Category Archives: Aftersales Mystery Shopping

Are you still feeling the love for ‘Customer Advocacy’?

Feeling the love for advocacy

Feeling the love for ‘Customer Advocacy’

As a phrase, it can certainly sound intimidating and conjures up images of some kind of special customer insights framework measure dreamed up by PR managers, marketing teams and sales directors.

But what does it actually mean?

Firstly, let’s differentiate two different types of advocacy which can have a positive impact on business operations, customer advocacy and brand advocacy.

Customer advocates can be your sales team, your call handlers and support staff, even the Chief Executive, everybody should be on board. They all help to ensure that the customer comes first and that service quality is at the top of the agenda. Brand advocates are your customers who may have purchased your product or service, they’re happy to share their opinion with friends and family in a positive way by word of mouth.

To generate brand advocacy, we must first focus on customer advocacy, after all nobody is going to promote poor service delivery.

Why is advocacy important?

At its core, brand advocacy is psychological, as humans we buy and make decisions based on trust, we are more likely to do that if a friend or someone we have a relationship gives us a recommendation. It’s why online customer reviews have flourished and become an integral part of our purchasing journey.  Because the information is so readily available, it’s easy to make an informed purchasing decision with minimal risk to us as customers.

Should business leaders wait for trusted reviews to roll in though? Of course not, by focusing on key service areas, we can ensure that our customers receive the best possible experience, and company employees are key to this.

How do I get people to become advocates of my brand?

It only happens through hard work, by focusing on all the key components of customer service you can realise the potential for customers and staff alike to become advocates.

It may seem easy but how many companies manage to get every component of service 100% right. By understanding where we can improve, in turn  we can help customers to become brand advocates by exceeding their expectations.

Tips for improving advocacy

By starting at the beginning of the customer journey customer insights teams can quickly build an overall picture of areas which might influence this.

Top 5 areas to focus customer service to help improve brand advocacy

  1. Customer acknowledgment
  2. Sales team product Knowledge
  3. Quality of product
  4. Speed of Service
  5. Customer follow-up

Using mystery shop as a tool to help

At Tern, we believe that you can start to create greater customer advocacy by using mystery shop to enable a greater understanding of where your brand or service is at.

Find out what’s happening in your stores with detailed customer insights using either video mystery shop or requesting detailed mystery shopping visits. Then focus on the results and employee training to drive positive change.

Articles you may find useful:

What’s Your Customer Service Focus for 2017?
Do Tech Advances Result in a Better Restaurant Experience?
The benefits of ‘One Click Regional Manager Action Plans’

One Click Regional Manager Action Plans

Our new  ‘Customer Service Pulse’ add-on allows you to turn complex mystery shopping report  data into clear area or regional action points. The new service performance review tool will transform the way you communicate with your area managers. The function provides a simplified view of big data that those within customer insights, operations and training teams should all have access to.

Manager Action Plan Software

Manager Action Plans with Customer Service Pulse

Drilling into mystery shopper data with one click 

Simply choose the relevant area (North, South, etc.) and click on Pulse.  The system instantly gives you the five key areas of focus for that particular area and the five stores holding the area back the most, helping you to build a clear manager action plan. The Pulse screen also shows the potential impact if these problem elements and locations were addressed.  In short, with one click you have a bespoke area or region action plan at your disposal at the click of a button.  Tackling these marginal gains on an area by area basis can have a dramatic cumulative effect.

Service Pulse Data

Customer Service Pulse

How to focus on marginal gains in customer service:

  • Review the survey criteria to ensure it matches the goals of the business
  • Analyse sectional and group data by region, manager, location or mystery shop survey
  • Review results in context and focus on your quick wins for performance gains

By getting managers and staff to focus on smaller components you can make a bigger difference to the overall customer service. This helps to develop a consistent and high quality service every time you interact with your customers, it also allows you to pick out training points with staff for future improvements.

Break down the mystery shopper survey and build a manager action plan

By starting at the beginning, we help you to strip back your service to the key components to help you build the story of your business through a detailed mystery shopping survey. With this in place your action plan will formed into ‘Customer Service Pulse’. This helps you to build question by question a story which can be translated into a potential overall positive percentage increase in performance. See the related article on how to design a great mystery shopping survey.

