Tag 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.

Share

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.

 

 

Share

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!

Share