Market Force Information Named a “Breakout Vendor” by Leading Global Research Firm

CX management solution provider recognized for linking location-specific customer experience to revenue opportunities

LOUISVILLE, Colo., Jan. 17, 2017— Market Force Information® (Market Force), a leader in customer experience management, has been recognized by Forrester Research as a breakout vendor among domain-specific insight services providers with the capability to help business units achieve actionable insights and tangible business value.

In the January 2017 report, Breakout Vendors: Domain-Specific Insights Service Providers, Forrester Research notes that many firms struggle to deliver data-derived insights to their internal functional teams, which leads them to seek out providers that offer an end-to-end approach to obtain unique actionable insights with tangible business value.

Market Force is profiled as a breakout vendor for its deep expertise in the customer experience (CX) domain, including helping corporate executives and local managers identify and improve upon the most important drivers of a positive customer experience. According to the report, “Market Force Information helps multi-location businesses improve financial performance through better CX.” Additionally, “To capitalize on brand standards for image, service levels, or customer experience, Market Force Information’s analytics teams identify nonconforming sites and recommend actions.”

The Forrester Research report analyzed Market Force in five specific areas, including:

  • Current offering: Predictive models, data-rich visualizations, decision tools boost CX
  • Scenarios: Location-specific insights differentiate customer-centric strategies
  • Road map: A blueprint for insight-to-execution regarding the new Success Playbook

Market Force provides insights and action to some of the world’s largest retailers, restaurants, grocers, retail banks and other multi-location businesses. It gathers location-based data from channels such as customer surveys, mystery shopping feedback and contact center interactions, and combines these data streams into its KnowledgeForce® platform, which provides a single pane of glass for businesses to drill into problem areas and create plans to improve loyalty and financial outcomes.  

“As Forrester Research notes, businesses need providers with deep domain expertise to achieve meaningful insights, and we’ve all but written the guidebook on tying the customer experience back to loyalty and revenue,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force. “By combining our measurement channels, text analytics and financial modeling capabilities, our clients can understand the highest impact actions that can be taken at every location to maximize revenues and achieve overall brand excellence.”

About Market Force Information
Market Force Information provides location-level measurement solutions that help businesses protect their brand reputation, delight customers and make more money. Solutions include customer experience surveys, mystery shopping and contact center data integrated on one technology and analytics platform. Founded in 2005, Market Force has a growing global presence, with offices in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Spain. It serves over 350 clients that operate multi-location businesses, including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions and entertainment. More information can be found at www.marketforce.com.

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Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

4 Tips for Leveraging Your Audit Data

Almost all multi-location businesses use some form of audit to measure execution against brand standards. Some companies outsource these audits, others use internal staff. Regardless of who collects the data, this rich source of information and its business impact can be overlooked. The impact of a slip in brand standards can have a dramatic impact on your company’s sales and reputation, potentially causing irreversible damage to your brand. Here are four tips for ensuring that you leverage your audit data for maximum impact:

  1. Measure what matters. Ensure that the audit criteria is relevant, constructive and measureable. We have seen audits that contain hundreds of questions. Take time to step back and ask whether all of the questions are necessary. Do some questions receive 99% or 100% virtually every audit? If so, is this question truly needed? Are safety or regulatory violations clearly called out—and do you have appropriate scoring to weight these concerns?
  2. Allow for variable questions like promotional campaigns. Marketing is at the core of most sales strategies; being able to confidently track their success is pivotal for ROI. Monitoring these campaigns can then allow you benchmark and identify best practices.
  3. Use technology for data collection and reporting. The days of pen and paper are gone. You can help your auditors be more efficient and lower the costs of data collection by using technology. Applications supporting auditors are available on smartphones and tablets and should support the ability to load a multitude of questionnaires to be used in the field. Perhaps more importantly, the questionnaires should load into your brand standards and customer experience (CX) reporting platform so all data for every location can be seen in one place.
  4. Analyze audit data to get insights. Audit data can tell you three things: 1) Who are the repeat offenders who frequently make the same mistakes? Do any of those mistakes create risk for the brand? 2) How does audit data interplay with other CX data? Do those locations with poor audit scores also have poor customer experience scores—and which audit questions predict the customer experience score? 3) How do audit scores relate to financial metrics like lowered costs of service (number of calls, social posts, or web comments that you must field)? How do audit scores relate to revenue? (See our hotel industry case study on how to make these links.)

