Archive for Mystery Shopping

Starting off Right in 2018 with Mystery Shopping


mystery shopping

The Benefits to your Business

What’s one of the big reasons Five Guys is wildly successful? They send mystery shoppers out twice a week to all locations. The brothers who run the operation also constantly visit the restaurants. High standards each and every day ensure the right employees do the right things.

Five Guys knows you need to inspect what you expect.

The number one thing business owners say is, “I just need more customers.” Wrong, you need them to return. You can’t attract your whole neighborhood to try you, deliver lousy results and expect just getting “more bodies in the door” will work.

Five Guys franchise with over 1,000 locations sees the value in nearly 50,000 shops in a year, shouldn’t you? One shop every six months is so random that it reveals little. Why? Because a mystery shop is just a moment in time. You aren’t that good if you get 100% and you aren’t that bad if you get a 50%. But over time patterns emerge that make managing your customer experience much clearer.

10 Benefits of Mystery Shops:

 

Monitored and measured service performance

Improves customer retention

Makes employees aware of what is important in

serving customers

Monitors facility conditions

Ensures product/service delivery quality.

Supports promotional programs

Allows for competitive analyses between locations

Identifies training needs and sales opportunities

Ensures positive customer relationships on the front line.

Enforces employee integrity and knowledge.

 

In order to ensure the best mystery shop feedback, make sure your questions are as detailed as possible. Your shop questions need to be black and white. The employee either did or didn’t say, “Good morning, good afternoon or good evening.” They either described a product using features (it has) with benefits (to the customer) or they didn’t. In addition, you need a narrative so compelling you can actually see the transaction in your store.

Another telling question is, “Would you be willing to drive past a competitor to return to this location based on the service you received today?”

You can try to save money by putting those surveys on your receipts and training your cashiers to “circle the web address and tell them what the prize is” but that’s not a true judge of the experience. Those who had a rotten experience will be looking for some compensation and many will quickly checkoff whatever boxes they need to qualify their entry for the prize.

Mystery Shopping Technology

Many companies now utilize geotracking to ensure mystery shoppers are going where they say they’re going, and most reports are now submitted via mobile applications, which means they receive shoppers’ feedback faster. Inputting information in an app, rather than writing it out or filling out a web form, allows the business owners who hire mystery shoppers to request very specific feedback.

Also, video and audio files of mystery shopper encounters can be stored alongside reports, which further enhance the experience of receiving feedback and gives the business owner an up-close and personal look at customer service.

 

Fighting online mystery shopper scams

 

Not all secret shopping companies are the same. Make sure your mystery shoppers are members of the industry association to assure they are reputable. Your mystery shopper should have a keen attention to detail, high standards, and most importantly, experience in the industry.

The online landscape is cluttered with scam mystery shopper companies that promise jobs to inexperienced reviewers, often in exchange for one-time registration fees. To combat these scam services and promote industry training standards for QA specialists, organizations like the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) have formed. The MSPA is a global association dedicated to creating professional standards and ethics throughout the mystery shopping industry, in addition to raising awareness among service providers and business consumers regarding best practices. The MSPA has 450 member companies worldwide and offers business owners free access to a search tool for reputable mystery shopper companies, which can be filtered by need and region.

Bottom line

Online feedback from customers is valuable, but it’s not the only way – or even the best way – to find out how your business functions when you’re not there. Professional mystery shoppers can provide you with the detailed insight you need to make better process and hiring decisions.

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How to Successfully Implement Customer Feedback Surveys

Few people get excited about taking a survey. Unless your customers instantly see why it’s important or you offer a reward, they’re likely to dismiss it. However, your company needs those responses. They help you help your customers. If you understand what motivates potential respondents, you’ll be more than equipped to get the survey results you need.

Make the Survey Experience Amazing for Every Customer

Reciprocity, rewards, and interest can each motivate your customers to complete your survey. The more specific you can make each customer’s survey experience, the more interesting they’ll find it—and the more likely they’ll be to respond.

 

Reciprocity: Create an Exchange

In 1974, sociologist Phillip Kunz at Brigham Young University sent out handwritten Christmas cards to 600 strangers. His theory: if someone does something for you, you’ll return the favor. Kunz’s study worked. He received more than 200 replies from people, many of whom also sent their Christmas card with handwritten notes. That’s why it didn’t matter that Kunz’s subjects didn’t know him: their empathy kicked in once they received something, and they felt compelled to give something back.

The same logic—of reciprocating when you’re given something—can be applied to timing your surveys.

Here are some examples of great times to survey your customers:

  • After they’ve been onboarded. Once you’ve given them a tutorial on how to use a core part of your product, survey them on whether it was helpful.
  • When they’ve just made a purchase. Your customer has just worked their way through your site to make a purchase, so ask them what they’d like to see while it’s fresh in their minds.
  • A few weeks after their purchase. By now customers have used the product and will have honest feedback. Offer them a discount on future purchases in return for feedback.

 

Rewards: Entice Them with a Promise

Via the incentive theory of motivation, positive incentives like “money, rewards, or recognition” motivate people to take action. But most people tend to prefer rewards sooner than later. Even if your customers understand that responding to a survey will help them down the line, they’d prefer to have a small reward for sacrificing their time here and now.

Your customers’ positive incentive needs to arrive ASAP—otherwise they won’t feel the urge to complete your survey. That’s why it’s imperative that you promise rewards to customers who take your survey.

Say you’ve just programmed this survey to pop up (above). This proves to your customer that they’ll be rewarded right now for doing you the favor of completing a survey—playing into their present bias and motivation via positive incentives.

