19 Feb B2B Mystery Shopping
B2B Mystery Shopping: What You Don’t See Can Kill You
(Using Competitive Intelligence & B2B Mystery Shopping to Avoid Complacency
and Uncover Blind Spots)
Many companies use quantitative research methodologies to measure customer satisfaction. Others use qualitative research methodologies to develop product ideas. Big data is used to track customer behaviour within different market segments. A few use intrusive methodologies like tracking eye movements and brain activity in response to different stimuli.
A Dangerous Flaw
All the methodologies mentioned above serve their purpose. Many of them have been used for decades.
Yet they share a common defect that can lead to an inaccurate reading of customer behaviour and satisfaction: they seek to understand the customer experience after the transaction. They also assume that the respondents are honest in their responses or that they will articulate every thought they were thinking at the time of the transaction.
A Window on Customer Experience (CX)
B2B Mystery shopping, a data gathering methodology often used in Competitive Intelligence research, provides insights on customer experience during the time of transaction. It opens a window on the interaction between:
- your sales/service representative and the customer, or
- a competitor’s representative and your customer.
Understanding the real-time interaction between representatives and customers can provide vital insights on competitor strategies and tactics and the responses and decision-making processes of potential customers, who may also be your clients.
In a recent study for a large multi-national in the B2B arena, we found that a competitor had found a flaw in our client’s product offering. Their sales reps used this flaw to attack our client and to show that their product was better. We found that potential customers reacted positively to this tactic, with the result that our client was losing millions of dollars in new sales as well as long-term customers.
The many customer satisfaction studies conducted by our client did not identify this flaw, but our mystery shopping did and the client was able to make the changes to their product offering. Soon, the client was winning bids from the competitor.
Use All the Tools in Your Market Research Toolbox
Competitive Intelligence and B2B Mystery Shopping do not replace all the other market research methodologies, but they do provide an important resource for marketing and market research executives.
Competitive Intelligence and B2B Mystery Shopping do provide insights that other research methodologies often miss and which can lead to lost sales and damaged corporate reputations.
© Enrico Codogno 19 February 2018
Enrico Codogno, Principal Consultant, Customer Foresight