Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Business Benefits!

Keeping a satisfied, repeat customer is an ongoing challenge that all retail outlets face, especially when it comes to building a solid bottom line.
Many factors – positive and negative – can influence bottom line performance, so quantifying the financial return on investment of any new initiative can be difficult. One solution for maintaining customer loyalty is the implementation of a solid mystery shopping program.
“Most companies create a mystery shopping program around a singular need, like an employee incentive or franchisee compliance program,” Matt Wozniak, president and CEO of National Shopping Service, said. “The department responsible for administering the mystery shopping program gathers the field observations and disseminates the information to their group. However, there is a plethora of data that can be extracted and utilized by almost every department within an organization.”
Implementing a non-biased monitoring tool like a mystery shopping program, along with enhanced training and constructive feedback, is a step toward the goal of maintaining customer loyalty.
“Most staff members at a convenience store, for example, are initially uncomfortable selling because they’re cashiers, after all, not salespeople,” Wozniak said. “They feel as though they are bugging the customer or are being forced by management to sell something the customer didn’t want in the first place. And at peak customer flow times, suggestive selling becomes just another task that slows down queue times. Mystery shopping programs produce valuable information about customer expectations for a business’s product or service, and how the staff follows company directives. It’s all about the perception of brand performance and how it affects the bottom line.
Outline what you want your customers to do more often or less often. Wozniak emphasizes that each item must be “measurable” and something “to be observed.”
“This list would not include customer feelings, opinions or attitudes. Only things that can be measured and observed,” Wozniak said.
Determine how the staff will need to be trained to affect each customer behavior modification, how it will be measured, how the incentives to perform will be implemented, and what equipment needs to be upgraded, refurbished or replaced – plus the cost to implement each part of the step.
Create a potential revenue generation (or savings) for each customer behavior alteration process. These will be estimates.
In addition, historical references can be gleaned from mystery shopping providers based on an industry’s specific needs.
“Customers want to be comfortable with a business and know that they’ll always be treated right,” Wozniak concluded. “Customers also know that on those occasions when a business falls short – and they will – they’ll make an ‘exceptional’ recovery to show that they’re needed, and they want their business.”

Dullum, D. (n.d.). Secret Shopping. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.become-a-secret-shopper.com/2010/10/benefits-for-business/

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why Use Mystery Shopping?

1. What's the Value in a Mystery Shopper Program?
a. The most important reason for conducting a mystery shop, is to see your business through the eyes of your customer. Not only should you consider mystery shops, but using focus groups on a quarterly basis that are made up of some of your actual customers. Both sources will provide you with excellent feedback that you can start to focus on.
b. Second, a well-thought out mystery shopper program will allow you to evaluate the accuracy of your training program. If your employees are taught in their training program that they must greet the customer in a certain way, the "shop" will show the results. It is also a way to hold employees accountable for what they learned in training. If you train them you can test them!
c. Third, it helps a company to truly focus on the areas that need improving, based on the customer's reactions. Too often management believes that there needs to be changes in one area and the customer feedback shows that the focus needs to be elsewhere in order to keep them as a loyal customer. Management may think that tightly merchandising their floor space is giving the customer the selection they want, and it turns out that the customer says it is too cramped to shop comfortably.
2. Where Do I Start?
a. Slow down and think, is my answer. First, think about the information you really want to obtain from these reports and what are you going to do with it. The questions you want to ask are one of the most important parts of the program. The best place to obtain the questions is to go back to the training material.
b. You probably have non-negotiable questions that you can begin with. Those are the things you teach employees that must be done, no matter what. If you want to attach points to the questions, then you can give more points to the questions that you want your employees to be the best at. Let's say answering the phone in a certain way is mandatory. If they know that, and they are held responsible for doing that, then you should have it on the questionnaire and you can feel confident about attaching a higher number of points to it.
c. The next step is to hire the shoppers. This can make or break your program. Too often companies think they are saving money by hiring friends and family. I suggest that you hire people you don't know. You are looking for unbiased feedback and the best way is to hire the right people for it.

Mystery Shopping. (2011). Retrieved from Internet and Mystery Shopping: http://www.mystery-shopping-online.com/articles/The-Role-Of-Internet-In-Mystery-Shopping.html

Benefits of Internet in Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping companies use Internet as a medium for communicating and doing research. It enables them to access the results in a very short span of time. It provides instant and good data to assess and manage customer services.
Customer services provided by any company decide its level of success and popularity in the market. Customer service should always be given importance and preference by businesses. The assessment of the level of customer service and performance of the employees, through mystery shopping, by making use of Internet is called real time mystery shopping. Companies try to stay ahead of their competitors by improving in problem areas that are revealed in the audits and scrutiny. They make necessary variations to uplift their sales. Internet enables them to do all these as fast as possible.
There are several companies that provide real-time mystery shopping to their clients. They provide integrated Internet based programs for market research. Besides, Internet provides quick and good-quality programs at reasonable rates in making schedules and recruitments for mystery shopping. Internet plays a vital role in collecting data, managing mystery shoppers from around the world and reporting. The use of advanced software by service agencies to set up global panels for discussion and other purposes are practically possible only because of Internet.

Mystery Shopping. (2011). Retrieved from Internet and Mystery Shopping: http://www.mystery-shopping-online.com/articles/The-Role-Of-Internet-In-Mystery-Shopping.html

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Telephone Performance Shopping

Performance analysis and mystery shopping is crucial for any modern business. It is an important part of improving quality of service and enhancing sales so that the business progresses and rules the market. The company that proves its competence gains maximum number of clients.
The stores and companies try out various ways of improving their customer services. They go out of their ways to find out where the drawback lies. Some managers do it stealthily but the smarter ones hire someone else to do the job. Mystery shopping service is one of the mysterious ways of building the relationship with the customers.
Telephone mystery shopping is another aspect of mystery shopping that ensures that the customers' calls are attended well and their queries are answered properly to rectify their confusions. The procedure is the same; a mystery caller would call up in the store and gather the valuable information regarding employees' performance.
Telephone mystery shopping is the most reliable source of gauging the customer services over the phone. If the managers themselves call in the store there are chances that they may get caught or their findings could be biased. Whereas a thorough professional mystery shopper would definitely know the ways to carry out the survey so that the best results are obtained in the end. They take large sample of calls, gage specific aspects, and study data in ten different ways.
Good phone service is the key to customer satisfaction. Picking up the phone and inquiring about the type of products and services offered is the general practice among the customers. To answer these calls appropriately you need skilled and trained customer care professionals in your shops and stores.

Mystery Shopping. (n.d.). Retrieved 2011, from Mysterious Way To Improve Customer Care: http://www.mystery-shopping-online.com/articles/Mystery-Shopping--Mysterious-Way-To-Improve-Customer-Care.html