SMART Ways to Stay Ahead of Your Competition in the Business World

By David S. Chang

“Competition whose motive is merely to compete, to drive some other fellow out, never carries very far. The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.”

Henry Ford

The business world has changed drastically over the past several decades. Competition has become more fierce with technological advancements and international trade. Businesses need an adaptable mindset. It isn’t the big companies that are beating the small anymore but is the fast companies that are beating the slow.

Businesses from small to large are learning to rely on data and analytics to measure their growth and potential in their respective markets. Businesses have adaptive to focusing on business development to spot new opportunities and talent management to recruit and retain top employees.

Here are some other SMART tips you can use to stay competitive in today’s fierce markets.

Mystery Shopping

I first heard about mystery shopping while as a chairman of a business leader’s organization. At first I thought it was a small niche that was just another way of doing market research. But I learned that it was much more than that. Companies hire mystery shoppers to evaluate the quality of service in their stores and then report their experience.

Qualified mystery shoppers can offer much more insight than just what their experience was with your business, but also can compare their experience with your competitors. They can help hone your best practices and ensure that you aren’t falling behind your competitors. Most importantly, studies show that what keeps loyal customers is not only the product or service but the experience itself.

Mystery shoppers concentrate on consumer behavior, market and competitors’ habits, and the forthcoming trends that can help you take your business to the next level. In addition, their insights often help business leaders overcome biases they may hold. They may base their beliefs on customer surveys, but often those that take them come from a small population.

Mystery shoppers essentially take the mystery out of what is the true experience of a shopper, not just what is assumed by business leaders. It is a detailed process that encompasses measuring the quality of services and sales of a business, regulatory compliances, thorough competitors’ research, gathering the specific information regarding products and services, and evaluating the job performances of the competitors or other similar businesses in the market.

Mystery shoppers are generally independent contractors or freelancers who are recruited based on the business’s research requirements. Their elementary role is to measure the customer’s interaction with the brand while keeping a close eye on the customers’ intent and behavior.

The Rising Demand of Data and Analytics

How does a business know how to adapt and what changes need to be made? A gut feeling or one person’s expert opinion is no longer enough to stay ahead of the competition. Feedback from consumers is critical to continue improving one’s product and services.

Mystery shoppers can help you get this valuable feedback. Per a survey by American Express, customers are willing to pay up to 13% more to brands and companies with reliable customer service. Customer feedback surveys are only as good as the responses coming from the right people.

Many brands and businesses find it difficult to gain consistent trust, knowledge, and unbiased feedback from the customers. Mystery shoppers and researchers can prove to be of great help when providing robust and accurate result-orienting research that you can implement to ensure the best services for your customers.

Collecting SMART Data

Data is data. It become useful data when analyzed and utilized in a SMART manner. Here is the type of data you should be looking for.

Competitive analysis – No matter for which location you want to conduct a thorough analysis, it is important to have an experienced mystery shopper by your side. They conduct the research using a methodical approach allowing the brands to equally compare the different levels of performance across all the stores located at different locations.

Enhancing customer retention – They are best at improving the rate of customer satisfaction and retention with the help of focusing on the different levels of the services offered. It can be counted as the best benefit of having a mystery shopper by your side apart from helping you attract new customers.

Monitoring the performance – It is one of the most effective ways to have brutally honest feedback while helping the business improve the brand qualities. Additionally, it helps to improve the quality of the customer service experience too.

Evaluating the needs and possibilities of the sales – They work on identifying the minor issues of a business which permits them to seek the inside details of a business helping them to improve the business solutions and products for growth. They prove to be a great source of information to deal with the rising customer complaints and finding ways to resolve them. It works as a proactive response mechanism ensuring your brand steps ahead to resolving the minor yet impactful problems.

Developing employee awareness – It becomes to serve products and services accordingly based on the feedback received from the end customers. When thinking from the business perspective, it works as an opportunity to reiterate the expectations of the business for its employees.

Mystery shoppers – A source of thorough information

A mystery shopper can help you get information that you can’t get elsewhere. Regardless of what business type, products, or services offered, the insights from a mystery shopper can help improve the experience a business offers.

Mystery shopping can also help a business test the effectiveness of a new marketing campaign, new product, or service rollout. The key is to stand out from the competition and continually improve the processes of the business and experience for the customer.

David S. Chang

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Wealth Manager and CEO | Chief Editor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant ArtofThinkingSmart.com | Political Consultant | Army Officer National Guard | Living To Fulfill Needs, Solve Problems, and Live Passionately!

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