eBook: Customer Experience Measurement

This eBook explores methodologies and approaches for measuring customer experience in multi-location businesses. We look at pros and cons based on our experience with hundreds of client programs that address the needs of large and complex Fortune 10 brands with thousands of locations, to emerging brands with 100 or fewer locations.




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Transform your growth strategy with a new analytics approach!

Consistent with historical findings, our latest Consumer Sentiment Study, indicated that consistently satisfying consumer expectations and building trust is the best way to achieve resilience, in any market. This is easy to say, and incredibly hard to do at scale. Based on years of assessing customer and employee experience measures, we find there are common strategies that successful brands adopt that enable them to become leaders in their respective industries. Four distinct practices (in combination) provide transparency in regards to current performance while, at the same time, predict important actions to convert today’s growth possibilities into tomorrow’s realities.

Location-based data like customer experience surveys, employee engagement measures, social media ratings and reviews, mystery shopping, audits, and inbound contacts to your contact center take the pulse of what is currently happening in your business. However, brands too often fall short in their ability to use this data to drive change. In large enterprises, it costs millions of dollars to acquire the data, and millions more to provide the human resources to coach and guide improvements. But without a corresponding investment to drive enterprise knowledge, this spend can be largely ineffective.

The secret to continued success is locked away in enterprise data that is trapped in silos. The resulting effect is unfortunately misinformed priorities, inconsistent action, and a general lack of organizational focus. Ultimately, the result is average performance, continued inconsistency, and no real change in market share. Is it time to unlock your true potential and uncover your brand’s personalized roadmap for growth?

Organizations with engaged and empowered teams, who are executing on the right strategy with specific attainable goals in mind, are far more likely to be successful. Furthermore, teams who have clear goals, aligned reward mechanisms, and consistent guidance are happier and more likely to succeed. By building organizational knowledge using enterprise data, machine learning, and predictive models, you can achieve laser-focus across the enterprise predicated on what matters most to customers and your bottom line.

The 4 strategic shifts that yield market leadership
Success does not happen by accident. Instead, it is a continuum created by the right actions, at the right time, with consistency. It is a commitment to excellence and purpose in everything that you do. Collectively, your customers and your employees know your challenges and opportunities. They know what they want from your brand. They are invested members of your team... and their combined knowledge will help you unlock your true potential.

A roadmap to success
The process begins with a commitment to using enterprise data to unlock hidden knowledge. From there, data-driven and scientifically derived priorities displace gut-feel decision making to create a roadmap that is perfectly aligned with the wants and needs of your customers and employees. You begin to evolve into the best version of your brand creating a magnetic attractive force to bring in new customers, new talent, and elevated sales and profits. Quite simply, engaged employees executing on the right go-to-market plan with the right incentives and performance measures will empower systematic market share growth.

Getting started
It starts with a combination of 4 essential analytics modules to create the most comprehensive and intuitive view of your business you have ever seen.Supporting Analytics Modules:
1. Employee Engagement Strategy
2. Marketing Optimization (product, promotion, price, and place)
3. Location Performance Optimization
4. Market Share Optimization

Followed and repeated, this systematic approach will provide valuable insights on what matters most to your customers and employees, reveal where inefficiencies lie, and quantify what return on investment you can expect by making improvements. The result is a clear roadmap to consistently refine and execute your brand vision. Powerful, transformative, and achievable in partnership with your team of Market Force experts.

Please get in touch to schedule a consultation to begin your transformation journey today.
As a leading strategist with expertise in the design and implementation of CX solutions, Scott’s work focuses on innovation and solutions design to help Market Force clients grow sales and profits.

It’s all about trust! 4 factors you must consider before you reopen your business.

On a state-by-state basis, shelter in place mandates are being lifted as non-essential businesses are starting to reopen. States like Georgia and Texas have opened with limited capacity requirements based on published guidelines for businesses to follow. But while each state’s guidelines are different, there are universal characteristics for reopening that are largely based on guest preferences.

