By Lynette Carrington
Bashas' has been Arizona's hometown grocer since 1932 when Eddie Basha, Sr. opened the company's first store. Since that time, Bashas' has grown to be one of the most dynamic and well-respected businesses in the valley and its focus on service and quality permeate the company at every level. In striving for the best in customer care, the company has engaged the services of Eagle Eye Retail Intelligence to bring a new and cutting-edge level of expertise and client feedback to its mystery shopper program. The results of utilizing Eagle Eye have been overwhelmingly positive for Bashas' in many aspects.
Director of Human Resource Development Don Adams has been with Bashas' for 45 years and has seen the evolution of the mystery shop from its "pen and paper" beginnings to the technologically stellar customer service audit program that it is today. "We've been using Eagle Eye for a year now," says Adams. "We piloted the use of their video shops six month prior to that. But mystery shops aren't new to us. I can remember receiving the results of shops as far back as when I was a clerk in the early 1970s. It's something we've always used as one tool to measure customer service in our stores and to measure the customer service performance of our members."
Why was Eagle Eye the right choice for Bashas'? "We had actually crossed paths with Eagle Eye because it was providing mystery shops in some of the more rural areas of Arizona where it's pretty difficult to find folks to go out and take a look at how well we're operating and meeting the customers' needs," Adams explains. "Geographically Eagle Eye was a fit right from the get go, since it operated in all those small Arizona communities Bashas' is a part of."
He continues, "The second reason we chose Eagle Eye is with mystery shopping, there's always been a question about how to make sure what we read in reports was truly a valid picture of what was going on in the stores. Now, once you hear the audio and see the video of a shop, you know exactly what happened. It gives us the opportunity to say, ‘We're rewarding this individual because of this particular experience they provided the customer.' And because of the video shops, we know we've made a great choice when we give this hard working individual a pat on the back."
"These are more than mystery shops for us," states Adams. "They are a great training tool. They are an opportunity for our members to show us how they ‘wow' the customer. We want our members to ‘wow' our customers and we want to see that when we view these shops from Eagle Eye."
Adams says, "I think what the mystery shoppers try to do in most cases is to evaluate all the different departments of the store. What we're trying to do is have a really good idea of how the customer was treated when they walked into the store and visited each one of the departments and how helpful our members are. We have very friendly and helpful members and this gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise to the shopper. Training, coaching, recognition; there are a lot of good things that can be tied together in this program."
Eagle Eye Retail Intelligence has created its own proprietary Talon Video Mystery Shopping Software which allows its clients to view the individual mystery shops just mere moments after they occur. The system allows specified users to evaluate and quantify every aspect of the shop. "There are users that have different access to the Talon Software," Adams explains. "At the store level it's a very beneficial tool. We are able to view the video shops, to have managers share them with the members who have been shopped or with their fellow management team members. They can do that at store level on the sales floor with an iPad. It's very convenient."
"We believe that the Eagle Eye System fits the bill for Bashas'," says Adams. "Our managers have access to reports they can print out and they can also see and hear the shops. So in my opinion, Eagle Eye has made that whole mystery shop experience much more powerful because you have the visual and the audio. It is face-forward and it really gives us a super opportunity to applaud the good performers and to be able to coach and train the members who might need a little more work."
Mystery shopper Amanda Abou-Eid has been conducting mystery shops for Eagle Eye since May 2015. "As a former sales and service employee, I too often saw potential and long-term customers turn away due to poor service guidelines and interactions," Abou-Eid explains. "I no longer work in a customer-facing role, but customer service is very important to me. I feel that customer service levels can make or break a company and I enjoy the opportunity to give real feedback to which someone is listening and watching in order to improve."
"The mystery shopping criteria for Bashas' varies from department to department, but the general gist includes the state of the store and the consistency of quality service," says Abou-Eid. "In interactions with the staff, I really feel valued if I receive genuine, caring customer service that shines through an employee who is truly happy and passionate about what they are doing. I feel this is becoming rare in our society and should be rewarded." In her job, it is important that she remain incognito and she utilizes questions in her mystery shop that are natural and are within the scope of shopping scenarios that apply in her own life.
Eagle Eye's proprietary Talon software makes it easy for Abou-Eid to report on her mystery shops. "It is leagues above the competitors and I believe it could cause a whole shift in the industry," she says. "Where many shops still use outdated, written or non-mobile technology, Talon is automated, straightforward, and intuitive. Even as a new mystery shopper, I was able to catch on in less than an hour."
Abou-Eid also has a full time job with a major airline carrier. She likes the extra income and the flexibility that mystery shopping through Eagle Eye affords her and she has done mystery shopping for several restaurants and retail stores across the country. "The work is autonomous and I like that I'm helping the clients by providing honest and objective customer feedback," she finishes.
Merging the two dynamic worlds of customer service feedback and technology has been somewhat elusive up until this point. Now Eagle Eye Retail Intelligence has combined the two words with bird's eye precision. For additional information on Eagle Eye Retail Intelligence, visit www.eagleeyeshops.com .
About Eagle Eye Retail Intelligence
Eagle Eye Retail Intelligence has replaced the un-actionable, static data of written mystery shopping with covert video data that is affordable for all industries. The company has built the world's first reporting platform that deeply integrates covert video with collaborative reporting that is easy to understand and quickly delivers the results the company decision makers need. Eagle Eye's own proprietary Talon Video Mystery Shopping Software is available to clients via mobile, tablet and laptop to give quick and easy access to mystery shopper data. Its customers include convenience stores, grocery stores, clothing retailers and high-end service retailers.