Whether you run multiple restaurant or retail locations or have a single bank branch, your customers’ experiences need to be top-notch and consistent. If they aren’t, you risk damage to your brand and –over time– a negative impact on your organization’s bottom line.
Market Force Information (also known simply as Market Force) is a customer experience management company that has been recognized as one of the top 50 market research organizations by the American Marketing Association.
RewardExpert recently spoke with Brad Christian, Market Force’s Chief Customer Officer, about how the company’s solutions help business owners answer essential questions about customer experience and make improvements that have the biggest positive impact on revenues.
A Holistic Approach
Founded in 2005, Market Force Information is headquartered in the U.S. with additional offices in Canada, and the U.K.
“The initial impetus behind the founding of Market Force was the fact that there were a number of businesses providing various elements of customer experience management services globally,” Christian explained. “Market Force acquired several of those organizations and built them into a business that could provide a more holistic in approach.”
Today, the company serves over 220 clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 10 brands in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality industries as well as grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theaters and banking.
Each month, Market Force completes over 100,000 mystery shops, receives over 150,000 calls to the company’s contact center, and collects, processes and analyzes millions of employee and customer experience surveys.
“We’re now one of the broadest solutions you’ll find,” Christian added. “We’ve been recognized as a breakout vendor because of our unique ability to take all those measurements and link them to financial performance for our client organizations.”
Operational and Experiential Measurements
Christian explained that customer experience is closely tied to the financial performance of any company. Answering three specific questions about that experience can help companies delight their customers, protect their brands and make more money.
“The first question is ‘What matters most to my customers?’” Christian said. “Number two is ‘Where do I have gaps in execution?’ and number three, and probably most important of all is ‘What is the financial ROI we can derive if our company moves on one initiative over another?’”
Market Force helps their clients answer these questions through the analysis of data collected using a variety of tools.
“One of our primary measurement capabilities is operational,” Christian explained. “We provide operational measures through mystery shopping and in-store audits. This helps our clients inspect what they expect through observations of what is and is not happening at their restaurants, retail stores or banks, for example. We have even developed a mobile app, Eyes:On, to help our clients conduct their own audits of location level execution.”
Market Force’s second primary measurement capability is experiential. “This includes customer satisfaction surveys, contact center services and social media monitoring capabilities,” Christian continued. “These are really designed to help our clients understand if their customers think the business is meeting or not meeting their needs.”
All of these measurements are connected back to the company’s bottom line. “This enables our clients to be more predictive in terms of what they need to do to drive business performance improvement,” Christian said.
While the full suite of tools offers Market Force’s clients the biggest bang for their metaphorical buck, Christian said that many companies get started by focusing on a single source of data.
““We see clients adopt a crawl-walk-run strategy,” he explained. “They might initially put a mystery shopping program in place because they want to understand how they’re delivering on brand standards and customer expectations to answer questions like ‘Is speed of service consistent across every one of my restaurant locations?’ Then they add a customer survey program to start to learn how what they’re doing influences or impacts their customers’ attitudes about that service.”
Christian explained that social media monitoring or contact center service is typically the third step. “This helps them capture customers who’ve threatened to defect because they’ve had a bad experience,” he added.
Though there are other customer experience management companies in the marketplace, Christian believes that Market Force’s clients are choosing them because they offer the broadest set of management solutions—all in one place.
The company’s expertise also makes a difference. “We have a team of 10 PhD statisticians and data scientists who work on modeling this data for our clients and deriving those strategic insights I mentioned earlier,” he said.
Market Force’s measurements are location-based, as are their fees. For each store, restaurant or branch analyzed, clients pay a monthly subscription fee plus a nominal setup fee. “These fees can be as inexpensive as $20 per store per month to $200 per store per month,” Christian said. “For our analytics work, it can be as inexpensive as $10,000 for a specific project to $500,000 for a substantial annual analytics program.”
Customer Experience Thought Leadership
Market Force also releases a number of studies and whitepapers each year to help clients and non-clients alike understand the current consumer market and best practices they can implement to improve customer experience.
One of these studies, which was focused on consumer sentiment in retail banking, was released in November 2018. It found that consumer sentiment for retail banking improved over the previous year and ranked Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA Federal Savings Bank as America’s favorite financial institutions.
Christian said that the country’s most popular banks put the customer first by “setting aside profits, charges and fees to focus on delighting customers.”
“When we survey consumers, if they rate their experience a four-out-of-five, around 20 to 30 percent are highly likely to recommend that brand to their friends, family members and colleagues,” he continued. “But when those consumers rank their experience a five-out-of-five, between 65 to 85 percent are highly likely to recommend the brand. That means the difference between satisfying a customer and delighting a customer is about 3.5 to 4 times more brand advocacy.”
Christian noted that companies who inspire the highest levels of brand advocacy are winning in today’s marketplace against those who are just providing an average experience, and that the measurement and management services that Market Force provides can help a four-out-of-five company get to that five-out-of-five customer experience level.
To learn more about Market Force, its products and solutions, and what customer experience management can do for your company’s bottom line, visit www.marketforce.com.