The Voice of Service: In a B2C setting Mystery Shopping measures how service delivery and the human experience of the transaction is delivered.
A vital companion to transactional satisfaction surveys and customer relationship research, do you give your Mystery Shopping the same level of planning and thought that you should?
The intention is to re-create realistic engagements with staff in order to test the knowledge, skills and engagement in order to improve training and ultimately the customer experience. But to do this, you need a great understanding of the customer journey and your customer personas which reflect your actual customer base. This enables you to create scenarios that reflect the actual missions’ customers take when using your services or buying from you. Reflecting “how it is” is important so that staff are not triggered to respond differently?
There are typically two types of Mystery Shopping providers. Those offering a small panel of trained auditors to measure the consistency of your service offering. This means a higher level of consistency in the measurement. Whereas those providers with larger panels will include, in some cases, your actual customers. This enables a more natural engagement but may be a little less consistent in terms of quality. Both approaches are valuable, but the purpose of the programme needs to be defined in your selection of provider.
Key to any programme though is that this measurement is about performance improvement. Never to Catch staff out, but to catch staff doing the right thing! Using Mystery Shopping as a stick to beat people with and award bonuses is not effective and causes damage. Successful programmes enhance and improve the skills of your staff and help develop the overall customer experience execution. This builds on training programmes and should be used as part of the personal development process. Recognising exemplary examples of service and best practice should be openly shared across the store and the business as a whole, to celebrate the success of staff. This creates a positive culture which will impact the longer-term and will be seen in the Voice of Customer and Bottom line.