Assign Shops Send Forms & Instructions AUTOMATED SYSTEM scheduling 1000 locations in 50 states System executes searches simultan- eously System sends email to all shoppers near any location ________ 1 search ________ 1 batch of emails Scheduler assigns shop to best shopper. System auto- sends rejections to others _____________ 1000 assigns 0 return calls Shoppers pick up form and instructions on the web site ____________ 1 package uploaded to web Shoppers Apply Shoppers apply for shops ________ 0 scheduler tasks

15 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger15 Automated system: 1003 tasks II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non- automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? SCHEDULING Comparison: scheduling 1000 locations in 10 states 1 search 1 batch of emails 1000 assigns 0 return calls 1 package uploaded to web 0 tasks 50 searches2500 calls1000 calls1000 packages Non automated system: 4550 tasks

16 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger16 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? DATA COLLECTION & CORRECTION DATA ENTRY ValidationsShop Corrections Proofreading NON AUTOMATED SYSTEM : 1000 shops a month Shopper calls, emails or faxes survey. Data Entry enters shop into database Proofreader checks that answers are valid, none missing ___________ 1000 data entry tasks ___________ 1000 validation tasks 20% of shops require more info from shopper or major corrections by proofreader ___________ 200 shop resubmissions Proofreaders check for content, spelling and grammar problems ____________ 1000 proofing tasks

17 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger17 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? DATA COLLECTION & CORRECTION DATA ENTRY ValidationsShop Corrections Proofreading AUTOMATED SYSTEM : 1000 shops a month Shopper submits survey directly into database (shopper can spellcheck on web) System checks that answers are valid, none missing ___________ 0 data entry tasks ___________ 0 validation tasks 5% of shops require more info from shopper or major corrections by proofreader ___________ 50 shop resubmissions Proofreaders check for content, spelling and grammar problems ____________ 1000 proofing tasks

18 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger18 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non- automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? DATA COLLECTION & CORRECTION COMPARISON : 1000 shops a month 0 data entry tasks 0 validation tasks 50 shop resubmissions 1000 proofing tasks 1000 data entry tasks 1000 validation tasks 200 shop resubmissions 1000 proofing tasks NON AUTOMATED SYSTEM: 3200 tasks AUTOMATED SYSTEM: 1050 tasks

19 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger19 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? REPORTING NON AUTOMATED: 1000 shops, 300 stores, 30 regions 1000 shop reports for store mgrs. 1000 shop reports for regional mgrs. 300 location monthly reports for store mgrs. 300 location monthly reports for regional mgrs. 30 regional monthly reports for regional mgrs. 30 Year to Date regional reports for regional mgrs. __________________________________________ 2660 reports to calculate 2660 reports to publish (on paper, CD, fax, email) 3-7 days to wait for data to be received by client

20 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger20 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? REPORTING AUTOMATED SYSTEM 1 shop report (on web) Store and Regional Mgrs view shop reports for stores under their management. 1 selectable date range report (on web) Store and Regional Mgrs generate monthly reports (for stores under their mgt.) Regional Managers generate YTD reports for their region __________________________________________ 2 reports to load onto the web 0 reports to publish (on paper, CD, fax, email) 0 days to wait for data to be received

21 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger21 II) What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? Overall effect is to increase: 1) Efficiency 2) Quality/Accuracy 3) Capacity 4) Potential client base …. without large additions to workforce and payroll. N

22 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger22 I. Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? II. What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? III. What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? BIG DISCLAIMER FOR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE ! N

23 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger23 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 1 - Multiple Scheduling Methods a) Scheduler Assign Shoppers apply Scheduler selects best applicant b) Self Assign (First Come, First Serve) Often sacrifices quality of shopper c) Hybrid : Scheduler Assign and Qualified Self Assign based on MSPA shopper certifications Shopper Rating # shops completed d) Circuit (shopper is assigned a group of shops)

24 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger24 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 2 - Shopper “Helper” Applications a) Reminder Systems Emails reminders 1 day and 3 days before shop b) Assignment Confirmation Shoppers must acknowledge that they have received assignments or risk losing shop N

25 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger25 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 3 - Web Free Surveys a) Long Forms & Multiple Page Forms b) Multiple day & travel shops c) Audit / Inventory d) Direct customer surveys

26 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger26 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 3 - Web Free Surveys PDA (Palm)Desktop (Laptop)Cell Phone

27 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger27 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 3 - Web Free Surveys PDA (Palm) Desktop (Laptop)Cell PhoneWeb Forms Form Specifications PDA survey Web Interpreter Desktop survey Cell Phone survey Slow and costly development model