Some reward options:

  • Discount on their next purchase – If you have the financial means, this can help grow your survey response rates.
  • Exclusive savings – Provide extra bonus content for your survey participants that isn’t already available.

It’s also crucial to give customers multiple ways to access and complete a survey. With more options, customers will be able to complete a survey on their own terms. Customers will be more likely to complete a survey if there is a way to do it that is convenient for them, whether it is by phone, email, or SMS.

 

Pique Your Users’ Interest

A study published in Oxford’s Public Opinion Quarterly tested the Leverage-Salience Theory of Survey Participation. The theory measured what factors made people more likely to take a survey—whether they found the topic interesting, if they trusted the organization surveying them, or if they would gain specific positive outcomes.

Their findings revealed something intuitive—that people are more likely to respond to surveys when they find the topics interesting. So to get people interested in your survey, you need to make it specific to each customer’s experience. To make your survey prompts and questions as specific and as immediately relevant as they can be, analyze each customer’s experience in real time.

 

Phrase your survey prompts around each customer’s experience. In an analysis of one million surveys, Price Intelligently found that using customer-centric language spiked their response rates. So instead of saying “help us make our product better,” make subtle changes to prompt your users by saying “improve your product experience.”

By using these tips and tricks, you should see an increase in your survey participation. And this feedback is crucial to a successful future for your business.

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Why Monitor A Problem If You Don’t Fix It?

 

Every time I see a LifeLock commercial, I think about our mystery shopping and customer feedback programs. There is one line that stands out:

“I’m not a security guard. I’m a security monitor. I only notify people if there’s a robbery…”

And their tag line: Why monitor a problem if you’re not going to fix it?

Sometimes companies will start a mystery shopping or customer feedback program with the best of intentions – they are excited about designing a program that will monitor and measure the customer experience, either from an operational or subjective perspective.

And then the first results come in, and key staff read every word, share with their employees, and wait expectantly for the next one. Then the program runs for a while, and…

Now what?

There have been times when a client’s program seems to take a turn – all of a sudden the overall performance scores are lower, or a particular location seems to have consistent complaints of slow service, incorrect orders, or some other issue. If it’s not improving, it’s time to figure out why.

There have been times where clients will admit they realize there’s an issue but haven’t directly addressed it for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they’re understaffed, or not sure how to handle the issue, or, they’re not really doing much with the data they’re getting. In that case, they are a lot like the security monitor noted above – they are alerted to an issue, but are not actively doing anything about it.

Below are some examples of ways customer experience data may not be used effectively, and some ways to overcome these challenges.

 

“Oh, we use the data. Every time a low score comes in the staff get in big trouble.” When I hear this, I want to cry a little. This is the absolute WORST way to deal with lower than anticipated performance on a mystery shop, especially if you are only focusing on the weaker performing evaluations. A consistent pattern of low performance signals something to dive deeper into for sure. By consistently using analytical reporting portals, you will be able to identify these areas for improvement and action. By only singling out the poor scores, you are setting staff up for failure. You are also setting the tone that any customer experience measurement is “the enemy” and this will leave a staff that has no interest in hearing the feedback or wanting to improve.

Instead, take a different approach: instead of calling out the staff for a poor score, celebrate the good ones. Call out the staff for the best shops or surveys in month’s period. For the weaker evaluations, compile enough data to pinpoint the issue(s) and create an action plan to make it better.

 

“We are supposed to have meetings on a monthly basis to discuss the data, but business has gotten really busy lately, so…” Sometimes it takes a village, but often there could be one point person who is solely responsible for aggregating the data from all customer measurement programs and provide regular reporting to key staff.

It is important to have regular meetings to discuss company wide issues as time allows, but that doesn’t mean nothing should be done in the meantime. Assign a point person who is responsible for distributing individual evaluations or feedback surveys, but also for looking at the back end analytics and providing key metric reports so that managers have a place to work from to make improvements.

 

“I know District Manager A is on top of the program for his/her stores. I asked District Manager B about the program, and he/she said they may have seen some shops come in but hasn’t really looked closely.” When staff are not on board with a program, they may tend to not take it as seriously. The fact is, whether you like it or not, the program will go on, so you may as well make use of it. If you are in a position to oversee District Managers, for example, talk with them on a regular basis and give them some guidance on how to best use the data. Remind key staff that it’s less about the individual results and more about the aggregated data across all programs. Show them how they can make improvements in customer experience that will directly affect customer experience, increased sales, and better overall performance for their stores.

 

“I saw the surveys coming in last night and noticed that several customers were requesting contact. Sounds like it was a bad night.” Yikes. Thanks to technology, managers can be alerted to issues in almost real time, and sometimes taking quick action can alleviate an issue from snowballing into something bigger. I recall a customer feedback program in which text alerts would be sent if a customer requested contact from a manager. One evening, the alerts were coming in fairly quickly in quick succession. On closer inspection, the majority were for one location, and, in reading through the surveys, it appeared that the restaurant’s drive thru was experiencing a wait long enough to cause customers to leave mid-line and in the restaurant, the dining area was not maintained and significantly slow service was being reported.

In this instance, in a perfect world, a manager could do a quick check in with the store as the feedback is coming in to see what quick fixes can be put into place. Then, as soon as possible following the shift, talk with the store manager in future detail to learn more about the issue and create an action plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again or, if it does happen again, what to do to resolve it as quickly as possible.

 

Data is valuable, and not using it can be detrimental. Hindsight is 20/20; don’t be the one to look back and think, “If only we had paid attention to the data coming in….” Take advantage of your monitoring programs and act when needed – your customers will thank you.

 

 

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