At Global Link, we approach the Customer side of Marketing and Sales effectiveness in a multidimensional and customized manner. It is our strong belief, based on our long and wide experience, that Service Quality and Selling Effectiveness are two distinct parameters that need to be addressed, initially separately, and then combined. It is this combination that we use to provide information and insights for the development of the Marketing and Sales Strategies and Loyalty development tactics and programs.
Starting with a robust model of the Service Quality measurement along five dimensions, we proceed to measure customer satisfaction versus competition and identify customer segments that their needs are covered to varying degrees.
The Selling Effectiveness issue is approached by using an advanced version of the Mystery Shopping which we then combine with Customer Satisfaction Findings and our Vertical Selling Diagnostic tool that captures gaps between managerial perceptions and actual selling and service customer experience.
This integrated approach provides our clients with problem identification and problem solving directives that enable them to proceed with corrective actions in the identified problem areas, that maximise the market opportunities with low cost performance improvement initiatives.
Mystery shopping tool
The application of the observation based dyadic research methodology of Mystery shopping applied is being continually developed in the 30 years of our experience and its application in more than 40 companies.
The objectives of our research are not confined in the description of the customer service process and the sales steps as they are applied in the salesperson- customer interaction. Instead our objectives proceed with the identification and evaluation of the relative importance of the various stages and elements of this interaction, thus revealing the “moments of truth”, that define its effectiveness in relation to the company and salespersons objectives that might go further in servicing a customer and walking the “extra mile” that transforms an ordinary buying process into a shopping experience.
The methodology that we follow is comprised of six steps:
- Specification of the objectives in terms of the behavioural aspects of the selling process, as applied at the particular time by the sales/service personnel.
- Development and the pilot testing of the observation scenarios and respective observation guides, that takes into account the typologies of the salespersons and the customer profiles as well as the objectives of the customers when visiting the point of sale.
- Statistical analysis of the results to reveal the correlations of specific behaviours of the salespersons with the required sales objectives in relation to previous research findings and benchmarks.
- Explanatory research for identifying the reasons behind the gaps between actual and desired behaviours in the context of the buying scenarios used. The application of our Vertical Sales Diagnostic tools is based on the investigation and the convergence/divergence of opinions of employees working on all levels and sales related functions.
- Using our digital qualitative platform, we probe into the mystery shoppers’ experience in order to identify those salespersons’ initiatives that, by going beyond the "typically correct" behaviours, create customer enthusiasm allowing the continuous enrichment of the “model sales behavior”.
- On line follow-up of the research process through the specially developed Global Link pltform application, that provides real time information on the mystery shopping visits, so that corrective action can be taken at any point in time.
Vertical Selling Diagnostic (VSD)
We treat customer experience research as an opportunity to reveal those aspects of customers’ behavior that impact upon their relationship with the brand as experienced when a product is purchased and used.
Furthermore, our experience has verified the importance of the people element in the success of the sales related as well as the relationship marketing objectives and has led us to provide our customers with the VSD, a flexible qualitative tool that uncovers issues and solutions that are helpful in taking action to fill the gaps that our mystery shopping and customer satisfaction research is identifying.
The specific objectives and the VSD methodology revolve around 3 axes.
- The presentation of the different viewpoints and perceptions that exist within the client company regarding the performance of the service, selling and customer care at different levels of its organizational structure.
- The investigation of “missing links” in the Value Chain” of the company, in relation to the implementation of the customer relationship strategy.
- The identification of improvement areas, in the form of “quick wins” that can be developed and applied using mostly company resources more effectively.
The methodology we apply is based on a series of semi-structured in depth interviews at usually four levels, with employees/salespeople, Supervisors/Area Mangers, Managers, and Directors. Our main themes revolve around:
- Job priorities framework.
- Brand Positioning
- Stores Positioning
- Salespeople positioning.
- Selling process “moments of truth”
- People and processes development practices
The points raised after the interviews are completed are then cross-checked for revealing the level of agreement and the possible inconsistencies in the perceptions of employees and executives regarding the performance of the Value Chain at the customer “touch points” that call for corrective actions.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Starting from the “classic” approach of customer satisfaction, the Global Link approach is based on the premise that, a so important marketing variable, such as the customer satisfaction, should not be simply described and measured, but it should also be understood in all its dimensions and performance drivers. On this basis, our research approach is not simply descriptive, as description alone is not sufficient for making research based suggestions, but it is supplemented by an explanatory view that provides effective action recommendations.
Our research objectives are first to arrive at a tailor-made customer satisfaction model that includes all the dimensions of customer expectations as well as the actual experience dimensions. On this basis, we then proceed with measuring and arriving at conclusions regarding the current status as well as recommendations for aligning the company customer related performance to its marketing objectives and strategies.
Our methodology is based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods that investigate the two kinds of drivers of the satisfaction level, by distinguishing between the expectations related drivers and the experience related drivers, thus providing insights into the “mechanism” that produces varying degrees of customer satisfaction. In this process, moderating and mediating factors, such as customer profiles and competitive value offerings, are brought into light. Typical measurements that we also produce through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods are:
- Overall Satisfaction Measure (Attitudinal)
- Loyalty Measurement (Affective, Behavioural)
- A Series of Attribute Satisfaction Measurements (Affective and Cognitive)
- Intentions to Repurchase Measurements (Behavioral Measures)