It goes without saying that delivering great service is good business sense. Your customers should be cherished and given the kind of experience they’ll want to use again and recommend to others. But how do you ensure that’s happening without making all your clients complete a survey after each business transaction or watching your frontline staff’s every move? The answer for many companies is mystery shopping.
Mystery shoppers are the unsung heroes of the retail and service industries. Since first being introduced in the 1940’s, they’ve helped countless businesses worldwide improve their customer service and learn from mistakes, boosting profits in the process. It’s a tool commonly used by market research companies and watchdog organisations, and since the feedback is usually completely anonymous it guarantees accurate, honest results.
The kind of tasks that mystery shoppers perform vary from reviewing product purchases to making complaints and asking pre-defined questions to measure the quality of responses. Some may have disabilities or be asked to behave in a certain way in order to analyse how staff respond to those with special needs or difficult customers; both very important areas of customer care.
Unlike the average customer, mystery shoppers are specifically trained to watch out for specific things like availability of certain products and staff behaviour. They measure the personal qualities and friendliness of staff and give feedback on how easy and pleasurable they found their shopping experience.
A good mystery shopping scheme can be worth its weight in gold. Most major retailers have a team of secret consumers on hand to keep their staff on the ball, but it’s not just shops that should be taking advantage. All sorts of businesses can benefit from a team of undercover reviewers who are willing to provide honest opinions on their experiences. Here are a few ways they could help yours:
- A fresh pair of eyes
Even companies that are on top of their customer service targets need a new perspective every now and then. Employing a team of mystery shoppers will allow you to see your company in a new light and gain a real insight into how people view your business from the outside. Relying on people who work within the company to give you honest feedback will never be as reliable as hearing the truth about your business straight from the horse’s mouth, so grab any opportunity you can to listen to someone impartial.
- An opportunity to make positive changes
Gaining a clear overview of how people perceive your customer service efforts will allow you to understand what is and isn’t working, and identify any training needs. When you know where you’re going wrong (and even the very best businesses do get it wrong occasionally) you’ll be able to concentrate on putting it right.
- A chance to offer real value
A good mystery shopper will give you a real and honest evaluation of your business and tell you what you could have done to improve their experience. As all customers are ultimately looking for great value, working on any pain points will help you give them exactly that.