Competitive intelligence helps companies retain and add new customers. Confero often executes competitor studies on a large scale, but individual stores can also conduct competitive analysis locally and effectively. One way is to use your own employees as mystery shoppers. Here are ideas to put a competitor evaluation plan into action:
- Distribute mystery shopping survey forms to employees from each location.
- Review the survey questions and discuss why each area is important to the success of your store.
- Employees choose a competitor to visit. The competitor can be one that they hear about from customers, one that has a new offer, or a competitor that is new to the area. If you lose sales to a certain competitor, make their location a priority visit.
- Associates record what they observed and heard during their interaction.
- Employees should consider how their location ranks against the competition. Did the competitor’s employees say and do things that they felt contributed to great service? Did the competitor’s service include some of the same standards as their own? Did they include something in a product presentation that was attention-grabbing and effective?
- You may also want your employees to call prior to the visits. How well does their location’s phone skills measure up to the competition? Are telephone standards too low? Are they high enough to differentiate themselves from the competition?
- Review the business intelligence with other employees to gain their feedback.
- Develop an action plan to emphasize your strengths over the competition. As an example, you can design a chart that compares features and benefits of your service vs. those of your competitor. Employees can use this information – not to talk negatively about the competition – but to emphasize areas where their services outperform the competition.
Using your own employees and an existing mystery shop form can allow you to understand and evaluate the competition first hand. Then use this information to exceed them!