To help you leverage your audit data, Market Force has developed its new Eyes:On audit application. The app also provides functions such as offline use, image capture, geo-location technology and is fully integrated with KnowledgeForce reporting platform.

Learn more about our effective compliance audit solutions by scheduling a briefing or giving us a call at 1-877-329-9621. 

Learn about our audit capabilities
Tags: audits

On Metrics: Brand Recommendation or Satisfaction with the Experience?

I was recently in a new client’s office discussing the merits of using Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Top Box Overall Satisfaction (OSAT) as the key customer experience metric. That lively discussion highlighted the differences in the two metrics. At Market Force, we think about and use them in very different ways—and it has to do with the exact question being asked.

NPS asks “How likely are you to recommend [brand name] to a friend or colleague?” The question focuses on engagement with the brand itself, and very likely reflects everything from the brand reputation to the products offered. Consider Apple and the iPhone as an example. However, if you are interested in measuring a transactional experience in a multi-location business—we advocate using a different question: “How satisfied were you with your experience at this Apple location?” The questions then become focused on the experience in the store rather than the connection to the brand itself.

In Market Force’s customer experience (CX) management practice with multi-location businesses, we see both metrics being used. We recommend using a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being not at all satisfied and 5 being very satisfied, or delighted. We report top box OSAT as the measure of choice. There are two primary reasons for this choice. First, it’s very actionable at the location level. Based on absolute and relative benchmarks, our clients can set performance goals for every location unique to their individual needs. Second, our panel research clearly shows that competition in every industry is very tight. Receiving a 4 instead of a 5 on a satisfaction metric means anywhere from a 2x to 12x difference in likelihood to recommend. To be competitive you must create a best-in-class/top box experience; you must delight, not just satisfy, your customers.

Our financial modeling work has found that overall satisfaction—and the critical drivers of that metric—predict revenue growth metrics, ranging from same store sales growth for restaurants to revenue per available room for hotels. Our survey design practice advises implementing both questions—satisfaction with the experience and brand recommendation—to get both views. And we clearly advise not being solely dependent on NPS as a metric for your multi-location brand. Your operations teams may see a NPS result as intangible and very difficult to improve their score while specific transactional experiences may seem more in their span of control.

For more detail on how Market Force links financial data to customer experience metrics, please see a recent webinar that we conducted with Forrester on the topic. In this webinar, our own Dr. Cheryl Flink, Chief Strategy Officer for Market Force, compares notes and best practices with Harley Manning, Vice President and Research Director–Forrester. And of course, our Customer Experience eBook provides a very detailed perspective on implementing a comprehensive measurement strategy. 

Mine the Power of Rich Open-Ended Comments

Open-ended comments from sources such as social media, customer surveys, and your contact center can provide rich insights for both the brand and its locations. Executives can see and react to the macro-level brand relevant commentary that will help them shape strategy, products, merchandising, customer experiences and pricing. Location-level operators and franchisees can use commentary to drive and focus training, empowering teams to execute both brand and operational excellence.

Using this data for making the best decisions, though, depends on the analysis. Here are some important considerations when selecting a text analytics platform: 

  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) Algorithm: Choose an engine with excellent NLP capabilities, like IBM Watson’s Alchemy program. This algorithm allows computers to ‘read’ the text that a human has written. Any NLP engine should provide you with categories, more refined categories, entities, word patterns, keywords and sentiment.
     
  • Dataset relevance: Make sure that the questions you want to ask are targeted towards a relevant dataset. As an extreme example: Understanding brand sentiment from a contact center stream is going to give a heavily biased outcome to negative sentiment as many customers use this channel to complain—not provide compliments. 
     