For sports scientist, the focus might be on fitness, nutrition and rest. In retail, we can focus much in the same way on elements like customer acknowledgement, service and up-sell. Whichever discipline you operate within the ultimate goal is the same – to improve and marginal gains at each step. By combining and measuring all of the key elements we can develop the overall manager action plan to be followed which helps us to improve our benchmark scores over time.

But just like sport it doesn’t happen by accident, trainers, development teams and coaches are instrumental in helping to measure and improve the core components one step at a time. You can only do this with a robust set of data. So, whether you’re a sports scientist or a retail insights manager the requirement is the same.

Having the ability to see the key areas for improvement so quickly makes reviewing your mystery shopping scores effortless.

Do Tech Advances Result in a Better Restaurant Experience?

With the food service sector set to be worth £56.3bn by 2019 Source: there is clear evidence that our changing lifestyles and increasing availability of free time is allowing us to sample a greater range of food experiences than ever before.

Combine that with the growth of food-to-go/quick service restaurants and we’re beginning to see how our high streets can change for the better.

Using technology to drive success

For those working at forefront of food service delivery in customer facing roles, creating simple in-restaurant processes combined with a personal service is key. New tools are helping to improve operational efficiency of restaurants, allowing communications between waiting staff and the kitchen to drive up the quality of the customer dining experience.

Click and Collect Food Orders

Click and Collect Food Ordering is on the increase.

Whether it’s customers using a pre-order app on their phone, click and collect service  or intermediary website services like Deliveroo and Just Eat. new tech is also allowing food service operators to communicate and deliver to a wider consumer audience. From initial pop-up restaurants placed in convenient London locations @Londonpopups our restaurant entrepreneurs are using technology to help put themselves on the map, generate custom,  improve service and gain further investment and growth.

London Popup Restaurants

What’s the future for bars, cafes and restaurants?

Todays’ Pop-ups show the future for emerging brands. The recent purchase of up and coming food chains like GBK  by ‘Famous Brands’ shows that the marketplace will invest in brands which it thinks can have a broader market appeal. Even big players like McDonalds  recognise the need to adapt to these challengers, our changing consumer tastes and ordering methods. Healthier options are now present on all of its menus. McDonalds fast food competitor Pret a Manager has recorded 16% increase in sales growth 2016 and has recently trialled a vegetarian only food outlet. Source: IGD Research

The UK probably offers the most diverse range of food-to-go and restaurant options available anywhere in the world.  Thai and Japanese restaurants in the UK have reported an 18% growth in the last five years. Source:

This trend in consumers seemingly willing to try new cuisines will undoubtedly mean that our High Street will continue to see more new restaurants and restaurant themes develop.

How to measure restaurant service levels

Keeping an eye on the service levels in newly opened establishments requires more than just diligent monitoring. With multiple purchase and service routes now available, using mystery diners  can help aid operational and regional management teams to keep an eye on the overall experience.  For large scale food service providers measuring the operational effectiveness will drive up profits and customer  NPS Scores, in turn helping to prevent those negative online reviews before they even happen.


Estate Agency Mystery Shopper

Estate Agency Mystery Shopper

Award winning estate agency service can start with a mystery shop

With an ever increasing amount of house buying research and activity taking place in the property portal market, traditional high street agents are having to work harder than ever to exceed their customers expectations. We can help you to achieve this with our combination estate agency mystery shop programme using pre-formatted reports and scenarios.

Why customer service matters

New online entrants have delivered a revolution in the estate agency marketplace and your staff must ensure that their professionalism and local knowledge gives you a clear advantage over the competition, however you market your service.

With over 25 years’ experience conducting mystery shopping research we understand the current challenges faced by the sector. We have developed a bespoke estate agent mystery shopper programme to help. We can provide you with a high level review of your operations – our combination programmes have led to a direct improvement in customer engagement and satisfaction within local branch networks.

What are the benefits of mystery shopping for estate agents?

