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In addition, historical references can be gleaned from mystery shopping providers based on an industry’s specific needs.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/