Customer Experience is becoming an ever-increasingly important aspect of business success for bricks and mortar, online, and brick and click retailers alike. For the high street, the experience now needs to be safe yet innovative; for online brands, the experience should be user friendly and efficient.
MYSTERY SHOPPING CAN HELP
So how can you go about measuring and improving the experience you offer to customers? Mystery shopping is a great place to start and uses people just like your real customers to test out your customer service and sales processes in a methodical and objective fashion.
A good mystery shopping provider can assess every aspect of your customer experience, across all channels of communication, online and offline, including engaging with Live Chat on a website, social media enquiries, making a phone or email enquiry, interacting with staff in store and face to face, or virtual in-home sales consultations.
Mystery shopping is multi-channel but it is also multi-touch. One effective mystery shop design, for example, could be to browse a retail website, place an order and then return the item after delivery.
The retail mystery shopping questionnaire would collate feedback on the whole journey:
- the user experience of the website (search function, broken links, payment process etc.)
- the delivery and packaging experience (delivery time and accuracy of items received, packaging quality/amount, politeness of delivery driver etc.)
- and then the whole returns process (ease of use of the return form/location drop, refund processing efficiency, replacement items etc.).
This method of monitoring the customer experience is complementary to other tactical customer satisfaction research you might be conducting and looks at the joined-up customer journey (as opposed to a single interaction point) and can provide both qualitative and quantitative data.
You can quickly see where there might be negative moments along the customer journey that impact the customer experience and your brand equity. These in-the-moment frustrations can be hard to pick up through traditional customer satisfaction surveys alone.
Video as a Training Tool
In a physical store, mystery shopping really comes into its own, particularly if you opt to carry out covert video mystery shops. Audio-visual files provide irrefutable evidence of the in-store experience and can be used effectively in staff training programmes and incentive schemes. There is nothing like seeing and hearing your interaction with a customer to drive home what you do naturally well, and what you might need more training on.
Video mystery shops can also be used to demonstrate best practice and are extremely effective at breaking down sales processes into their constituent parts to create a more easily absorbed learning resource.
The retail mystery shopping questionnaire is structured to mirror training processes and the different stages of the sales process and engagement with a customer. By doing this it forms a cohesive part of a retailer’s training materials and helps to reinforce the steps and requirements for staff through repetition and practical, real life scenarios.
Physical mystery shopping is also a cost-effective tool in monitoring the safety and ambience of a store. Covid-compliant signage and hygiene measures, staff appearance, store cleanliness, queue control and additional facilities such as car parking and cafes can all be included in the assessment.
No manager can be in all places at all times. Conducting a high volume and high frequency mystery shopping programme enables effective monitoring of many factors affecting a customer’s store experience and ensures brand values are demonstrated consistently and well.
A good mystery shopping provider shows adds value through the reporting and insights they can offer. Data that can be filtered by area, type of store, individual touchpoint, question or channel, regional manager, or other custom properties, makes it easy to see where effort should be focused to enhance that all important customer experience, and in turn drives brand loyalty, brand advocacy, and repeat custom.
If you are interested in improving your retail customer experience, please get in touch for a free consultation on Mystery Shopping or other insight solutions.