Treating your customers well, the way you would want to be treated, and making sure they are nurtured is not only the right thing to do, but also the best way to achieve loyalty, a good reputation and, ultimately, more profit. Great customer service is about putting the customer front and centre in everything you do. And these days, customers are smarter and have higher expectations than ever. Unhappy customers are more likely to rant on social media and, with customer reviews becoming a real decision driver, it is not only your reputation that will be affected. This holds, even during Covid. There are lots of surveys that have shown service and satisfaction trump price and product. And, it is always easier and cheaper to retain a customer than to gain a new one.
Listen to your customers
Only your customers can really tell you what good service means. It doesn’t matter if you think you give good service, only customers really know how they feel. Consumer research can help you find out what they want. Mystery shopping can tell you whether you are achieving it.
For example, how easy or difficult is it to get hold of you? Do your staff know how to answer your customers’ queries? Do your customers feel as if you care? Is your online ordering system working as you would expect it to? How well do your staff relate and engage with your customers? Are you providing the same high level of service across telephone, email, and social media? Mystery shopping can tell you how closely your staff on the ground, on the phone or online are implementing your business vision. Because, at the end of the day, humans dictate whether you succeed or not.
Mystery shopping feedback can help you determine where you should focus your resources and training. By identifying those areas in which you excel and those where there are opportunities to improve it can:
- Increase your customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Feed into a celebration of your strengths and improve your staff engagement
- Improve your reputation and image
- Ensure you meet your compliance obligations
- Help you tailor your training more efficiently
- Help you benchmark your performance over time
- Push you to being better than your competitors
- (Ultimately) increase your profit
So, what is mystery shopping and how does it work?
It is essentially, the use of a human conduit to observe things in the guise of a real person, for example a customer or an enquirer. It’s a bit like sending a secret camera in and amongst your customer facing workforce to see what is really happening out there, in the physical or digital space. It should always be a positive tool. It should motivate staff because it spotlights great service as well as those areas where there are opportunities to improve.
A mystery shopping agency will help you design your mystery shopping project. Based on what you want to find out, they will develop a questionnaire, briefing instructions and scenarios as well as the profile of the shoppers used, which should be as close to your real customers as possible. You will also agree which touchpoints you are going to evaluate and how often. Mystery shoppers are normal everyday people who want to earn some extra income. They tend to be broadly representative of the population at large and they don’t have any axe to grind, they just report what they experience.
The results will not only show you where are your strengths and weaknesses but can also generate lots of useful and actionable insight such as whether performance falls off at certain times of day or days of week, what types of transaction you are best at and whether or not your customers are likely to return and recommend you.