  • Dataset sources: Any datastream with open ended comments is fair game. Consider using social posts, customer satisfaction surveys, contact center comments, and even mystery shopping or audit annotations. 
     
  • Analytics: Online platforms should present categories of data, trending, and be able to pinpoint changes. Analytics teams can take these analyses one step further by using text categories in two ways: 1) As predictors of satisfaction and loyalty and 2) To show the differences in and commentary between different groups. For example, a small business entrepreneur pays attention to and comments very differently on their cell phone purchase experience than a personal user. These differences in conversations can give you keen insights into how to address the needs of various customer segment. 

Market Force has recently introduced our new text analytics platform capabilities. Sentiment and keywords can be tracked in near real-time giving you the ability to track emerging trends—and as with all data, feeds into our KnowledgeForce® platform to provide you a single cross-datastream analysis of what your customers say. We’d be pleased to provide you with a demonstration—just call us at 1-877-329-9621. 

Learn about Text Analytics

Zachary Faruque is the Director of Product Management at Market Force, ensuring that the digital product portfolio is aligned to the strategic requirements of clients.

Pushing Sales Above All Else Hurts Your Brand

It’s Q4 2016, and many of us are in the last quarter of our fiscal year. We’re assessing performance against targets, looking how to close gaps, and simultaneously planning for 2017. As executives and stakeholders in the success of our companies, we all want to achieve our goals, reward our teams, and personally benefit from that success. But what happens when we push too hard for revenue and sales—and how do we know what “too hard” means? Two recent personal experiences reminded me of how thin the line can be.

In September I visited New York City. Now, to be honest, I really hate shopping, but for some time I’d wanted to go on a shopping spree in this beautiful city. I stumbled into a retail store that carries my favorite high-end brand and spent an entire morning there. Two sales associates ended up working with me—but they provided very different experiences. One woman seemed younger and perhaps less experienced than her colleague. She was eager to please and extremely complimentary—in fact, too much so. No matter what I tried on, she said “That looks wonderful on you!” or “You look fabulous!” Sometimes I looked in the mirror and thought, “Nope, no way". The other sales associate was much more honest, and would literally say “That just doesn’t work for you” or “That’s not a good fit”. Which one do you think I trusted? Which one did I want to buy from? Which one did I think was less concerned about her commission and more interested that I was happy with the experience and my purchases? You got it—the more honest one.

Very recently, in preparation for a meeting I visited a wireless retail store. My goal was to experience the sales process. When I walked into the store, the sales associate was alone and was working with a couple who was trying to set up their phone. When he learned that I was thinking about buying a new phone, he immediately dropped his attention from the hapless couple and worked to sell me on a new plan. He did a pretty good job—until I asked him to show me a coverage map. I live in a rural part of Colorado and I wanted to know whether I would have good service. Otherwise any plan—no matter what the price—is worthless. The young man looked at the online coverage map and said “coverage is rated at best or good”. I leaned over his shoulder, and could clearly see that the area around my home was marked as spotty—perhaps good. This young sales associate fudged the truth to try to land the sale. I will not buy from this brand.

When we push our teams so hard for the sale that they undermine the customer experience, our brands suffer. A recent extreme cautionary tale is what happened at Wells Fargo, where associates opened accounts without customer consent. As we think about 2017, let’s remember that customers reward us with their loyalty and increased wallet share when we clearly communicate we care about them and want their business. It’s a virtuous cycle that we need to emphasize as we lead our teams.

For more information about that virtuous cycle, please link to our video with Forrester called “Show Me the Money.” It’s all about how our emphasis on customer experience leads to the ROI we want.

WATCH THE VIDEO

As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.​

Tags: retail

Linking CX Investments to Financials: What the Research Says

Brands continue to invest in customer experience—and that investment is validated by independent analysts in the CX space. MarketsandMarkets projects that the CX space will grow from $4 billion in 2014 to $8 billion in 2020.

