You spend countless dollars on marketing and advertising to drive people through your door. That is money down the drain if your employees are driving people out your door.
An amazing product or service concept will attract numerous new and potential customers for you. But what happens when your employees, who are charged with delivering on your company's promises, fail to meet the expectations of those customers?
Make sure they come back.
“Only about 1 in 10 customers will actually voice their concerns directly to a manager.”
Stats used to be that a customer will tell roughly twice as many people about a bad experience than they will about a good experience. Now, with countless social media platforms, the number of people who will hear about a bad experience can be immeasurable, which has the potential to be devastating to a company's reputation and bottom line. Online reviews can be the lifeblood or death of any business.
In a social media-driven marketplace, businesses need to stay on top of potential customer service issues so they can be proactive and fix things before the damage is done. The question is, how does one do that when only about 1 in 10 customers will actually voice their concerns directly to a manager? Some businesses choose the route of receipt-generated surveys or an onsite computerized feedback system such as a tablet at a kiosk, as those are perceived to be the more cost-effective solutions.
While short surveys are a useful tool to use in conjunction with a more comprehensive customer experience program, on their own they provide little value. Most people will only take the time to fill them out if they are either extremely happy or extremely upset, and often even then only if they are given some sort of reward for filling out the survey. Furthermore, because the person answering the survey only sees the questions after the experience, the survey cannot be overly detailed because the customer wasn't prepared for what to watch for. As a result, details that are critical to the service experience and brand standards go unreported.
Go Big or Your Customers will Go Home
A full-scale customer service program that includes a mystery shopping component can bridge the gap between receiving minimal feedback with no program in place and receiving an abundance of vague feedback with a survey program. Mystery shopping is a tool that is used by business owners and managers alike to gather valuable information from the perspective of their customers so they can take action, capitalizing on their strengths and identifying and correcting deficiencies.
The Voice of Your Customers
“Unbiased, independent, third party evaluators hired specifically to ensure the voice of the customer is heard."
The biggest problem with addressing customer service issues is that it can be hard to know what needs to be addressed. Even when front-line staff is advised of an issue, they may not advise management. They may be hesitant because they find their manager unapproachable; there may be no appropriate internal channels for communicating questions or concerns; they may fear repercussions if they were part of the problem; or they may just feel the issue wasn't that big of a deal. Management is often left in the dark about problems that are occurring right under their noses.
With customers not voicing complaints under most circumstances and employees not always conveying those concerns even when they are are voiced, a lot of valuable information never makes it to the appropriate people in an organization. By using an unbiased, independent, third-party evaluator who is specifically hired to ensure the voice of the customer is heard, it is much easier to correct deficiencies that may be impacting the reputation and bottom line of the business.
Implementing a customer experience program offers many benefits. Among the benefits you can expect from adding a mystery shopping program to your quality service management are:
* Raises awareness among employees about the importance of providing exceptional customer service. Because 'shoppers' are anonymous, employees never know when they are being evaluated and learn to treat each customer as though they are the mystery shopper.
*Encourages a more consistent level of customer service. This is not only important for ensuring customers can expect to receive the same quality product and service during each subsequent visit to the same location, but also at any location sharing the brand name.
*Provides ongoing data to track trends, set benchmarks, and evaluate the effectiveness of training initiatives.
*Ensures everyone from front-line employees to management is involved in the delivery of outstanding customer service and is upholding company standards, policies, and procedures.