28 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger28 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 3 - Web Free Surveys PDA (Palm) Desktop (Laptop)Cell PhoneWeb Forms Form Specifications Java ApplicationWeb Interpreter Rapid development model

29 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger29 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 4 - Flexible Forms TYPICAL Web Form (one row per question) Bad Boys CD $ Matrix CD $ LOTR CD $ X Men CD $ Bad Boys VHS $ Matrix VHS $ LOTR VHS $ etc....... $ Bad Boys MatrixLOTRX Men CD $$$$ VHS $$$$ DVD $$$$ PSII $$$$ Grid / Table style form (better for audit/inventory)

30 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger30 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 4 - Flexible Forms Standard Layout Example

31 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger31 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 4 - Flexible Forms Custom Layout Example N

32 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger32 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 5 - Dynamic Forms One form that automatically changes depending on the situation Better than multiple forms (cleaner reporting of combined results)

33 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger33 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 5 - Dynamic Forms Form changes according to DATE Jan Form Feb Form Rate the ice cream Rate the donuts Constant 200 shops Jan Report Feb Report Rate the ice cream Rate the donuts Jan-Feb Report Rate the donuts Rate the ice cream 400 answers 200 shops 200 answers 200 answers Constant

34 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger34 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 5 - Dynamic Forms Form changes according to LOCATION EconomyStandard Pool 100 shops DeluxeReport Health club Pool 350 answers 200 shops 100 answers 50 answers Health club Pool Health club Pool Health club 50 shops Constant

35 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger35 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 6 - Multi-service Capabilities Correlate mystery shopping with the following marketing/sales data): Direct Customer Feedback Customer traffic Sales Figures Training effectiveness

36 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger36 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 7 - Shopper Testing and Qualification  MSPA testing  MSP level shopper testing N

37 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger37 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 8 - ICR (interactive Computer Response) vs. IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Instead of giving phone number to take survey, give a web address for:  Electronic Comment Cards  Polling  Customer Satisfaction Surveys Like IVR, ICR can:  Be printed on receipts, coupons, menus, literature  Include back-end incentives (Gift certificates in PDF format) N

38 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger38 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 9 - Data Delivery Methods a) Web Reports b) Excel Reports c) Data Dumps d) PDF Distribution Email the link to download PDFs from the web Email PDFs directly to the client N

39 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger39 III) What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? 10 - Niche Specialists  Mystery Shopping Specialists in certain industries i.e. “The world’s expert in mystery shopping for BEER !?!!??”  MSP owners usually former workers in their specialty  Excel in form and report design for their specialty  More of a consultant than a vendor relationship  Can usually charge higher shop fees

40 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger40 I. Why is mystery shopping technology so difficult to develop and what are the characteristics of successful systems? II. What are the key advantages of automated web based mystery shopping over non-automated or non-web based mystery shopping ? III. What do we see as the top emerging technologies and trends in mystery shopping ? IV. From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ?

41 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger41 IV) From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ? 1 - Internet Usage ©Copyright 2004, www.InternetWorldStats.com. All rights reserved. http://www.internetworldstats.com/s tats4.htm N

42 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger42 IV) From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ? 2 - Differences in many parameters Units currency weight height Demographics race / nationality education marital status Geographics Phone area code Postal code State/Province/Territory Country These differences require a system that can automatically switch to accommodate these different parameters. Time/Date 12 or 24 hour time Month/Day/Year or Day/Month/Year

43 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger43 IV) From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ? 3 - Alliances instead of acquisitions Reasons More multinational clients in Europe Many MSPs are part of a larger company (usually marketing research company) More difficult to acquire and operate companies across national borders Demands on technology Again, system must be able to automatically handle parameter differences in countries Collaborative modes (allowing sharing of resources like shoppers)

44 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger44 IV) From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ? 4 - Multilingual Issues Different levels of Multilingual systems (Which users need a system in their native language ?) A. Multilingual surveys B. Multilingual shopper interfaces C. Multilingual client interface and reports D. Multilingual interface for MSP staff

45 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger45 IV) From a technology perspective, how is European mystery shopping different from North American mystery shopping ? 4 - Multilingual Issues : Different Development models Multiple Parallel Systems FrenchGerman Spanish One Dynamic System F G S F G S French Library German Library Spanish Library Faster to set up initially (translations, no logic) Harder to add languages Each system must be updated individually F G S F G S F G S F G S More complex set up initially (logical switching) Easy to add language libraries Only one system to update N

46 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger46 FINAL THOUGHT: The Limits of Technology YOUR TECHNOLOGY IS NOT YOUR COMPANY N

47 MSPA Madrid 2004: Riding the Tiger47 This presentation will be available at For more information,please email SurfMerchants at info@surfmerchants.com info@surfmerchants.com


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