As consumer expectations have changed as a result of the pandemic, Market Force wanted to understand the new dynamics of the marketplace as changes in behaviors are likely to last well past the current crisis. We’ve been conducting a COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study throughout the crisis to keep a pulse on what consumers are looking for in this ‘new normal’.

The primary insight from the research is trust. In order to reopen effectively, brands will need to generate strong degrees of trust across four factors.

1. Brand Trust
The first factor of trust is of the brand itself. Brands already valued by the marketplace will have an easier time than those without perceived brand equity as a strong element of their value proposition with consumers.

2. Employee Trust
The second element is trust from employees. As employees across all industries have been laid off during this crisis, they may have concerns coming back to work in fear they could be putting themselves at risk of getting sick. Can you guarantee that if they get sick once they are back in your store, that you pay them while they self-quarantine?

3. Trust in Following Safety Protocols
The proof is in the pudding as the third element of trust is what guests actually see and experience. Are you following the protocols set in place by local governments? Is there evidence of cleaning taking place, are team members wearing masks and gloves, and are you practicing effective social distancing? There is a specific list of items critical to building trust with consumers and for them, seeing is believing. If your guests actually see protocols happening, they will feel comfortable that you are taking all of the right precautions to protect them. On the other hand, if they don’t see them, you are likely to lose them to the competition.

One of the insights from our COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study is that 21% of consumers switched to a new restaurant brand during the pandemic. Proof that your customer base has never been at greater risk of leaving for competition than now as you come out of the reopening process. Not only is it important that you follow the state guidelines, but critical to consider consumer perception.

Dave Boennighausen, CEO of Noodles & Company, said it well when he was recently quoted, “We're ready to do that reasonably soon as markets open up. But what we're going to look at is, we're going to take our cues from not just the regulatory agencies, but also the guests.” In some cases, brands will need to adopt behaviors that are not explicitly laid out by state mandate, but rather from insight derived by consumer research.

4. Trust in Fellow Consumers
Your guests are going to be looking at what their neighbors are doing – are all guests following requested social distancing and wearing a mask? This element is somewhat out of your control as some people may violate safely rules scaring others into dining or shopping where they feel they will have a more comfortable experience.

We have seen Costco proclaim customers cannot shop inside their stores without a mask. Likewise, JetBlue has advised that there will be no one on their flights without a facemask – employees or passengers. A brand taking control of this narrative will take consumer safety concerns off the table.

Trust is the Name of the Game
Creating trust in the new normal will not be easy, but will be important to keep current customers happy and safe while also attracting new customers. Todd Graves, co-CEO of Raising Cane’s, was on point when recently quoted as saying, “For people to trust, our industry has to be very serious and has to guide and constantly stay incredibly, intensely focused on doing this because customers are going to go to the places that they trust. And this is going to last long-term.”

Regrettably, we are already seeing that many brands are getting it wrong. Mark Cuban recently conducted a series of evaluations to assess how effectively the state of Texas reopened. Auditing approximately 300 stores, the first sign of concern was the fact that only 36% of the stores that he chose to audit had actually opened over the weekend; a sure sign that brands are a little leary of opening up with these new requirements to fulfill.

The alarming observation? Only 4% of the stores that were visited were 100% compliant and 33% were non-compliant on over 50% of the requirements. The largest gaps in execution were seen with contactless payment methods, the presence of hand sanitizer at entrances/exits, and a lack of marked waiting spots on the floor. Brands that are not executing mandated safety standards are putting themselves at tremendous risk.

Brand Trust Audits
If your consumers do not see that your staff or other customers are adhering to government guidelines, you will be placing market share at risk! Seeing is believing, and missteps in operational execution can be costly. Brand Trust Audits can help as an effective early warning system to ensure each location is following the appropriate procedures to protect your business from safety risks, fines, and costly customer attrition.

Brands have one shot to get this right in each store, in each state. Brand Trust Audits are the first step to keeping your finger on the pulse of your reopening efforts providing your leadership team visibility into operational execution with alerts and warnings in near real-time, so you have an opportunity to react before too much damage is done. Evaluation results are uploaded and stored on the KnowledgeForce® Platform to create organization-wide visibility to critical issues across the system.

