Jeff Hall

President, Second To None

In the course of a 25-year career helping brands deliver consistent, authentic and intentional customer experiences, Jeff brings an innovative approach to customer experience measurement and analytics across diverse industries. His firm, Second To None, is particularly adept at helping leading brands realize their customer experience potential by fusing brand lens insights (operational measures) with the customer lens (feedback and perception) in order to drive business performance. Jeff brings a deeply informed approach to measuring and optimizing customer-centric retail and restaurant experiences.

At Second To None, he leads an experienced group of customer experience strategists and analysts in working on the design and execution of mystery shopping, voice of customer and operations/sales compliance solutions for such clients as Patagonia, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks, Bose, UnitedHealth Group, Target, Staples, Harris Teeter and Citibank. Jeff also leads the firm’s strategic initiatives, including client solutions offerings, product/technology development and consulting services.

Jeff has appeared on MSNBC’s Your Business and his comment have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Nation’s Restaurant News. The firm which he founded, Second To None, has appeared in BusinessWeek while being recognized three years running as one of Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing private companies. Jeff is also a speaker on customer experience issues and trends. He has served as president of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association and is a founding director of the International Mystery Shopping Alliance. He is also an avid runner, biker and golfer.

  • Posted on: 04/02/2021

    Kroger CEO says no one has the ‘data and insights’ that it has

    Kroger sits at the top of the pyramid when it comes to its national footprint of supermarket banners. As the largest operator in grocery, it sees more daily supermarket customer interactions than anyone, and by extension has curated the most significant set of consumer analytics, brand preference intelligence and buying behavior insights across the pure grocery retail spectrum. It is fascinating to witness these operators become as much of a technology/digital/data science platform as they are retailers.
  • Posted on: 03/10/2021

    Will shoppers get their nails done at Hy-Vee?

    Hy-Vee is a great example of a retailer unafraid to think boldly and with courage, and to continuously innovate around what the modern grocer can be. They continue to tap into today's consumer expectations: accomplish as much as possible in a single store visit -- fuel, food, health and beauty services, working out, non-grocery retail purchases, etc. Hy-Vee raises the bar and their customers reward them with greater share of wallet, loyalty and advocacy.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2021

    Chewy is barking up the right tree when it comes to customer loyalty

    Chewy is a superb example of a human-centered, customer-centric brand. They understand the significance emotion plays in customer purchase intent and decisions, then leverage their ability to create genuine customer connections to build loyalty and expanded market share. Chewy's approach to empowering their customer service agents is a highly effective page right from the Zappos playbook. This long-term vision and strategy will result in sustained brand relevance.
  • Posted on: 12/29/2020

    Are the benefits of ghost kitchens more spectral than real?

    Ghost kitchens are a fantastic option for some types of restaurant operators, but not all. The business model works especially well for quick-serve and fast casual brands that have an established customer base and name recognition. In an industry generally over-built with physical brick and mortar locations, ghost kitchens are a cost-effective way to expand into new markets, without significant capital outlay and risk. Ghost kitchens are also ideal for testing customer demand and/or menu items in new markets.
  • Posted on: 11/11/2020

    Dick’s and Etsy’s Christmas spots deal with COVID-19 realities in different ways

    The Etsy spot will resonate deeply with its core customers - authentically tugging at the heartstrings while conveying the reality of what the holidays will look like for so many this year. While Dick's is confidently telling us orders will arrive in time to be under the tree, the reality is they're dependent on third-party delivery services. Dick's may be setting expectations that can't be met, ultimately leading to customer disappointment. In this contest, it is Etsy for the win.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2020

    Will Ulta shops turn Target into a beauty destination?

    It seems 80% of today's panelists feel this is a "thumbs up" move by Target and Ulta. This move is a bit of a game-changer, as it certainly enhances both brands' position while further differentiating the Target shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2020

    Are grocers downplaying curbside pickup at their own expense?

