If you have recently undergone staff wide training, or implemented new company policies and procedures, you know that it can be tricky to determine the effectiveness of the training, as well as if the new procedures are playing out in the field as they should be.
Training of any kind, and certainly staff wide, can be costly. Many will utilize employee testing and even certification at the end of a training session to be sure important information was correctly retained and that staff have a good working knowledge of what is expected from them.
While mystery shopping is traditionally thought of as an ongoing tool to be used on a continual basis, many sales trainers are turning to this type of program to objectively measure the effectiveness of their training program.
It is very simple and can be easily deployed in a short time frame in order to quickly pinpoint what is working and what may need additional education/training. Here’s how it works:
1. Determine the current staff expectations with relation to customer service. Devise a mystery shopping baseline program from this information. Deploy a batch of shops across locations. It is best to conduct multiple shops at each location so that there is a variety of staff evaluated across different times of day and days of the week.
2. Once the baseline pilot is complete, take the data and review it carefully. Many programs offer back end reporting capabilities to make this process easier. You can pinpoint baseline strengths and areas for opportunity, as well as determine where to focus training efforts for the best success.
3. Once training is conducted, it is wise to keep to more traditional methods of measurement, including employee testing, to make sure that, at a minimum, staff understood policies, procedures, and expectations.
4. Allow for a short period of time to pass to allow for staff to become used to what they are expected to do. Waiting for a two week period is a good rule of thumb – it gets employees to the point where they can focus on adhering to training and start getting settled in their behaviors. This will give you a true sense of performance, and it will also ensure that you are not conducting measurement during the “honeymoon period.” This is the point where staff are most aware of their performance and tend to do their best since training has just ended and they realize that they may be evaluated. This is similar to the honeymoon period at the launch of any mystery shopping program – once staff are told this will be happening, they tend to be hyperaware and put their best foot forward for the immediate future.
5. After the “honeymoon period” the company then conducts another round of mystery shopping in a similar fashion to the baseline.
6. The final stage is analyzing the data collected from the second round, and then making general comparisons to the baseline. This will gauge effectiveness of training, and pinpoint areas (or even specific staff members) who may require additional assistance.
Sales training is not cheap; making sure you have the necessary tools to measure, monitor, and maintain quality staff performance is vital. Mystery shopping is one tool that can really make a difference with training programs!