Monitor your customer experience better
How can you tell, accurately, how well your customer experience works when you are not on site? Do you have a monitoring system that works?
Businesses like ours invest a significant amount of money to develop engaging marketing campaigns, but if the execution of the program is not performed correctly by the frontline staff, the program will be a disaster.
The idea of using mystery shoppers to monitor restaurant operations is not a new concept, but the use of these shoppers by multiple departments to test a variety of marketing concepts is a recent development. Traditionally viewed as an operational tool to monitor the general customer experience, marketing specialists now utilize these evaluations to monitor everything from long-term programs to new product launches.
Marketers who use evaluation programs have a clear understanding about how a campaign was executed in the field and can make more confident decisions. They can pinpoint specific areas where a program was not correctly executed. For example, the evaluation could show that, on a company-wide basis, signs were placed correctly, but suggestive selling only occurred 60 percent of the time. Evaluations by mystery shoppers can also show specific stores that correctly executed the program on a consistent basis.
When a campaign does not have the desired effect on customers, marketers can determine specific areas in need of additional training as well as parts of the campaign that need to be reworked. In the end, evaluations can show marketing departments exactly where time and resources should be dedicated, eliminating unnecessary company-wide efforts.
Whether you create an internal shopper program, or outsource, there are certain elements that must be part of any high quality evaluation program.
Here's an example of a simple flow of assessing customer service through a mystery shoping program. The critical element is measurement of how you stack up against how you wish to be perceived and then using this information to enhance performance or tighten up standards.
Always communicate to all employees the standards you'll be measuring, up front. For any in-store marketing campaign to succeed, there must be a clear understanding by the frontline employees about what is expected of them. Managers must know when and where to place the Point-of-Purchase signs and how to set promotional displays. Cashiers, servers and other salespeople must know they are expected to suggest customers try a new product or sign up for a new program. They must know if they have a coupon to give each customer before they leave.
Employees should be recognized and rewarded for positive behavior. Many customers look to an evaluation program to find out what employees are doing wrong. Instead, companies should be looking at everything employees are doing right. After all, everyone wants a pat on the back for doing a good job. Recognizing and rewarding employees for positive behavior makes it happen more often. Making a big deal over top performers goes a long way to communicate top-down philosophy for superior service.
Build suggestive selling into your program. Routine suggestions that customer use a premium product, test new products or try in-store promotional items can result in enormous incremental revenues.
Timely data and frequency are key to analyzing the company’s performance. In order to get an accurate trend analysis, frequency is a necessary element. Shopping a business frequently will ensure accurate information that will provide actionable data to make decisions with confidence. It is also important to make sure that you have enough shoppers to support frequent evaluations. When the same shopper is used on a regular basis, employees begin to identify this person and behavior will change when the evaluator is present.
Timely information is equally important. Evaluations must be provided to managers and employees immediately, while the experience is still top of mind. This allows managers to coach individual employees on weaker areas so that any potential customer service challenges are quickly addressed.
Correctly measuring and monitoring performance and delivery of service can mean a much bigger bottom line. People shop where they feel good, and an effective evaluation program will ensure they feel good with you. It will also ensure that marketing teams are making better informed decisions so that company resources are maximized.