Why do brands continue to invest in CX? Because there is a high ROI.

In the recent Market Force webinar featuring Forrester, titled “Show Me The Money”, Forrester profiled companies that they have identified as CX leaders and CX laggards. Using public data, they found that CX leaders beat CX laggards on any number of financial metrics, ranging from compound annual growth to shareholder returns. The webinar showcased differences in leaders and laggards like AT&T vs. Comcast, Southwest Airlines vs. United Airlines, Edward Jones vs. Morgan Stanley, and Amazon vs. Walmart.

In sum, Forrester Research finds that CX leaders, in comparison to laggards:

  • Grow revenue faster
  • Drive more purchase intent
  • Earn greater pricing power
  • Lower their service costs
  • Reduce regulatory compliance risks

Market Force’s research findings focused on applying this research within a brand, looking at the CX ROI for location leaders vs. location laggards. In sum, our own work parallels that of Forrester. We found that CX location leaders, in comparison to laggards:

  1. Have higher revenue than other locations in the system
  2. Reduce costs of service
  3. Reduce regulatory compliance issues
  4. Have more loyal customers and are less vulnerable to competitive threats.

When brands don’t meet their growth and profit goals, they look to cut budget. These joint research findings definitively make the case that CX investments should be one of the last components to be cut from your budget.

We encourage you to watch the webinar, and if you need help in linking your CX investments to ROI, please give us a call 877.329.9621. We’re happy to walk you through relevant case studies and best practices for making the CX-ROI link crystal clear to executives. 

Get in touch

As Chief Strategy Officer, Cheryl aligns Market Force's strategic direction with our clients' strategic objectives. She oversees the North American client base, Analytics and Insights, Winnipeg Operations and Marketing. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and broad business experience in both private and public companies.​

Travelodge: The Key to Unlocking RevPAR

What makes for the perfect hotel stay? And how do the individual factors of the guest experience impact revenue? The UK’s largest independent hotel brand, with more than 37,000 guest bedrooms, Travelodge, wanted to find out. With more than 570,000 guest satisfaction surveys collected at 520+ locations in the UK, Spain and Ireland over the course of a year, Travelodge had a treasure trove of data to figure out how to improve the customer experience–and their bottom line.

Get the case study:

Market Force Hospitality Research 2016

26 September 2016 — Market Force Information helps other bushiness with their customer experience management. In June of this year, it conducted a survey on hotel/motel satisfaction with 9,167 respondents. Of these respondents, who ranged in age from 18 to 65, 75% were women, 25% were men, and 61% had a household income north of $50,000.

Market Force asked these respondents to rank their satisfaction with their most recent hotel or motel stay as well as how likely they would be to recommend that hotel or motel to others. This information led to a Composite Loyalty Index score.

Date: Monday, September 26, 2016
Hotel Online | New Hospitality Study

13 September 2016 — According to a large-scale consumer study conducted by Market Force Information®, a leader in customer experience management, Marriott is consumers’ favorite brand among major hotel and motel chains. The study also found that, while many are using mobile apps to find and book hotels, newer technologies such as check-in kiosks aren’t yet enjoying the same level of success.

More than 9,000 consumers were polled for the study, which was designed to uncover which hotel and motel brands are excelling, competitive differentiators, hospitality technology usage and satisfaction with the hotel experience, among other insights.

Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Hospitality-Technology-Market-Force-Study

9 September 2016 — According to a large-scale consumer study conducted by Market Force Information, many consumers are using mobile apps to find and book hotels, but are shunning newer technologies such as check-in kiosks that are meant to drive efficiencies for guests.

Date: Friday, September 9, 2016

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Schedule a Briefing

To discuss your needs for improving performance for your multi-location brand, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss best practices for measuring the customer experience and compliance to brand standards, using analytics to understand what matters most and the ROI for change, and technology solutions that integrate large quantities of data on one single platform. We look forward to a great discussion!

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