Are you in a business where there is a lot of interaction between customers and your staff? Do you worry about the way your staff handle valuable customers and the impact it has on your business and brand?
Mystery shopping can certainly help you to get a clear picture of what happens at your retail or front counter. This is the place that is often considered the face of your business as customers and staff interact here over myriad issues. Understandably, your frontline staff is directly responsible for creating a positive image of your business and has the maximum potential of influencing customer opinion about your company. Getting a firsthand picture of how your staff responds to customers can help you improve interactions between your clients and your company.
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is a common practice of hiring trainer shoppers who visit companies and retail counters posing as genuine customers. They interact with your staff and evaluate their response to common customer queries on price, product details, customer service, return policy, terms and conditions and so on.
The basic purpose of such an exercise is to understand how your staff interacts regularly with customers and how well they are able to implement company policy and vision.
They will help you evaluate and assess their response and gather invaluable insight into different aspects of customer interaction at the frontline interface.
Today, almost every major industry hires mystery shoppers to assess whether promotions are being carried out as planned, products explained as expected or information provided as per company guidelines. Understandably, mystery shopping can have an invaluable impact on your overall business success and you must use it to improve interactions between customers and frontline staff.
How Mystery Shopping Benefits your Business
As explained above, mystery shoppers can make a huge difference to how frontline staff interfaces with regular customers. The shoppers assess your frontline staff on different parameters and send their report based on shopping carried out in person, over telephone or on the internet.
The reports give a clear indication of how standards are maintained across different stores or counters within the same store; how products are sold and customers retained and how your staff handles questions in general.
Such authentic firsthand feedback helps you to reshape your marketing policy; identify customer interactions areas that need improvement and implement strategies for improving sales opportunities.
Using Mystery Shopping the Correct Way
While mystery shopping is an excellent exercise to understand frontline staff behavior, you must be careful so that it does not become a mere spying strategy or excuse for retrenchment.
Many companies make the cardinal mistake of firing frontline staff who do not measure up to the expectation. Rather, the goal of mystery shopping should be preventive and corrective in nature. Your frontline staff should have made to understand the vital role they play and you can actually use the mystery shopping companies to motivate them to higher performance.