Threats and Opportunities for Wireless Carriers

 A new research study by Deloitte (2017 Global Mobile Consumer Study) contends that the wireless industry will continue growing in 2017, fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT). Their research points out three major trends driving the growth:

  • "US consumers are looking at their devices more than 9 billion times a day in the aggregate–up 13 percent from last year.
  • Smartphone sales are still strong, with penetration up 10 percent year over year, and the highest growth percentages coming in the 45-54 and 55+ age demographics–groups that have previously lagged behind younger consumers.
  • While they are still relatively niche products, wearables such as smart watches and fitness bands have seen tremendous percentage growth. Smartwatch penetration doubled from 2014 to 2015 and tripled in 2016; smartwatches have now penetrated roughly 12 percent of the mobile consumer market in the US.”

Source: Telecommunications Industry Outlook 2017, Deloitte

To capture that market share, Deloitte notes that investments in infrastructure and connectivity will continue to be key, but argues that a critical focus on operations, including customer care, billing, and sales models will be key to growth.

Market Force Information’s recent consumer research validates this conclusion. In our research we found that 13% of consumers plan to switch wireless carriers in the next 12 months. The reasons? Along with those related to value and network coverage, two stand out:

  • Customer care: 16% want more courteous and helpful in-store staff; 14% want more courteous and helpful call center staff
  • Billing: 13% want to have bills that are easier to understand

Reasons for considering switching wireless carriers 

Market Force research also found that one in four consumers were dissatisfied with their current wireless carrier and one in three would not recommend. This overall sense of dissatisfaction creates opportunities—as well as threats—to carriers. Metrics that measure the customer experience (CX), across channels, product lines, and customer journey touchpoints will be critical to preventing churn and capturing the life time value of individual customers as they buy more connected devices.

To learn more about our wireless industry research, or how to assess the consumer experience in a highly engaged sales process, please schedule a briefing. We’d be glad to walk you through the results!

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Five tips for measuring grocery guest experience

The competitive grocery space has experienced so many changes in just the last 12 months. Big players like Safeway and Albertson’s have merged. The Whole Foods value proposition has been challenged by consumers who want great food at lower prices. Regional players like Publix have captured market share. And then there’s the big squeeze from mass merchandisers like Walmart and convenience stores like QuickTrip.

In this dynamic and competitive landscape, keeping the focus on your customers and delivering to your brand standards can be challenging. So to help you do that, let me offer five tips for measuring customer experience in the grocery industry. These tips come from our most recent grocery research and some of our customers in this space, like Aldi

  • Pay close attention to the checkout experience. Cashier courtesy, bagging, and efficiency of line management really matter to grocery consumers. We’ve found that consumers are forgiving if they feel lines are being managed well, tills are open, and cashiers continue to be courteous even in the face of long lines.
  • Let the specialty departments be the face of your brand. In our panel research and client programs we’ve validated over and over the importance of service in the specialty departments. Product knowledge and suggestions are very important to delivering a great experience and can help you differentiate.
  • Solve problems. When customers have a problem, your staff need to be empowered to solve those problems, either on the floor, at the service counter, at the till, or in the contact center. Make sure you’ve trained staff on common issues and how to solve them, and the helpful and professional attitude that must be maintained.
  • Be squeaky clean. You know this, but let me emphasize the impact your store’s appearance has on your customers. A bright shiny floor and squeaky clean bathroom tells customers that you’re handling their food properly—and when they’re buying fresh produce, meat and seafood, that really matters.
  • Make sure your customers receive consistent messaging online and in-store. Whatever you say online needs to be honored in the store. Coupon redemption, loyalty card points, special product promotions—whatever consumers read online or in the store must match. If they don’t, you’ll confuse or anger your customers and hurt your brand. Consider using customer journey mapping to help you understand the customer’s omnichannel experience. 

I hope you enjoyed these five tips for managing the grocery customer’s experience and your own brand reputation. Good luck!

Jay Little is a Director of Strategic Relations at Market Force Information and has over 10 years’ experience working with some of the biggest brands in the UK. He oversees the team of Key Account Managers who will help your business understand the key drivers & insights that will drive the biggest ROI, either in loyalty or financial return.

CX ROI: What's the value of investing?

There are two schools of thought around customer experience. The first school says, “Of course you have to focus on customers. Just do it.” The second says, “I have any number of initiatives where I need to spend money. Prove to me that my investment in CX has an ROI.” The latter is a tall order, but the link has been proven both by independent companies like Forrester and through modeling work by Market Force.

In July of 2015, Forrester released new research regarding the link between CX investments and ROI. The original research found a link between CX leaders versus CX laggards and stock returns, but also noted that there is lots of noise in the stock return data. In the new research, they focused on modeling to revenue in five different industries. The rich research (see www.Forrester.com, “Does Customer Experience Really Drive Business Success?” by Harley Manning) concludes that it does ... but with some caveats. For example, industries with lots of competition and freedom of choice from consumers show a much higher ROI on CX investments than industries where there is little choice and consumers are trapped.

Over the years, Market Force has created dozens of sophisticated models showing the relationship between customer experience and revenue, and indeed, the expected ROI when locations improved their performance on critical drivers of both. Example industries and KPI’s where we have found those relationships include:

  • Hotel: Increased Revenue Per Available Room (REVPar)
  • Petro Convenience: Volume of gas sold
  • Restaurant: Year Over Year Same Store Sales comps
  • Grocery: Annual household spend and same store sales
  • Retail Banking: Number of portfolio products purchased

The work is not for the faint of heart and requires much more than trying to generate a correlation between two columns of numbers. But the results open the eyes of executives and investors alike as they see the return on improving the customer experience. Read one of our case studies profiling a wireless retailer or visit our predictive modeling page to learn more about who you can make the case for your investment in customer experience.

