At TrendSource, we build Market Research and Data Analysis Programs that provide insightful and actionable data about your customers, your operations, and your competition. We work closely with our clients to understand their objectives and employ various research methodologies to meet those objectives.
Our suite of market research tactics include:
- Mystery Shopping
- Pricing Audits
- Customer Intercepts/Exit Interviews
- Call Programs
- Merchandising/Marketing Audits
- Voice of the Customer (VOC)
- Digital Photo Programs
- Age Compliance Programs
- Instant Rewards & Recognition
- Suggestive Selling Programs
- Employee Engagement Surveys
- Panel Surveys & Opinion Polling
Founded as a mystery shopping company, TrendSource continues to serve as an innovative leader in the industry. Each Mystery Shopping Program is tailored to address your specific questions and accomplish your unique objectives. Our mystery shopping services evaluate key elements that influence the customer experience and allow for management to compare their expectations of service delivery to actual service delivery. Areas of analysis include:
- Tangibles (facilities, equipment, personnel, communications material)
- Reliability (the ability to perform the task dependably and correctly)
- Responsiveness (willingness to help, provide prompt service)
- Assurance (product knowledge, courtesy of employees, trust and confidence)
- Empathy (caring, individualized service)
Mystery shopping is often used in tandem with one or more other tactics, allowing for more integrated results and deeper insights. Whether a program entails a combination of methodologies or just one, all our clients enjoy the comfort of our in-house IT team, which has the ability to customize reporting websites based on your specific needs.
TrendSource conducts two kinds of pricing audits – Standard Pricing Audits and Competitive Pricing Audits. For a Standard Pricing Audit, TrendSource mystery shoppers verify retail selling prices for your products at several different locations to identify any significant deviations. Competitive Pricing Audits are used as a competitive benchmarking tool where TrendSource mystery shoppers record the prices of competing products/brands on a national/regional/store basis to identify strategic pricing decisions.
Customer Intercepts/Exit Interviews
A customer intercept is a one-on-one, professional interview conducted at or near the point-of-sale and is a valuable tool for gathering customer experience data while it is fresh in the consumer's mind. This data is suitable for statistical testing, allowing your organization to measure gaps between your customer’s expectation of service and their perceived experience of service. When coupled with other tools such as mystery shopping, you can also compare against the gap between management’s expectations of performance and actual performance delivered.
TrendSource Call Programs allow you to examine your stores' call center performance to identify areas for improvement that will reinforce your organizational philosophy and most importantly, facilitate customer loyalty. Clients also have the option of having recordings of call center interactions conducted by TrendSource personnel.
Executing a Merchandising/Marketing Audit Program allows clients to assess how/if corporate marketing collateral and merchandising materials are being used at their various locations. TrendSource can provide descriptions of the exact type and model number of displays, signage, equipment and/or POP (point of purchase) materials that are being utilized at each location. Our auditing process ensures that correct POP materials have been installed and/or new equipment/branding is being used, potentially saving companies millions in unused promotional materials. In addition to audit/verification merchandising services, our field agents can actually install POP materials, end caps and other promotional materials to ensure 100% compliance with corporate initiatives.
Voice of the Customer (VOC)
This online tool serves as a virtual call center by allowing customers to share their experiences, concerns and positive and/or negative feedback about their shopping experiences at individual client stores. In order to allow all customers to have access to this tool, the web address of the online survey form would be listed at the bottom of all clients' receipt tapes. Customers are instructed to access the dedicated website, enter their zip code, select the store they visited, and complete the survey. Additionally, clients often choose to mirror a physical comment card against the format of the web survey and place them in participating stores. The online tool would allow managers and/or store employees to enter the results of the comment cards online at their locations. To ensure that the store-entered comment cards are consistent with the mystery shop results, we can also integrate these two evaluations and determine if any inconsistencies exist. TrendSource can support clients in these endeavors by building a custom web-based survey for use by their customers. In order to promote customer participation in this survey, clients may offer an incentive (e.g., coupon, drawing for a prize, etc) that would be explained as a benefit to participation.
Digital Photo Programs
Digital Photo Programs are usually executed in conjunction with other programs such marketing/merchandising audits, but are also used unaccompanied to get a snapshot of store locations. It can be difficult for companies to visit all their stores, so they often turn to TrendSource because of our extensive coverage and proven commitment to quality. Our technologically adept mystery shoppers take quality photos of interior and/or exterior, providing insight as to the overall condition of store locations, accurate and up-to-date signage, and any other areas of concern.
Age Compliance Programs
Selling alcohol or tobacco (or other age-restricted items) to a minor can result in serious sanctions. TrendSource acts as your preventative partner, utilizing mystery shoppers who attempt to make an age-restricted purchase to ensure your front-line employees are following proper protocol.
Instant Rewards & Recognition
This type of mystery shop starts as an unrevealed shop, where a TrendSource mystery shopper poses as a regular customer, analyzing employee behavior to predetermined standards. At the end of the shop, our mystery shoppers reveal themselves to management and either reward the employee for exemplary service or are made aware of any shortcomings and trained accordingly. This kind of mystery shop is often used in tandem with a Suggestive Selling Program, where employees are rewarded for making an upselling suggestion to customers.
Suggestive Selling Programs
TrendSource Suggestive Selling Programs have helped several Fortune 500 companies significantly increase their bottom-line profits. Whether you wish to support a new product launch or increase your customers’ average check size, we have the solution. For this type of program, our mystery shoppers attempt to make a purchase and await an upselling suggestion from front-line employees. Suggestive Selling Programs often involve Instant Rewards and Recognition to further reinforce desired behavior. This is one of the best programs in terms of instant ROI and has been hugely successful for our clients.
Employee Engagement Surveys
Research has consistently shown a strong connection between employee engagement and positive customer service perceptions. In fact, 41% of customers credit their loyalty to a business because of exceptional employee attitudes. Employee surveys can be extremely valuable in this capacity as they provide a forum for employees to provide feedback, offer recommendations, and simply be heard. These surveys allow clients to identify areas that will cultivate profound connections to your company, empowering employees to drive innovation and move your organization forward.
Panel Surveys & Opinion Polling
As a result of conducting market research for over twenty years, TrendSource has accumulated a proprietary database of over 100,000 demographically diverse individuals to assemble panels for long term surveying and data analysis or for quickly pulling large-scale data to get an idea of general public opinion. As certified mystery shoppers (Field Agents), our respondents are technologically adept, savvy consumers, and their extensive experience in conducting mystery shops across a wide range of industries makes them ideal candidates for accurate, insightful opinion polling.