Market Force understands the state-by-state requirements along with the changing landscape of consumer sentiment and our team is here to help ensure your success. Please get in touch to learn how we can support this critical initiative.
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As Managing Director, Brad Christian consults multi-location businesses on optimizing the customer experience. With a focus on driving location level performance improvement in both customer loyalty and financial metrics, he helps client organizations prioritize initiatives based on their potential to deliver ROI.

Consumer Sentiment: How COVID-19 is Changing Consumer Expectations and Behavior

Market Force Information conducted a comprehensive study of consumer sentiment over the last two weeks during this COVID-19 pandemic. With precautionary government restrictions in place, we see consumer expectations and behaviors changing in real-time. To ensure we can effectively consult our multi-location clients through this challenge, we wanted to understand the new dynamics of the marketplace. As expectations and behaviors are likely to last well past the current crisis, insights learned from this study are important to take note of as brands re-engineer their 2020 plan.

Between April 6 and 8, we surveyed almost 4,000 consumers across the United States and asked them about their restaurant and retail experiences along with their perceptions of how local and federal governments are doing in response to the spread of Coronavirus.

The most notable findings of this study centered on restaurant perceptions, as we learned that 21% of our respondents visited a new restaurant in the last two weeks. Of those diners, over half (52%) visited a new restaurant based on the availability of drive-thru service. While over 90% of these consumers are preparing meals at home more frequently, they do run out of ideas or food at home and eventually venture out for something different to eat. In light of the current situation, it is no surprise that many diners chose a restaurant with a drive-thru option.

The second driver for going to a new restaurant is the convenience of a carry-out or curbside pick-up with 32% of respondents indicating the availability of this service is was what led them to try a new restaurant option. Great news for brands pivoting operations in the moment to optimize this service channel and likely the main topic of discussion for brands who have not yet developed this service channel before the crisis hit. A client shared how proud they were of their operators as they implemented this service on the fly – from order ahead technology to packaging and distributing food orders. However, they acknowledged that they now need to develop an operational process and curbside pick-up best practices to share with all franchise locations.

The survey result that struck me as counter-intuitive to thoughts we might have had about the restaurant industry pre-pandemic, was the fact that 21% of diners chose a new restaurant for the first time because it was less crowded, an interesting observation. Outside of long wait times, diners tend to choose restaurants that are popular and are crowded, suggesting that we succeeded at picking a hotspot as we satisfy our desire for social interaction. As we learn that a new driver of consumer behavior when selecting a restaurant is the appearance of fewer people, the insight gained from this data speaks to a possible forced decline in dining room traffic once restaurants open back up.

Three key considerations as restaurants navigate the next several weeks or months is

1.) How to best support curbside pick-up orders, as this service channel will likely be a significant service option,

2.) How to manage spatial distancing for team members, and

3.) How best to manage the space between tables and guests for dine-in seating.

To learn more on these findings please get in touch or, click below to download the webinar overview of the study.
Download Webinar Recording
As Managing Director, Brad Christian consults multi-location businesses on optimizing the customer experience. With a focus on driving location level performance improvement in both customer loyalty and financial metrics, he helps client organizations prioritize initiatives based on their potential to deliver ROI.

Time for the 2020 Relaunch

We are now three full weeks into the COVID-19 economy and businesses, regardless of industry, are trying to cope with a new reality of teams working from home or stores operating with skeleton crews. These are unique and unusual working conditions for all of us as we adjust strategy to meet unprecedented business volumes and find new ways to drive revenue despite operating restrictions.

I imagine through all of this change we are now encountering will permanently impact consumer expectations and purchasing behavior in the future. Industry experts have cited that this Coronavirus crisis will be the tipping point of success for online grocery ordering. For example, my family has gotten quite comfortable using delivery services for our groceries – will consumers no longer want to shop inside Publix, Kroger, Safeway, or Whole Foods? These brands have substantial real estate investments, in terms of both locations and square footage; will they start shutting down customer-facing aspects of these stores and turn them into fulfillment centers?

