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How to CLIMB Step 2: Operational Standards

Posted by Victoria Hyzer on 9/16/13 1:29 PM
Victoria Hyzer

My Grocery Mystery Shopping Experience

I personally shop at a handful of different grocery stores on a weekly basis – depending on what I am buying. When I first moved to San Diego from Omaha, as a new employee of TrendSource, I was required to complete a mystery shop at a grocery store in my neighborhood for training purposes.

When I returned to the office with my findings, I was asked by my peers if I noticed some specific aspects of their exemplary customer service, to which I replied, “Yes! Those things and their overall friendliness are what make me want to go back to shop for myself.”

“TrendSource did that,” they told me.

I was amazed and impressed that our work had come full-circle and actually made my shopping experience better! This was the CLIMB model at work even before we had even given it a name.

The Value of Knowing What Matters to Your Customers

TrendSource worked with the aforementioned grocery chain to gather relevant customer insights, analyze and report on it, and consult on operational standard revisions, which were the elements I witnessed at work during my visit. TrendSource made strategic, customer research-based recommendations that were implemented by executive management.

What I saw was Phase 2 of CLIMB in action, which involves setting the right operational standards based on market research findings. During this stage, we use what we’ve learned from customers in the research phase to retool the customer experience by refocusing training efforts on the service gaps identified in Phase 1.

The key to this analysis is to take all of the clutter and masses of data and boil them down into a simple 1-2-3 recipe for success.

How to Update Operational Standards

Over my professional career, I have worked with numerous clients, and I have learned that the keys to setting the right operational standards are mutual trust and transparency with employees. When done well, employees are brand ambassadors. They can also be brand destroyers if they aren’t adequately trained and empowered to carry out operational standards. They are the ones that need to own the customer experience because that experience happens on the front line. Working with Human Resources, Training & Development, and Operations groups in close collaboration is a must for success in this stage of CLIMB.

To me, this is the most exciting phase, because we are collaborating with our clients and instructing them to take calculated, intelligent risks, which will measurably elevate their performance.

As we review results with clients, TrendSource statistically identifies changes that will have the largest impact. We share the analysis along with the expected ROI if these changes are made.

TrendSource works to have intimate knowledge of clients’ industries and distinct initiatives, customizing solutions tailored to these components as we know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to building a great customer experience. You and your business are unique. You deserve to be treated as such. Once these changes are accepted and implemented by our client, we need to see if it worked!

Collectively, we move to CLIMB’s third phase - Behavioral Measurement.

Want to talk more about CLIMB? Continue the conversation on Twitter with #LearningtoCLIMB
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Topics: Market Research, Food Service, Featured, Consumer Electronics, Grocery, Retail

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