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How Secret Shopping can Transform your Customer Experience

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“People do not buy goods & services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” - Seth Godin

As a marketer and a business owner, it scares the sh*t out of me when I think about how much our feelings and our subconscious play into our purchasing behaviour. When we buy, it’s emotional. It’s primal. And... it’s really hard to measure.

The way our customers feel during the buying process matters. Their feelings matter more than what they think and what their research tells them. In fact, research by the Nielsen Company shows that up to 90% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. 90 PER CENT!

This can be easily understood for B2C transactions (i.e. I need that trench coat and I need it now because it will make me feel attractive and it will look so good in my Instagram feed), but emotions are often overlooked in B2B settings. B2B buyers are just as concerned with how their selection will reflect on their ability and reputation with their colleagues and superiors.

As Douglas Van Praet, the author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, says “We do what we do because of how we feel. We assign value to things through our emotions. Because of the way our brains are wired, emotions influence our thinking more than thinking influences our emotions.”

Emotions cannot be ignored. It’s virtually impossible to improve the customer experience or boost sales without factoring them in.

Unfortunately, big data can’t measure our customers’ emotions and it certainly can’t tell us whether a positive or negative experience is affecting the value customers assign to our products or services. We can see that a sale was completed or that a customer left without buying, but how do we understand why? How do we dig deeper?

A Secret Shopping Service allows you to see your company and the customer experience from the customer’s point of view. It aligns the rational part of the buying process with the emotional state of the customer.

This kind of market research is really powerful because it provides you with:

Real Feedback - Secret shoppers will go through your buying journey (in person or online). Each step of the way, they will report on their experience, reflect on any emotions that the experience instilled in them, and will address how your product or service aligns with your marketing messages and their expectations.

Real Insight -  Your secret shopping report will provide insight into what you’re doing right and what’s really working well. This could be a certain message that’s really resonating, or even a staff member that’s excelling. Secret shopping insights will also identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth.

Real Change - After each secret shopping exercise, we take the time to analyse your customers (we may even suggest a survey), the secret shopper feedback and our insights, in order to provide you with actionable advice to drive real change and improve your customer experience. This may include feedback on your marketing messaging, product quality, employee interactions, website design, sales processes, social media and more.

Not sold yet? Watch this video ⤵

As Tony says, “people don’t buy products, they buy feelings.”

We know your customers have a need. We know you have a great solution to offer your customers. We just need to dig deep to understand the emotions behind that customer need and how your product or service makes your customers feel. Once we understand that, the rest is pretty simple.

If you think your business can benefit from a secret shopping service, let’s talk.