Gas stations and convenience stores are another example of potential operational shifts - will it now be a requirement that each station and every gas dispenser carry disposable gloves or risk losing business to those brands that do? How about the hardest-hit industry of them all, fine and casual dining restaurants? Once we all get back to our new normal and self-isolation orders are lifted, will tables be set further apart? With the uptick in curbside pick-up and delivery, restaurants will need less staff as in-restaurant dining is reserved for more special occasions.

As someone working across each of these industries, I can tell you that these and other impacts will affect us all! With the Coronavirus pandemic effectively shelving every single business plan created in late 2019, business operators have no choice but to design and plan for a 2020 relaunch. To get in front of this challenge and be ready when social distancing and other restrictions are lifted, you need one foot in our current reality and one stepping into the future. It will be important to consider your original plan and goals while incorporating new consumer expectations brought on by the unprecedented impact that COVID-19 will have on us all, what we buy and how we buy it.

As the business landscape changes right before our eyes, now is the time to diagnose your current business state and get ready for a 2020 brand relaunch. Click below to review the Customer Impact Study and learn what this new method looks like in practice.
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As Managing Director, Brad Christian consults multi-location businesses on optimizing the customer experience. With a focus on driving location level performance improvement in both customer loyalty and financial metrics, he helps client organizations prioritize initiatives based on their potential to deliver ROI.

Business Success in the New Normal: Three Ways to Ensure Employee Engagement and Retention

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, everyone from investors to executives and front line staff are feeling the pressure of dealing with the fall-out from this health crisis. How leadership responds during this time will define the character and culture of your company; good, bad, or indifferent. Once we get back to a “new normal,” you will want to get on with driving your business without any surprises.

Supporting our clients with a strategy to manage through this period of anxiety, we emphasize that front line employees are critical assets working to support your customers and, most importantly, the success of your business. With this reality in mind, we’ve shared three best principles to help keep a finger on the pulse of employee engagement and retention as team members are being asked to work in new, unusual, and stressful environments.

1. Identify how this new reality is driving stress
Do you know how your employees are feeling about an increased workload, self-distancing, or more importantly, about you, their employer? How will their feelings influence engagement, productivity, and longevity post COVID-19?

As team members and front line staff are expected to adjust to a new reality, these individuals will respond to events outside their control in different ways. Where some may find it easy to adjust, many others may find the situation overwhelming and struggle with enforced isolation or increased workload.

2. Ensure communication efficacy for productivity
Do your employees have the communication tools they need to be productive? Are team members engaged in pre-shift huddles and video conferences with direct supervisors? Do remote team members feel that they have a voice?

A practice that I recently heard about from my colleagues in Europe was the idea of having a video conference challenge of ‘who has the best decorated home office?’ There are many creative ways to drive community with co-workers in stressful times like a weekly virtual happy hour, Trivial Pursuit on the laptop, or using FaceTime for more than just friends and family.

3. Examine employee relationship management
Are leaders enabling 1:1 interactions with direct reports? Are they establishing and/or maintaining true personal connections? Do team members feel a genuine concern for their well-being from their supervisors?

Leaders and supervisors are under significant stress, coping with new pressures likely not laid out in a company handbook. We need to show that we care beyond just having employees. There are risks to be averted and rewards to capture by bringing empathy to the forefront.

I would encourage all of us to take a moment to consider using effective methods of engaging team members, whether by a town hall conference call or webinar to provide the status of the company and answer questions or publishing a survey to ask some of the above-mentioned questions. Employee engagement studies may be more critical than ever right now. With major market disruptions, this pandemic is going to separate the wheat from the chaff and when the economy bounces back, there are going to be winners and losers!

Studies show that happy and engaged employees are a precursor to business success, not a by-product of it. The important question to ask, as an organization, is what steps are you taking during this crisis to ensure your business will come out with minimal damage and attrition. Choosing to focus on improving engagement in the workplace, will pay dividends — to your employees, to your customers, and to your bottom line.
As Managing Director, Brad Christian consults multi-location businesses on optimizing the customer experience. With a focus on driving location level performance improvement in both customer loyalty and financial metrics, he helps client organizations prioritize initiatives based on their potential to deliver ROI.

