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Archive for Mystery Shopping

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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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.

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