Having the ability to obtain direct feedback of the customer experience is essential for future growth and the ongoing improvement of business standards. Utilising Mystery Shopping is one of the best methods to discover and evaluate systemic issues.
In a recent study undertaken in the United Kingdom, a project was carried out to provide a benchmark of performance for a local shopping centre. This research project took place over the course of 1 year and all feedback was supplied back to the clients within the local shopping centre so they could interpret the information and take action.
- An action plan was created by each occupier to address the issues highlighted and acknowledge excellent performance.
- A training programme was developed by the client to help equip the frontline teams with the skills necessary to deliver performance to the required standard.
- Individual and group coaching was provided by the shopping centre to raise the profile of the activity and encourage sharing of best practice.
- A continuous programme of activity was agreed, which involved the cycle of implementing the Action Plan --> Conducting Training/Coaching --> Evaluating Service Performance --> Obtaining Feedback.
Why use Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping was identified as the best methodology to meet the objectives, because as aforementioned, it is the only methodology that evaluates the experience designed (i.e. Customer Journey Mapping) versus the experience delivered (i.e. Customer Service Provided). It can be used both operationally and strategically, as it provides insight to several different departments within a business.
Mystery shopping activities took place each month and any clients that performed below a pre-agreed threshold received additional mystery shopping visits to help support them in raising their performance levels.
What were the results?
Throughout the year, significant improvements were made in relation to the behaviours of the frontline teams as a result of the Mystery Shopping activities conducted and feedback given.
It was identified that Sales Performance metrics improved alongside the soft skills (i.e. simple greetings/farewells and smiling). The dedicated training and coaching of staff produced a more confident team that was able to actively talk to customers and help them get the most from their visits to the shopping centre.
Key commercial benefits identified?
- Brands that provided an “above average service” experienced an 8% financial performance difference than those that were providing a “below average service”.
- Brands that scored below 70% in their Mystery Shopping assessments experienced a 5% DROP in sales in comparison to the 7% INCREASE in sales for those brands that scored 90%+ in their Mystery Shopping assessment.
- By identifying actionable insights and sharing feedback to improve services provided amongst each individual brand in this study helped to deliver an additional $3.2 Million in Sales.
In conclusion, the data retrieved as a result of Mystery Shopping activities is second to none! Having direct feedback of the customer experience and service provided is the most accurate form of feedback to develop actionable insights that can be transformed into real business enhancements and improved results that will test your KPI’s and KRA’s.
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