You have a retail business that relies on your employees selling things to consumers. That’s a pretty big reason to need a Mystery Shopping program on its own. While that should be the end of our article, you probably need more convincing than that. If your business is dependant on sales (either products or services), then those sales are dependant on the customer’s experience, and their loyalty.
The advantage great customer service gives a business over its competitors has never been more important. Online retail sales are topping at 20 billion. The edge a ‘bricks and mortar’ store has over its online counterpart is face-to-face customer service.
Here are just five reasons you need a Mystery Shopping Program for your retail business:
1 – Improvement
While you can monitor your sales to determine which locations aren’t meeting their targets, it takes time and energy. A good Mystery Shopping program can identify which locations are current or possible problems and provide feedback on how to improve the customer service there.
As you would measure and maintain a piece of machinery, Mystery Shopping can work as preventative maintenance on customer service. Possible service issues can be uncovered before they affect sales.
2 – Behaviour
The Hawthorne Effect shows us that observation affects behaviour. Sure, you have regional representatives to go around to the locations and check that your standards and core values are being properly reflected on the frontline, but employees change their habits around peers and superiors. A Regional Manager won’t discover that a store employee is encouraging their customers to buy from the competition who may have a larger range, or better prices, without feedback from customers and Mystery Shoppers.
A Mystery Shopper can interact with staff anonymously and, therefore, receive genuine service. The authentic interaction between the Mystery Shopper and staff can then be objectively evaluated and compared against other locations with the same criteria. A Mystery Shopping program eliminates variables that skew results.
3 – Consistency
As we stated in a previous article, Consistency is Key. Ideally, if a customer receives excellent service in one of your stores, they should receive the same level of service in your other stores. That is not the reality of retail or any goods and services industry; quality fluctuates. You can probably guess which experience the consumer then mentions on Social Media.
You provide the benchmark, a Mystery Shopping program ensures that benchmark is being met and monitors consistency across locations.
4 – Expectations
A consistent Mystery Shopping program will help you hire, train, and keep in touch with your employees. It provides case studies on what to do and what not to do. The program will both communicate the company’s expectations and assess based on that criteria, making expectations clear and consistently reinforced.
In addition to a Mystery Shopping program, we also advise clients to implement a Team Member Feedback Survey to monitor the internal understanding of its expectations, and identify the company’s Employee Net Promoter Score, that is, the degree and quality of your employees’ loyalty and ambassadorship.
5 – Rewards
Who wouldn’t want a chance to recognise and reward their best team members? Everyone loves to be told they’re doing a great job. A company might initiate rewards and incentives for top performing employees. It could be an awards night, bonuses for top scoring locations, even a KPI for salaries and commission. These help team morale and further promote the idea of employees as brand ambassadors.
Measuring and monitoring service is the first step to improving service, which leads to increased sales. You need an unbiased, anonymous assessor rather than in-house representatives that will skew the results, and a consistent program so the results can have a multi-layered effect.
There will always be ups and downs, new competitors, changes in technology, etc., the focus should always be on customer service because that is what drives sales. It’s common sense to make sure your business is doing everything in its power to assess, improve, and benefit from that customer service.
Above Benchmark specialise in helping Australian businesses define, measure and improve their customer service and overall experience so they can increase their sales and revenue. We have over 15 years industry experience and have worked with some of Australia’s leading brands.
Our team are passionate about designing and managing meaningful Mystery Shopping and Customer Satisfaction programs. We’re on a mission to make it incredibly easy for businesses to implement and manage these new strategies and gain the support of their staff.
If you’d like to learn more about our range of services and how they can help increase sales and create customer loyalty in your business, please contact our office for a complimentary consultation.