Is contracting a mystery shopping company worth the cost? Here are 10 superb ways mystery shopping can improve your business customer service. Indeed there are various channels to assess your customer service performance.

From first-hand observations to review sites and social media feedback to opinion polls and so on, each of them offering unique advantages and disadvantages and each designed for specific situations and outcomes.  But one tool that is often used to analyze the quality of customer experience in the service industry is Mystery Shopping.

Many times the actual delivery at the retail outlet is not up to par with the company’s policies and claims and mystery shoppers can help the company identify whether their frontline staff is providing the standard of service expected of them.

Note that since Mystery Shopping deals with checklists, it can be used to analyze efficiency. For example, in a hotel business, mystery shopping gives detailed insights into how promptly a customer is greeted and if they are greeted by name, and it can give insights into branch appearance.

In the United States, having good customer service is imperative, and reports have it that about 66% of US consumers are willing to spend more money with a company that provides them excellent customer service, while 60% of consumers say they have not completed an intended purchase due to a poor customer service experience.

Also have it in mind that Mystery Shopping helps to show where the money on training staff should be spent to grow and improve customer service.

Many years back, mystery shopping was merely used as a tool to measure employee performance. However, in this modern era, it is used to measure the quality of customer experience provided. Here are ways mystery shopping helps you improve customer experience.

10 Superb Ways Can Mystery Shopping Improve Customer Service

1. Know your strengths and weaknesses

The information a mystery shopper provides can be used to review your business processes and practices. With that you get a better picture of your strengths and weaknesses which will also help you develop better business procedures that will benefit your customers. With mystery shopping, you can pinpoint the things you need to improve on and the areas your business thrives in.

2. Ensure peak performance from your employees

Although there are varying views on whether you should tell your employees or keep it a secret that you’re conducting a mystery shopping program. But each option has its own benefits and disadvantages, so the basis of your decision will depend on your objectives for conducting the program.

However, letting them know will make them more vigilant with their actions. They will always treat every customer special since they won’t know if the one they’re talking to is the mystery shopper.

3. Identify Loop Holes

Mystery shopping is an ideal way for companies to understand the experiences of their customers and get a better perspective on their service. Mystery shoppers give insight on their experience, whether positive and negative and help the customer service team identify the loop holes in the service and improve on it.

It is the job of a mystery shopper to look at various aspects of customer service such as greeting by the staff, timeliness, helpful and friendly attitude, sales pitch, overall attitude and approach towards the customer etc.

4. Assess a marketing program you’ve implemented

After you must have researched an idea and it promises to boost your business sales, but after weeks of trying it out, there’s neither feedback from customers nor an increase in sales. It is like the program was never carried out in the first place. Mystery shoppers can help you gauge the effectiveness of the new marketing program you’ve executed. You can hand them a checklist to help them observe how the campaign should have affected the business.

5. See your business from your customer’s perspective

Note that so many organizations in the United States use their own staff to gauge the efficiency of their service. This method has proven to be inefficient and it usually results in biased observation. Also, your staff knows you so they will give you special treatment which they don’t usually do for typical customers. But with a mystery shopper, it eliminates this prejudice and gives you the perspective of an actual customer.

6. Analyze your competition

Remember that keeping tabs on how competitors are doing is a sound business strategy. With the help of a mystery shopper, you can have a better insight of how competing organizations conduct their business. You can identify things that work for them and which don’t.

You can mimic or improve upon the processes that work for them and ditch those that aren’t applicable to your business. You also understand the practices they employ that give them a solid customer base. Innovate on your findings and apply it on your own procedures. Not only can this improve the way you handle customers but also help position your business ahead of the pack.

7. Evaluate training programs

Mystery shopping is also ideal when you are looking to check how well your company trained your employees and whether their performance is of high standard. Note that it is a good exercise to analyze employee performance and also assess the training department. You can also explain to employees the mistakes they are making and help them perform better next time, keeping customer satisfaction in mind.

8. Tap deeper into what your customers need

Mystery shopping helps you create programs that focus more on customer behaviour. It can help you dig deeper into the emotional level of your customers and understand the experiences they want to have whenever they do business with you.

The information gathered from the research can help you develop business cases, service designs, company policies, and marketing campaigns that will help improve your brand. In the service industry, the level of customer satisfaction you provide can be the difference between whether your clients will remember your brand and do business with you again or forget that you even exist.

9. Know if your employees are complying with business protocols

Typically, employees are expected to look presentable since they represent the company’s branding and mystery shopping can help with it. Although this factors can seem irrelevant to some but it is a crucial part of the customer experience your business promotes.

Note that an ordinary customer won’t be able to differentiate or tell whether staff are treating them properly or not. A trained mystery shopper can help you identify compliance issues within your staffing.

10. Understanding your employees

Another important function of mystery shopping is understanding your employees and how they interact with the sales process. You can discover issues that might require re-training, re-appraisals or re-structuring of the team in its entirety. Also note that this analysis will provide business leaders with the right tools to properly train employee.

The facts above show that mystery shopping can be effectively used in every industry to evaluate the quality of customer service a business is providing.

Joy Nwokoro