Make Money By "Flying Under The Radar"

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Jan 9, 2024 by Sean Luce

How important is it for retailers to know if their front-end help is running people out of the store, or hindering a consumer's return trip because of bad service? This information is vital - and if you can be the one to present it, wouldn't that make you a more significant resource to their business? Providing such information would not only set you apart from your competitors, who are out just selling spots, but you might even be able to turn it into an additional, lucrative revenue stream.

In our LPG markets, we are implementing TMS (Tracking-Measuring-Sourcing) departments where we complement a retailer's ability to track, measure and source their incoming traffic, as well as hold their store employees accountable for customer service.

Here's an example of a secret shopper at a quick-service, take-out pizza establishment. This is an actual response that was done online by hired personnel. Your radio stations? TMS department can charge for this service, as well as put in the tracking and measuring mechanisms that have been discussed in the previous two articles on this subject.

Here is a summary of the Pick-Up Service Evaluation, along with the comment from the SS (secret shopper). This is a service that we can provide to ensure that the inside of the business is just as strong as our marketing efforts on the radio are. Imagine kicking off a campaign with this business, and having the client tell his personnel that someone will be "flying under the radar" (secret shopping) to provide feedback on the quality of service, and many other factors that contribute to an overall excellent experience. As you will see with this example (which is real), the order-taker didn't perform up to expectations. In this case, this survey was sent directly to the corporate office.

Briefly describe your experience:

"Though everything was technically correct, the attitude given off by the young man was unprofessional and unwarranted. When we arrived at the location, there was one other customer in the establishment. When we walked up, the server looked at us angrily (I gathered), because it was close to closing time and he wanted to get out of there.

"Most everything had already been put away, so once I ordered, they had to go into the back to get stuff out. There was nothing smooth about the order process, as he rushed us through it. He made no attempt to make eye contact, or even offer a smile during our interaction. In fact, there were no pleasantries and nothing offered as an addon. I found myself very irritated by the time the order had been taken, and normally would have commented on it; but, as I was secret shopping, I only noted it and waited for this report to express my displeasure.

"With the order now taken, I walked up to the cashier, and was put somewhat at ease, as she was very polite and courteous. She took her time and made sure everything was correct, even informing me that I would be charged a service fee for using my ATM card to pay. She closed well and invited us to return. Once she had finished ringing up the sale, she handed me the pizza, and gave a polite thank you. Diana made excellent eye contact throughout the transaction, and wore a pleasant smile. All the staff was well groomed, and in appropriate attire. Upon our departure from the restaurant, they immediately closed the doors and turned off the "Open" sign. I thought this was odd, as it was only 8:57 p.m., and the hours read "Open till 9 p.m." I understand that it can be frustrating when people come in at the last minute, but I thought the way the young man handled his irritation was ridiculous."

What happened to the young man who took the order? He was blown out of his job the moment corporate received the survey. At this company, this kind of service is unacceptable, because the company spends serious dollars on training. You can set up your own TMS department where you can bill out for this service and, if executed correctly, create another profit center for your radio stations. It's time for radio to get on the bus and start tracking, measuring and sourcing a retailer's operation, and provide the service to do it. If we don't go beyond ROI, it will be hard for radio to increase its 8 percent share of the marketing pie.


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