COVID-19 Impact On CX

In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, what should retail and restaurant businesses do to protect themselves, their customers, and their reputation?

Over the past few weeks, I've had the pleasure of visiting London and several other cities in England, where I ate at fast food and upscale restaurants as well as roadside food kiosks. One restaurant, in particular, had a sign in the window stating, "We're doing everything we can to protect you against the virus."

That sign got me thinking, what does "everything" mean? If I'm in the restaurant business, what can I do to ensure my employees, customers, and brand reputation are protected?

Getting back stateside, I discovered the current sentiment is the U.S. is about to bear the brunt of more cases - check out this YouTube video for the important facts!

If this is the case, what can restaurateurs do to ensure they are doing everything they can to protect customers, in the front and back of the house? Putting a sign up in the window is a step in the right direction, but most importantly, educating employees to follow specific protocols are table stakes. After proper training, how can you ensure protocols are followed on a daily basis in every location across the supply chain?

The Next Step:
Market Force, the leader in brand reputation and customer experience, is hosting a 10-minute webinar to help organizations understand the issues and opportunities around CX and the Coronavirus. The webinar will bring brand and CX operation experts together to discuss ways companies can take action and prepare.

The discussion will include:
• What operators can focus on immediately
• Employee education and training
• Ensuring locations adhere to corporate policy and protocols

Date: Thursday, March 12 2020
Time: 11 am EST
Register for Webinar
With over 20 years of experience leading European and U.S. organizations to successful revenue outcomes, Ira has lived and worked abroad developing numerous business development teams. This global exposure provides him with a multicultural insight into customer experience and first-hand knowledge of how to navigate disruption with a growth mindset.

For more information about Ira Davies: linkedin.com/in/iradavies

Coronavirus, your Y2K Moment

We are in unchartered territory with the rapid wave of a new Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is spreading with seemingly unprecedented speed in both infected patients and the number of countries involved. The impact on retail, and particularly the restaurant space, remains to be seen, but clearly, organizations must move quickly to protect customers, employees and, the business. This attack is shaping up to be a far more impactful contagion than the NoroVirus outbreaks that hurt many prominent brands in the last few years. How will you lead your business through the Coronavirus challenge?

Much like Y2K, your Board will be looking to leadership to ensure reasonable and practical steps are taken to protect all parties related to the business. Your legal team also has to take the same measures to safeguard accountability in the event an outbreak cluster originates in one of your locations. Employees and customers need to feel confident they are in an establishment that has taken proper precautions that are implemented and consistently followed.

If you have already implemented operational practices such as mandated handwashing, wearing gloves or masks, hand sanitation dispensers, and other measures in the back-of-house, how are you measuring employee compliance? Have those measures been accelerated to reduce the risk that this new contagion brings? If you have similarly implemented operational changes to the front-of-house like frequent cleaning of restroom facilities and disinfecting kiosk-ordering stations along with other commonly touched surfaces, these actions need to be recorded and in compliance to your implemented standard. Demonstrating these in practice will not only protect your employees and mitigate legal exposure; your customers will feel comfortable entering your business and are very likely to return to this safe environment again and again.

Aside from recorded events of compliance, front-of-house mystery shopping can not only detect non-compliance, the very nature of the under-cover, unannounced visits ensure staff and local managers are on their toes. Likewise, targeted back-of-house audits for behavioral and operational practices ensure each location meets your standards.

If you have not started to implement operational enhancements to combat the Coronavirus, it is not too late, but you must act quickly. Assemble your internal team with outside advisors to develop a compliance plan and get it into the field quickly. If you have a Learning Management System (LMS) where you train staff on new processes and procedures, this is the time to exercise that muscle. Having a digital log of recorded training events will demonstrate learning is reinforced and your staff is in compliance with your business standards.
As CEO at Market Force Information, Ray’s talent to manage change across complex businesses enables clients to overcome challenges faced in their customer experience initiatives. With a global perspective built on 30 years of experience as a senior-level executive, Ray is a champion of innovation and a forward-thinking strategic visionary.

For more information about Ray Walsh: linkedin.com/in/raywalshmarketforce

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