    Grocers definitely need to be offering BOPIS, curbside pickup and locker pickup, where the market dynamics, staffing and physical space allows, or risk having a meaningful share of their customer base start to go elsewhere. I would take this even one step further, in that a growing share of grocery consumers are starting to expect home delivery as an option, and we don't see this behavior changing post-pandemic.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2020

    Trader Joe’s and Wegmans satisfy, others falter, through the pandemic

    Prior to the start of the pandemic, these four grocery brands were already the standard-bearers for customer experience execution, culture, brand promise, employee engagement and customer loyalty. The deep and abiding customer trust these retailers have carefully built and nurtured over decades provided a firm foundation for transitioning to the pandemic-era customer service realities. Consumers implicitly trusted these brands to create safe shopping environments, while also looking after their frontline associates. For Trader Joe's, Wegmans, Costco and Publix, delivering on customer experience is a fundamental part of their DNA.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2020

    Should local book stores be taking on Amazon?

    I agree with the 70% of today's panelists who feel the campaign is effective. There are few retail experiences more enjoyable than lingering in an independent bookstore and discovering new writings and authors. I respect how these store owners are vigorously protecting their livelihood, but also the fabric of their community. Allison Hill is correct in that so few realize the permanent, devastating impact that convenience shopping is having on small businesses and in turn, beloved business districts.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2020

    Has Walmart come up with an answer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad?

    This initiative, once scaled, could prove to be a superb second-mover advantage to Walmart. The market is already primed, with Geek Squad having led the way. The demand for these types of tech services will only continue to grow and with the ability to significantly undercut what is really the only national player, Walmart can leverage its footprint to establish massive price advantage. If the new service can execute as well as Geek Squad then yes, Walmart has come up with the right formula to perhaps not displace the market leader, but be a solid alternative choice.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    Staples to accept returns from other stores

    I posit this is more of a win for Optoro, as it dramatically expands their footprint of returns-processing locations. The assumption of increased foot traffic translating into a meaningful sales lift for Staples will be more difficult to realize. The Staples retail environment isn't particularly experiential and by and large, their merchandise offering can be purchased just about anywhere. Connecting the dots of an in-store return transaction then becoming a compulsive product purchase is a bit of a stretch.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2020

    Patagonia wants to ‘Vote the a**holes out’

    Patagonia knows their core customer and this messaging will have little, if any, downside to the brand. The company is bold, courageous and unapologetic.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2020

    Could Authentic Brands be the lynchpin in J.C. Penney’s turnaround?

    There is definitely a consensus in today's comment thread: J.C. Penney is a brand that has lost its way and its soul. In the absence of a clearly articulated and executed brand promise, inclusive of knowing who the customer is and compelling reasons to shop there, I'm afraid the company will soon be the next Sears. Getting the brand off life support will require bold thinking -- an entire re-imagining of what this retailer is and how it will effectively compete in today's retail environment. Simon and Brookfield, more than anyone, have a vested interest in making it happen. The question is, do they have the courage and the time to pull it off?
  • Posted on: 09/14/2020

    How can grocers help ease home cooking fatigue?

    The biggest pain points of meal planning, prep and clean up can be quickly remedied through a creative in-store focus on meal kits as a supplement to ready-to-take prepared foods. I subscribe to a national meal kit delivery service for our dinner twice weekly. If my local grocer offered an interesting and rotating variety of quick-prep oven ready dinners, or ready to heat meals, they'd have me as a more frequent customer. It would be great to stop by, choose that night's meal, and be on my way; plus I like the idea of reducing the wasteful packing and shipping materials associated with the national meal kit service.
  • Posted on: 08/21/2020

    Culture is the key to creating a company that people want to work for

    Strong, lasting workplaces start with leaders having the courage and maturity to embrace a mindful, empathetic approach when defining values, behaviors and ultimately, culture. The course of our work has identified six key traits to sustainable, healthy cultures: purpose, belonging, achievement, autonomy, balance and voice. Organizations who successfully integrate these elements into the foundation of their culture not only attract solid talent, they correlate to sustained workplace satisfaction, employee retention, and have a positive downstream impact on customer experience and satisfaction.

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