Tag Archive for mystery shopping

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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Your Business Isn’t One Dimensional – Mystery Shopping Shouldn’t Be Either

 

multichannel-customer

 

Think about your current mystery shopping program; like many, it’s likely that it consists of onsite visits (for those with brick and mortar locations) and possible online or maybe some phone call evaluations. Most focus on in store evaluations, since that is the “meat and potatoes”, in person customer experience.

While this used to be standard, things are changing, much like your own business. Customers are doing business with you online, on the phone, and even on social media – aren’t those channels of interaction just as important?

If you’re not sure what’s out there in the way of mystery shopping programs, good news – we can give you a quick overview here so you can see what’s out there.

 

Phone shops: these are probably the most popular type of evaluation right behind onsite evaluations. Shoppers can evaluate the problem resolution process, get assistance with products and/or purchases, or other typical customer scenarios.

Step it up a notch by adding a recorded call component. Instead of a narrative, the shopper can record the conversation and upload the audio clip directly to the report. This has become quite popular and is a nice addition to a mystery shopping evaluation.

 

Quality Call Monitoring: this is a newer form of mystery shopping that many companies, especially in the B2B industry, have had great success with. One of the concerns with phone evaluations is the time spent with a mystery shopper may impede time with a “real” customer, while another may be that it is difficult to fully mimic actual scenarios, making the mystery shopping data not truly reflective of the actual experience.

QCM programs are the best of both worlds – a program that mirrors a traditional mystery shop can be developed in which recorded inbound and/or outbound calls are listened to by a third party and evaluated in the same manner as a traditional shop.

 

Online shops: problems with the purchasing journey, or the return process, can easily fall through the cracks in ecommerce. Mystery shopping can help pinpoint gaps in service and areas that need improvement.

Shoppers can be instructed to make a purchase online and evaluate all aspects of the experience – web usability, purchase process, problem resolution (phone, chat, or email, or a combination of these), tracking the delivery, and evaluating the return process.

 

Social media shops: social media is more than social – it’s the new form of customer service for many businesses, as customers have made it this way. Make sure your social service is as strong as your onsite service. Use mystery shops to evaluate response time, knowledge, and other key aspects on one or more social channels.

 

Mystery shopping is a key component in evaluating the customer experience. Traditional onsite evaluations are important, and should remain the focus, but taking a look at supplementing your program to capture data from all customer channels will give you the most information possible. Mix it up a bit and incorporate some new measurement tools to your program in 2017 – you’ll be happy you did!

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Take A Deep Dive Into Your E-Commerce Site

 

ecommerce

 

Creating a compelling, informative, and user friendly e-commerce site can be tough. There is a lot of testing, planning and feedback collection that needs to happen to ensure a successful site.

Many companies will use tools such as Google Analytics’ in page analytics, which essentially shows a website with statistics at various touchpoints of a webpage, which gives a visual of how often links are clicked, pages are visited, etc.

 

google-analytics-overlay

 

Google Analytics also offers a behavior flow chart to show where website visitors start, which pages they go to after the landing page, and other useful information. This can be helpful in determining where customers tend to “drop off” or abandon their visit.

 

flow

 

There are other ways to get deeper insight into website performance, pain points, and other information that will allow companies to improve the customer experience for their e-commerce customers.

 

Collect feedback: when customers place orders, or provide contact information at registration on your website, reach out to them to get feedback about their experience. This won’t capture those who abandon the site though. Enter exit intent technology – services designed to detect when a customer is about to leave your website, and make one last attempt to get their attention. This could be a pop up window that gives a special discount or offer if they stay to make a purchase, or another similar activity.

This can be helpful in gathering feedback from those who are ready to abandon the site, but it would have to be quick and easy in order to try to capture that information. Try a simple question such as, “Please let us know why you’re leaving!” and offer responses such as “It wasn’t what I was looking for” or “the website is running slowly/I’m having technical issues”, etc. This may detect trends other methods cannot pick up on.

 

Use mystery shopping: mystery shopping is an excellent tool that can be used to evaluate the e-commerce process from many different aspects. Not all companies think of evaluating their website using mystery shopping, but incorporating these evaluations can provide a deep dive of ease of use and valuable feedback. There are a couple of types of shopping programs that can be used:

  • Standard experience evaluation: this looks at all aspects of the e-commerce experience. Instruct shoppers to make a purchase and report on ease of use, quality of information, and overall experience. Dig deeper by including a call, email, or chat to customer service to ask questions to evaluate that piece of the journey, and finish with a product return to look at the final piece of the journey.
  • User experience: this is more detailed in that shoppers are instructed to use the website to purchase a specific type of product or register for a service. This looks more like a website video capture or journal in which the shopper provides commentary and suggestions on each point of the process – what was their impression of the website? How many clicks (pages) did it take to get to what they ultimately wanted to do? Where were the pain points? Was there enough information on the website to make an informed decision that would lead to a purchase? What is missing, and what could be improved? These are just some of the aspects that can be captured with this type of shop.

 

Pop up focus groups: thanks to online technology, this is easier than ever. Reach out to customers that have made online purchases, and offer them the opportunity to provide feedback in a focus group type format. This can easily be done in an online meeting room – listening to the conversations and collecting feedback in this type of setting is useful because people tend to offer more details in a group setting. One person may comment on something that triggers a memory from a past experience for another person, and that person will offer more insight and feedback that builds on a theme. This group conversation can be extremely valuable.

 

Online shopping is becoming an everyday event for many consumers, and it is only expected to increase in volume and activity. There are many tools to make sure your e-commerce site is as strong and functional as possible.

 

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