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Gathering of Competitive Intelligence For Your Business

We began conducting competitive intelligence for our clients over fifteen years ago. Back then, we primarily used Mystery Shopping as a way to gain valuable information for our clients on their top competitors. We have worked with start ups, established businesses as well as companies who need information for the acquisition process.

Types of Competitive Intelligence Gained:

  1. Website Impressions: Your website is your business. While it may look great to you, unless you research how it resonates with your customers, you may never know the truth. Same is true for a competitive mystery shop. Ease of use is very important as well as using very understandable language surrounding service offerings.
Competitive Intelligence
Website Impression

2. Contact us: Be sure to test this area through every channel possible and then gauge the amount of time it takes for a representative to get back to you. In an April blog post, we shared a case study where it took a representative 6 days to get in touch with our evaluator posing as a potential business customer.

3. Pricing: Asking for a quote after going through the sales process is usually the top determining factor for conducting the research in the first place. Additionally, we upload all marketing collateral right within the evaluation form.

4. Follow up: How well does the representative follow up? Depending on the scope of work, we usually allow 5 business days to measure this. Many times, there isn’t any follow up at all.

Social Media Competitor Analysis

According to Hootesuite, social media competitive analysis, includes the following:

  • Identify who your competitors are on social media
  • Know which social platforms they’re on
  • Know how they’re using those platforms
  • Understand how well their social strategy is working
  • Benchmark your social results against the competition
  • Identify social threats to your business
  • Find gaps in your own social media strategy

When was the last time you took a closer look at your competition?


COVID-19 Customer Service

Customer service adjustments. During the last several months we have all had to make a lot of changes to our lives. We all have our own personal story on hardships as well as new opportunities. Working from home for the first time. Working while trying to home school kids for the first time ever. Getting accustomed to wearing a mask for the first time. Social distancing all while trying to work and take care of our families.

During this time I think that most consumers have shown appreciation for the essential front line workers and we understood when our Amazon order took 2 weeks instead of 2 days. We appreciate those hard working people sacrificing for the well being of others.

Are Things About to Change?

While for the most part, people continue to have patience. Some people are showing a great deal of resistance to mask wearing and retailers and restaurant owners have had to quickly train employees on how to handle an unhappy guest who didn’t want to comply.

My concern is more along the lines of people using the pandemic a an excuse for poor customer service. I have two examples of what I am referring to.

Local Steals and Deals

I am located in the Charlotte, NC area, and I see their commercials daily. Sometimes as part of my local evening news (slower news days). They have a spokesperson who is very compelling and does a great job selling products. Their About Us section on their website states the following:

Local Steals and Deals is operated by Knocking ( in association with Cox Media Group.

We connect the best brands with Cox Media Group’s audience, offering exclusive deals.

I like the concept. However what I wasn’t impressed with was the customer service. I placed an order 2 months ago and never received my purchase. I honestly think I would have forgotten about it altogether if it were not for the commercials! After emailing the company, I found out that the product is no longer available. It left me wondering how many people placed orders and then forgot about them? Automatically refunding customers on out of stock items, should be part of any e-commerce site these days.

Website Hosting

A quick chat with my hosting company regarding a log in issue I was having kept me busy for over an hour trying to trouble shoot with them in a chat. Finally, I was told my issue would be escalated and that I should try again in a few hours. Good enough. I did what he said and even waited until the next day. Still had the same problem. Got on the chat with them again, knowing full well that I would have to start from the beginning. Sure enough. When I asked if my issue was escalated as I was told, I received an awful reply. I was told that because of COVID19, they were working with reduced staff. Really? You are working on a computer from your home office, I would bet. How could COVID be affecting your customer service?

Don’t Neglect Your Customer Service

Times are hard and budgets are tight. Now is not the time however to neglect your customer service standards. In fact, I believe it is the time to make them an even more important priority. Evaluating what is happening when a customer engages with your business or brand is more important than ever before. People will remember the businesses who came through for them during this time.