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A More Effective Alternative to Secret Shopping for Wireless Retailers

When it comes to improving marketing and sales for wireless dealers, getting feedback on sales representatives’ performance and the overall customer experience is critical. Wireless dealers, and other retailers, have traditionally approached this by employing secret shoppers – people hired by the company to pretend to be shoppers and then provide feedback. This technique often has been preferred over store visits since employees often act differently when a manager is present. But, secret shopping has its limitations.

Each secret shopper can provide only a single example of the customer experience, which offers some insight, but doesn’t deliver a large enough pool of feedback to be significant. In addition, secret shoppers are not real customers; their movement through a store and their interactions with employees are fabricated. Meanwhile, the other people shopping in your stores are your actual customers with real needs and expectations. Why not watch their interactions to gain authentic feedback?

In a previous article on this blog, Allan Pulga of iQmetrix wrote about how wireless retailers can increase profits by combining video with critical business data to drill down to the exact story behind specific data points – using video-driven business intelligence technology. While this type of technology has many applications (including analyzing and improving loss prevention, operations, employee training, and marketing), it can be used as an effective alternative to secret shopping.

Using Video-Driven Business Intelligence to Improve Wireless Retail Sales

By aligning video with business data, video-driven business intelligence (video-driven BI) technology allows you to create reports that organize customer interactions into groups by type of transaction. Then, you can access the exact video related to those transactions. For example, you can group transactions by number of accessories sold, and then view the transactions in which no accessories were sold, and those in which a higher than average number were sold – giving you real-world insights into which employee approaches work well, and which ones don’t.

Here’s a recommended process for putting video-driven BI technology to work for virtual secret shopping:

  1. Pick a transaction type to focus on, such as “upgrades with no accessories sold”.
  2. Have managers review a sampling of associated video with an eye for the best and worst sales approaches.
  3. Share the video clips with your managers and discuss observations and ideas for improvement.
  4. Agree, as a team, on training points.
  5. Ask managers to work with sales representatives on their techniques.
  6. Audit progress using the same video + business data approach to determine if sales representatives are using the new techniques and how the new approaches are impacting performance.

By employing this type of process using video-driven BI technology, you can take the concept of secret shopping to new levels. With authentic visibility into real-world customers, you’ll have the insights you need to improve employee performance – and sales – across all of your wireless retail stores.

About the Author — Matt Steinfort

Matt is responsible for both the strategic direction and the day-to-day operation of Envysion. Prior to Envysion, Matt was SVP of Corporate Strategy at ICG Communications and held a variety of executive roles at Level 3 Communications, including VP of Consumer Voice, VP of Strategy and VP of Finance. Matt’s early career included stints at management consultancy Bain & Company and IT consultancy Cambridge Technology Partners. Matt received a Bachelors in Civil Engineering and Operations Research from Princeton University and an MBA from the MIT-Sloan School of Management.

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