  Download Our Case Study


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.

Three Ways to Increase Your Survey Response Rates

Every brand wants customers to provide feedback. That feedback ensures that the brand has solid metrics around the customer experience being delivered by each of its locations—and can then help each location meet or exceed various goals.

A 2015 research study conducted by Market Force showed that 83% of all consumers had completed at least one survey in the past 12 months, with an average of three to four being completed in that same time period. That’s good news. The bad news is that they are bombarded with requests to give their feedback. Both the market research and customer experience industries suffer from response fatigue. So how can you ensure every location in your brand receives the feedback they need to delight customers? 

1. Let customers use the channel they prefer to respond to you—and don’t make assumptions. In a recent pilot for a major petro-convenience retailer, Market Force tracked what channel consumers used to respond to surveys. You may be surprised:

  • 24% used the URL invitation to begin the survey
  • 12% scanned the QR code (no kidding!)
  • 40% used the SMS text code
  • 15% used Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

2. Make the survey visible. We see this mistake so often. The only visibility to the survey is the receipt tape—and that’s not often easily seen! Augment your receipt tapes with great materials that include the SMS text code, the QR code, the phone number, and the URL. Use window clings, table tents, print on bags and cups, have a “business card” at the register . . . all of these things will help you increase the chances that customers see the invitation and respond.

3. Offer a smart and flexible incentive. In our 2015 research consumers indicated that they are most likely to respond when they get a gift card or a have a bounce back—of course. That’s expensive, but if you can manage budget for that, it’s important to offer. Sweepstakes do work, but if you use them, make sure you have many chances of winning smaller prizes rather than one big prize with a low probability of winning. Finally, do consider giving the winner the option to contribute monies toward a charity supported by the brand. There are some do-gooders out there who prefer this and it’s great for building up the brand reputation and support philanthropic initiatives.

Getting a consistent flow of 20 to 30 surveys per month per location takes resources and planning. Make it your mission so every location has what they need to delight their customers and be an A player in your organization. For more information about Market Force’s approach to customer experience surveys:

  Download our Solution Sheet

The results are in! Market Force’s annual QSR survey

The results are in. Each year Market Force conducts a QSR panel survey across multiple categories, looking at which brands are consumer favorites and why. We conduct the survey in both the US and UK, this year surveying 10,477 and 4,565 consumers, respectively. The ranking is not just for overall favorite brands, but the survey delves into each brand’s ranking for factors such as staff friendliness, value, curb appeal, atmosphere and food quality, among others.

The study also looks at which factors are most important to consumers in each category. For example, in the pub category in the UK study, we identified six key factors that gave the biggest lift to satisfaction. Executing on all six factors resulted in an 89% lift in customer satisfaction. Furthermore, those respondents who gave a score of 5 (very satisfied) compared to a score of 4 (satisfied) were 3.6 times more likely to recommend to friends. With 36% of respondents saying new trials were driven by a recommendation by a friend or family member, clearly, executing on the key factors is critical for growing the business and the bottom line.

A theme that we see year after year is that it’s not ok to be just ok in this fiercely competitive sector. With so many choices, QSRs need to get it right to satisfy consumers, keep them coming back for more and referring the restaurant to friends. In the survey we learn what key areas QSRs in each category need to get right to delight the customer.

In this year’s surveys we also look at the influence of mobile apps, paying with digital wallets, loyalty programs, whether guests report dissatisfaction and how, how many respondents are trying new brands, and what drives new trials, among other topics.

You can find highlights of the 2015 results here. Watch for the 2016 results coming soon, or schedule a briefing and we’ll walk you through the 2016 results.

Jay Little is a Director of Strategic Relations at Market Force Information and has over 10 years’ experience working with some of the biggest brands in the UK. He oversees the team of Key Account Managers who will help your business understand the key drivers & insights that will drive the biggest ROI, either in loyalty or financial return.

A softening economy means renewed focus on CX

The World Bank projects a 3.3% growth in GDP for 2016. But the projection for high income countries is lower, with the US at 2.8% and Europe at 1.8%. When the economy softens, businesses typically respond in two ways:

  1. By cutting costs
  2. By seizing the opportunity to gain competitive market share.

The one thing businesses must not do is short-change their focus on customers. 

A 2015 study by Forrester Research shows that companies that deliver excellent customer experience have a high correlation with likelihood to recommend and consider the company for another purchase. They also have a much lower likelihood of switching—key when competitors lower their prices or introduce new offers to lure customers away. What’s really interesting in Forrester’s research is that many companies are putting a renewed focus on customer experience with various indices and ratings skewing higher. Most importantly, Forrester cites research demonstrating the strong relationship between share holder value and actual revenue. 

    Market Force’s research confirms that emphasizing the customer experience impacts loyalty and revenue. Across dozens of statistical models we have built for clients in the restaurant, retail, grocery, wireless, and petro-convenience spaces, we’ve found that high satisfaction rates result in 2x to 12x higher recommendation ratings. In addition, we’ve found that a focus on operational excellence and customer experience has a positive and significant impact on revenue results like YoY same store sales (restaurant), conversion rates (retail), household spend (grocery) and volume of fuel sold (petro-convenience). 

    The strong relationship between CX and financials makes a compelling argument for continuing your investment in customer experience. Continue measuring so you understand how every function and every location delivers to customers. Increase the visibility of those measures, and make sure every employee understands his or her impact on the customer experience and is committed to excellence. Demand action with commitment from managers to addressing issues and improving scores. Model the relationship between CX and financials to show ROI and build the business case for keeping your program intact. Your investment will help your business thrive in a slowing economy. 

    View our Strategic Advisory Services

    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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