1 Easy Way To Increase Conversions

According to IRC Sales Force, only 2% of sales are made in the first point of contact. That means that the follow-up is just as important as the first impression. The same study reports that up to 50% of people would buy from the first vendor to respond to an inquiry. So you must not just follow-up, you have to be quick about it!

If a potential customer calls or comes in to make an inquiry, chances are they are also calling or visiting your competitors. Then they need time to think over everything that they have learned. During that time, you have the chance to follow up and convert the lead. According to marketingoptimizer.com, following up on leads quickly will help to naturally create a sense of urgency. They argue that by improving the speed in which your follow-up on a lead, you can increase your conversions at little to no cost to the company. This is something that we have found to be true across all industries.

The follow-up process should be one of the most important training practices your company has in place. By teaching this step-of-service early and repeatedly, you can help to ensure that it is being followed by your entire staff. Some employees may be resistant to this at first, but we find that most employees want to do a good job and be successful. They just need the tools in place to be able to do so.

At MSI, we have been in the Mystery Shopping business for over 65 years. We have found that the best way to ensure your employees are following up on leads is to hold them accountable. How do you hold them accountable? You monitor what they are doing. How do you monitor them? Simple, you hire us, and we do it for you. This way, you can identify the employees that are struggling and be able to provide focused and targeted retraining.

Contact us now and let us get to work on a customized monitoring program that will work for your business and your specific needs. Fill out this form here to get started.

Stop Missing Your Steps of Service

Does your company have steps of service? Silly question, right? OF COURSE, you have steps of service. From a one-man operation to a huge conglomerate with a myriad of employees, you must have specific steps taken with each patron in order to for your business model to work. Even resellers, B2B businesses, and other companies that do not directly sell a widget have set procedures and processes that are essential to the sales process.

Imagine you are a manager at a large restaurant chain that specializes in their own line of craft beer. Here is a typical problem you might face: one of your servers is a great employee, they are well liked by your customers and never cause problems with their coworkers. However, you notice as they are waiting a table they never once mentioned or offered one of your specialty craft beverages. You get a little worried, but watch them wait another table, again, not once did they try to sell one of your signature beers (True Story). Now what?

If they are not upselling your specialty beverages, what about appetizers, and dessert? How much money could you be losing per table? Per shift? Per employee? Per location? Daily? Monthly? Annually? What if you are a storage company and your employee does not log the lead who just happened to call in and ask a few questions? How many leads are you missing out on? How much did your company spend in marketing to make that phone ring? (Another true story)

Missing a few steps of service might not sink your business, but what if you are missing lots of them? Greeting your guest? Offering them a drink? Upselling an entrée? It does not matter the industry; the problem is the same. Restaurants need to make money upselling appetizers & desserts; Storage companies need to make money upselling packaging supplies & locks. Why does this happen? Improper training, lazy employees, simple mistakes, and a million other reasons.

For every hypothetical above, we have a client, and a story we could tell you. Missing steps of service is a tough problem to tackle, and we are here to help you solve it by giving your employees real accountability. Your employees want to be successful, but you might need to enable them to do so. Training is not enough, you need active monitoring.  While that might sound overwhelming, there are tools that exist to make this easier. Companies like Mercantile Systems, Inc. (MSI) have these tools, and we make it our mission to help our clients ensure their customers are receiving the experience that you promise them.

You may think actively monitoring your social media can protect you from falling into one of these traps, but can it? Does the customer who was not offered a specialty beer go and complain about it on Yelp? No, probably not, they will give the location 5 stars because the waiter was kind, and the food was good. Mystery shopping is a tool that enhances your customer feedback loop, and allows you to optimize your revenue streams. It is the ultimate way to make sure that the devil is not lost in the details, and as such you can implement corrective action before it sinks your business.

Want to know more? Contact us today.

Who Invented Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shopping was far from an overnight sensation. In fact, it took over forty years to grow from the seed of an idea into the thriving multi-million dollar industry it has become.

The business was started by iconic entrepreneurs such as JW Marriott and his wife, Alice. Fun fact – rather than starting in the theme park or hotel business, the Marriott’s first business was a small A&W stand that they later renamed the Hot Shoppe when they expanded their menu to include Mexican food items. In their humble beginnings, Marriott and his wife actually began doing their own form of mystery shopping, long before the idea became a business.


Employees at any of the restaurants the Marriott’s owned could expect the unexpected. Continue reading

Are Your Employees Stealing?

Employee Theft is a tough subject. As we find ourselves on (hopefully) the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic, its important to remember that even typically honest employees may steal under dire circumstances, such as a global pandemic. A study on Employee Theft, conducted by Forensic Pathways, found that 10% of employees will always steal, 10% will never steal, and the remaining 80% will steal under the right circumstances.

COVID-19 has created a sense of financial instability for just about everyone in the Unites States. Even for those who were not laid off, or furloughed, from their jobs may be directly connected to many who were. Two income households may have been reduced to one. Many people have taken in children, parents, or other family members who are struggling. Everyone is feeling the strain.

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Why Responding to Reviews is Critical

According to Reviewtrackers.com, a staggering 94% of consumers admitted that a bad review convinced them to avoid a business! A single bad review can negatively affect your business, but that does not mean there is nothing you can do about it. In fact, 45% of consumers stated that they were MORE likely to visit a business that responded to any negative reviews. Continue reading

Lessons from Amazon: Focusing on Experience

From the beginning, Jeff Bezos knew analyzing customer experiences was one of the most important aspects to his start-up company. According to Forbes, the founder and CEO of Amazon invested 100 times more money into investigating customer experience online than he did in advertising! In a time in which barely half of companies were investing in User Experience (UX) Audits, Bezos utilized the opportunity to become a leader in online sales by understanding what most companies were neglecting. He continued his UX search by looking into the difference of experiences when using a desktop versus a mobile browser and/or mobile app, making sure that no matter how a customer utilized the shopping giant, they walked away with a good experience. Continue reading

Reputation Management Made Easy

Word of mouth is no longer family, friends, and co-workers. It is word of internet – hundreds of strangers giving their opinions based often on a single experience. So many reviews nowadays include references to “been going there for many years but never will again” based on one bad experience. The years of good experiences were never documented or reviewed, but that one bad one will forever be hanging out there in the world of the web. The good news is, diligent Reputation Management can help offset any negative information being passed around. Continue reading

Improving Your Customers Experience

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have become a huge fan of ordering my groceries delivered straight to my door! Shipt is my app of choice. Their shoppers are amazing, and I always receive great customer service. However, recently I have run into some peculiar tech issues, that have seriously detracted from my experience. There are two different Targets within five miles of my house and mysteriously, the Target I order from somehow changed without my knowledge. Ordinarily, this might not be a big deal, except the Target my Shipt order switched to does not have any fresh produce and their selection is much more limited. Continue reading

The ‘New’ Customer Experience

One negative feature on your website could be costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars, no matter how great your product or service may be. PwC conducted a study which showed that one in three customers would leave a brand they love after just one bad experience and 92% would refuse to return to a company after two or three bad experiences. It is key that your business is proactive in addressing customer frustrations, and this is easily done by completing frequent User Experience (UX) audits. Continue reading

What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

User Experience (UX) audits allow a business to truly understand what their customers are experiencing when using their products or services. Whether ordering food, buying clothes, booking or renting a service, or just trying to reach a customer service representative, if a business is not looking at things from their customer’s point of view, they are missing critical information. What you don’t know will hurt you! Continue reading