How mystery shopping can improve customer service
By: Isobel, redwigwam
How Mystery Shopping analysis can help improve sales and team confidence
Improving customer service. That is the goal of every retail or client-focused organisation in existence. It’s crucial that clients and customers get good customer service so they can equate good customer service with your brand. This is part of the brand development process.
However, how can you verify how great a service your organisation offers new clients/customers?
You need to look at incognito retail analysis also known as mystery shoppers!
What benefits can you glean from using mystery shoppers?
You need to know what benefits you and your company will get from using a mystery shopper to help analyse your front of house customer experience. The key dynamic is perspective. You are, quite naturally, very close to your business. This proximity can hinder your own understanding of the retail process offered by your organisation. By getting an external party to look upon the retail experience you can learn how the process looks from a very different, more nuanced, perspective.
Furthermore, by getting a mystery shopper to evaluate the retail process you can learn about issues you never imagined or assumed would be a problem from the customer's point of view. The mystery shopper can analyse the process and highlight relevant changes to help improve the functionality of the experience in terms of good outcomes. Understanding structural deficiencies are another area mystery shopping can help organisations re-design the retail or sales process. This analysis will help businesses redefine their ‘offer’ in relation to customer experience.
Another crucial area of mystery shopping is understanding your staff and how they interact with the sales process and the wider customer service experience. You can discover issues that might require re-training, re-appraisals, or re-structuring of the team in its entirety. This analysis will provide business leaders with the right tools to properly educate and train employees in order to build and maintain excellent customer service skills that are both positive and client-focused.
How can you start a Mystery Shopping analysis of your business?
As you have already seen above, there are multiple benefits for undertaking mystery shopping analysis of a business retail/client focussed process. However, there are crucial steps that need to be undertaken to help improve outcomes within the organisational setting.
Get Employee ‘Buy-In’ – It is crucial that your staff feel the process is about supporting not hindering them as employees. Therefore, tell them way in advance, offer introductory sessions on what mystery shoppers do and get them into the mindset of thinking every new customer could be that mystery shopper. It is important that employees understand that mystery shopping isn’t about negatives but about building positives through analysis and training.
As a company, you will need to outline what benchmarks you want to focus on and how you want to benchmark these outcomes. Monitoring outcomes can help define a strong benchmark that can offer your staff and managers crucial key performance indicators that can be used week in and week out in offering excellent customer focussed service.
Remember, many businesses believe that mystery shopping is for big corporations only. This is a big misconception and one the mystery shopping sector would like banished for good. There are agencies that focus on big corps, but many organisations also help SME organisations. So you need to choose your mystery shopping partner with one eye on your current and future situation and another on your budget and timeframe.
So, as we have outlined above, a mystery shopping analysis of your retail process can help find issues and problems ranging from staff to structure that can be identified and corrected through training and monitoring. However, you will need to understand what your business wants out of the experience. Therefore, think about your business goals, your future endeavors, and what customer service means for your business. It is crucial that you work collectively with your mystery shopping analyst to help you work on strong benchmarks that can help empower your team for years to come.
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