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More and more companies are opting to use mystery shopping to ensure that their customer service standards and brand communication are in line with decided corporate strategy and vision. This technique involves using an undercover agent going into retail premises or other customer interface areas posing as prospective buyer for the product or service. They, then, fill out a response form or questionnaire along with general opinions and comments. These reports are, then, analyzed to determine if there is any retraining, display or rehiring needs that can improve customer satisfaction.
Where Is Undisclosed Shopping Most Popular
Any customer service related area like telecalling or retail sales benefits the most from this technique. It has been noted that even announcing the use of secret shoppers can increase productivity and sales interaction considerably since nobody wants to be singled out for criticism. The recorded conversation or report if shared sensitively with the employees can help everyone benefit from the key findings. But it is important to take the employees into confidence since the very beginning so that they do not end up thinking that it is an initiative against them rather than for the benefit of the company as a whole.
Why The Need For The Undercover Agent
Try as we may, there is no way to discover real employee behavior if an insider were to judge it. Employees will always be on their best behavior if they know that they are being judged. Also internal people often develop blind spots to faults and weak areas in respect to their company. Contrastingly, not only do the researchers answer the questions included in the report, they can also give their opinions and open ended feedback on areas not covered in the questions. Another great advantage of mystery shopping is studying the competitive behavior and trends. Company employees walking into a competitive brand will be identified as such and not get the required information that a neutral observer can.
What Are The Business Advantages
Mystery shopping helps understand the problems in the customer service. By determining gaps or related factors affecting customer relations, companies can over time try and improve through training and other interventions. Not only will this translate into more loyal customers switching brands less often, they will also lose relatively less business from unhappy customers. There will be better word of mouth for the company, and sales will consequently improve. On the other hand, if the service is allowed to deteriorate, it is only a matter of few seconds before the consumer takes his or her business elsewhere.
How Expensive Is Mystery Shopping
Quality Assurance costs are best treated as an investment and not an expense. Hiring people to pose as secret shoppers is actually not very expensive especially when you compare it to the opportunity cost of losing customers. Even if you think you have sufficient business today to avoid expenses on quality improvement, it is important to stay a step ahead of competition by providing more value for the buck. If you have more than one department that needs mystery shopping initiatives, you can start with one, and then, do the rest in stages. You will be able to see the benefits almost immediately.
In summary, quality is no longer negotiable for the customer. They expect it by default. For some reason, if you have managed to get by without quality assurance measures, you are extremely lucky. To sustain and grow ones business, it is important to ensure that ones customer delivery is near perfect. For that matter, mystery shopping is a great way of keeping tab. Remember that every customer who is not satisfied can cost a company up to thousands of dollars in lost business, not to mention damaged reputation.
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