With a new year fast approaching, taking a good look at your current mystery shopping program is important, especially if you’ve had the same program for some time. Here are some ideas for sprucing up your program in 2016:
- Is it time to raise the bar? Hopefully you’ve been watching your company’s performance over time and seen some improvement. If so, that’s great! If you’re finding that your performance scores are consistently coming in exceptionally high, it might be time to raise the bar, especially if your program is in its second or third year. When programs start, especially when a formal mystery shopping program has not been in place before, the program touches on the most basic customer service expectations to ensure that service levels are consistent. Over time, changes take place based on the mystery shopping reports, and things improve. Now it may be time to take it to the next level – incorporate some of the “higher level” performance behaviors. For example, incorporate scenarios to ensure that staff are providing correct information to customers. Pinpointing common customer questions or concerns can give companies “scenarios” for mystery shoppers to use while conducting shops.
- Don’t focus solely on brick and mortar: onsite shops are vital, but don’t forget about your website or even telephone interactions – those are equally important in the customer journey and should not be overlooked. If you’re not using mystery shopping for these touch points, 2016 is a good time to start.
- Social media mystery shops: social media customer service has become commonplace; because of the speed with which social media travels, ensuring that staff respond in a timely and accurate manner is important. This is an emerging tool for companies, and utilizing mystery shopping to ensure service levels are strong can be useful.
- Look to additional services to supplement your mystery shopping program: mystery shopping touches on the objective aspects of service. If you’re not using the more subjective tools, such as customer feedback or social media monitoring, you may be missing a piece of the puzzle. Another emerging tool is Quality Call Monitoring. This service allows for evaluation of actual customer service calls. The calls are evaluated using a report similar to a mystery shopping program and can be extremely useful in evaluating “real life” situations.
Customer service expectations have grown significantly in the last two years; ensuring that you have the tools in place to monitor, measure, and evaluate your company’s performance is vital. With a new year on its way, it’s a great time to re-evaluate and enhance your company’s customer experience measurement programs.