Archive for Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping & Cross Tab Reports



Hopefully your mystery shopping program offers a robust suite of analytical reports to really dive into the data collected. After all, this is a great method of compiling objective data about your operational procedures, and is always a wonderful complement to a customer feedback program.

One report that seems to be under utilized, but can be extremely helpful, is the cross tab report. Essentially this looks at two data points to see if there is a correlation.

What are some examples?

Day of week vs overall score. Does your overall score fluctuate depending on the day of the week? Or, go one step further and look at time of day – is there a particular shift where performance seems to struggle?


New and returning customers vs overall satisfaction. Many mystery shopping programs will ask shoppers if they are a new or returning customer. Use that data to look more closely at the “subjective” questions you may incorporate into your program, such as rating the overall experience, or based on the experience, would the mystery shopper be likely to visit and/or recommend to others? While mystery shopping is typically an objective snapshot, adding a subjective question can give you more bang for your buck.


These are just two examples, but it can give you a sense of how you can look at data differently. Below are some tips when using the cross tab report:


  • Make sure the two questions “make sense” to compare. As an example, you don’t need to compare the cleanliness of the dining area with cashiers attempting to upsell. It’s an extreme example, but it’s easy to see how one has absolutely no impact on the other. Make sure one question has an impact on the other for best results.


  • Don’t just focus on company wide data – slice and dice by district or region, or even drill down to a specific location. This can be helpful if you have concerns about a location or group of stores – you can quickly run a cross tab to identify potential issues quickly.


  • Make sure your mystery shopping survey is designed well. You can always tweak your survey as your needs change, but starting with a solid survey, taking into consideration all of your goals for using the program most effectively, will give you a wide range of options for analyzing the data over time.


Cross tab reports are one of many that are available to analyze your mystery shopping data. Check back to see what else is available – we’ll be sharing more report tips & tricks in future blogs.


Make the Most of Your NPS Data


Keep Customers Happy


I recently shared information on how to calculate your NPS score. This is an excellent snapshot tool, and there are other ways to use it to get even deeper insight.

Collect as much data as you can – this means incorporating the NPS question on as many customer touchpoints as possible. That might mean on customer feedback surveys, your mystery shopping program, incorporated into your POS system (I’ve seen some retailers have this question pop up during the transaction process), in email marketing, etc. The more data you have, the clearer picture you have.

Segment NPS data – this could be trickier, unless you set up your programs to track the customer journey effectively. One client we work with does a great job of this. They capture feedback from customers across all points of the customer journey, from placing the order to delivery to billing and invoicing. As such, they have NPS data from each touchpoint. This allows them to see changes across the journey and identify pain points that may be influencing overall satisfaction.

If you don’t do this through the program design, you may be able to separate it out through the raw data. If this is the case, you can easily calculate NPS manually using an Excel formula.

Other ways to segment NPS data may that may be useful:

Look closer at the detractors. This is a no brainer really – why are they dissatisfied? Look for trends that may identify your pain points to work on improvements.

New vs returning customers. They are each important for different reasons of course. If your new customer NPS is low, you need to find out why and fairly quickly, as there may be issues that are preventing them from becoming returning customers.

For returning customers, look for NPS trends over time. Do the numbers remain stable or fluctuate? If they fluctuate, you may want to dig deeper to see if it’s dependent on time of day/day of week, seasonal, etc.

Drill down to location or district levels. Are there a group of locations (or perhaps one specific location) that are tanking your NPS score? It may not be a company wide issue, but a more localized one.

NPS is just one data point, but it can be used many ways to get a better picture of what’s happening and gauge customer satisfaction. You have the data – why not make the most of it?


Is Convenience Killing Your Customer Feedback? Tips to Get Around It


Convenience for your customers sometimes comes with a price.

Businesses are all about saving money when possible, and improving the customer experience by making things as easy as possible. Both are good in theory, but some methods can be hurting other areas of your business; namely getting the all important feedback from your customers.

Below are two examples – both are good options for customers and can potentially save a company some money, but we’ll take a look at how they could be hurting your feedback responses.

Would you like your receipt? Customers are inundated with papers – receipts, business cards, you name it. One look in my own purse can be very telling – it’s like a receipt cemetery in there!

So, of course it was music to my ears when more and more companies asked if I would like a receipt at the end of a transaction. Nope, thanks, you can keep it! While that’s good for me as a consumer, it’s not so good for you.


If I don’t take a receipt, then there is no opportunity for the employee to tell me about the survey. Further, even if employees don’t mention it, I may be inclined to look for a survey link if I had a particularly bad (or good) experience. Now, without the receipt, I have no real way to offer feedback. Sure, if I really wanted to, I could look at the company’s website, but will I really do this?

Your customers don’t know what they don’t know. If they aren’t told about the survey and they don’t have a receipt, they will never know they had an opportunity to provide feedback.

Would you like your receipt emailed to you? Or sent via text? Or not at all? POS systems have come a long way, and this is a newest feature – offering options for receipts.

Here’s the issue: what if the majority of your customers prefer no receipt? Then you’re back to the earlier issue. If they want a receipt emailed or texted to them, does your POS system allow for inclusion of a link to a URL? Maybe, but maybe not. Or maybe you didn’t think to ask when bringing on the new system.

I recently worked with a company who had great response rates through their feedback program. They got a new POS system and were hopeful that it wouldn’t affect their numbers too much. Unfortunately, most of their customers were now choosing “no receipt” or a “text receipt” and they didn’t have the option to include a URL to a feedback survey.

Their response rates dropped quickly and significantly; it was painful, but they were eventually able to find workarounds to gain some of the missed feedback.

So, if your company is in one of these two situations and you’ve found a similar decline in feedback surveys, what can you do?

Below are a few helpful ideas to bring the survey back in front of your customers:

  • Use QR codes & catchy shortened URL’s: create table tents and other signage to encourage customers to take a survey. Make it easy for the largest group of customers – coupling a QR code with a memorable and short URL will go a long way. Why stop with the traditional? Publish the QR code and URL on other items, such as napkins, bags, etc.


  • Make sure you’re up with technology: if you switch to a POS system that offers email and text receipts, make sure your vendor allows URL’s to be included. If not, you may find out if the vendor captures contact information that you can later use to send a separate point of contact with a link to a feedback survey.


  • Offer feedback surveys to all customers: make the survey visible on your website, include it in the company’s social media bios, reach out to your loyalty members, etc. Keep it alive outside of the receipt trailer.


  • Know when it’s time to move on: Maybe traditional feedback isn’t relevant to your brand anymore. That’s okay (if it’s really the case). There are other ways to capture feedback, including monitoring of your brand’s social site, review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, and social media monitoring.


There’s a lot to keep track of with all of the changes in technology and social media; take a step back before implementing a new feature or technology to make sure it will work well for you AND your customers; figuring out the bumps ahead of time will allow for a smoother transition all around.