A mystery shopping exercise will help you gain a detailed understanding of:

  • How well you engage with sellers and buyers at the initial point of contact.
  • Competence via your different communication channels; walk-in, telephone and email.
  • How you could work more efficiently to deliver a quality, cost effective service to your customers.
  • See how you compare with other estate agents through our ‘Estate Agency Bench-marking Programme’ (EABP).

Who are our mystery shoppers?

Our mystery shoppers are selected from a 20,000 strong database, spread throughout the UK. Operating since 1989, we have built up an enviable team of experienced researchers.

How is the mystery shop conducted?

The mystery shopping exercise takes place over a defined period, usually a couple of weeks on a variety of days and times.  Our shoppers will follow the brief as either a buyer or seller to measure:

  • Standards of response to buyer enquiry
  • Response to seller enquiry.
  • Call/Email response times.
  • Physical visits to the branch to test ability of staff to conduct a full customer fact find.
  • How the subject of fees is introduced
  • How objections are handled
  • How you up-sell from the standard package offer
  • How you differentiate yourself in the market place

 How are the results reported?

Results can be viewed through our bespoke reporting dashboard which can be viewed online.

All of our mystery shopping packages include:

  • A digital mystery shopping scorecard report.
  • Detailed commentary on findings and areas for improvement.
  • Your sector benchmark.

We think that mystery shop research is such a good way to review your performance that you will want to make it part of your standard business practice. Over time you will be able to monitor your improvement to check your level of service is heading in the right direction, for you and your customers.


The Ultimate Goal, Great Customer Service, the Way It Should Be!

Golas Soccer Centres Logo

Finding a new challenge for yourself, friends or colleagues can be an uphill task. Goals Soccer Centres provide purpose built, FA Accredited, all-weather 5-a-side footballing facilities which are designed to coax even the most dedicated armchair fans off their seats and back onto the pitch.

Ensuring that every new customer that visits ‘Goals’ facilities are fully catered for is hugely important to the customer service team, which prides itself on a first class customer engagement strategy.

Goals Soccer Centres Promotional Banner

Kellie Scullion – Customer Experience Manager at Goals Soccer Centres:

“When someone walks through our doors to enquire about our centres it is key that we make sure that they feel both comfortable & welcomed in the environment and are fully informed about the ‘Goals’ product offer.

Making sure that we also follow up on the initial contact is key to rapport building and the long term success of the business. Tern give us very clear and informative data which tells us how we are performing on each of our key customer service touchpoints.  The reporting platform is easy to use and highlights areas for improvement in a couple of clicks.”

James Harper – Head of UK Sales at Tern:

 “We are delighted to be working with Goals Soccer Centres. Gathering the key facts on your service delivery can be an important factor in increasing conversion for any business.”


Goals Soccer Centres provides a range of services including the following:

The staff are key in the delivery in the overall customer service proposition and include:

  • Experienced event management staff.
  • Dedicated Tournament Directors.
  • FA Affiliated Referees.

The Tern approach to customer conversion tracking

Tern utilises its nationwide mystery shopper field team to conduct customer research and to track performance in the end to end sales process, ensuring that the conversion of any new potential enquiry is maximised.

We do this through a combination of physical face to face visits, telephone calls and email tracking. Whichever route the customer takes the outcome should remain the same, great customer service.

A typical mystery customer enquiry programme might include:

  • Face to face enquiry with facility tour visits.
  • Sales introduction to benefits of the club or organisation.
  • Pricing enquiries and speed of response, both online and via telephone
  • Relationship building within the trial offer periods.

If you run a sports facility, gym or club, you know that great customer service is key to success?

We conduct mystery shopping visits in a range of approaches to help you fully understand your business. We can evaluate face to face interactions with video mystery shopping or even test your online, telephone and social response success with our online and call centre mystery shopping.

If your customers experience it, we can measure it with mystery shopping.

UK Consumer Trends for 2016

With consumer trends in retail data from 2015 now being digested by analysts and retail spending peaked, are we about to see the increase in our disposable incomes finally result in a financial windfall for UK retailers?

Latest report data from the ONS suggests that back in 2013 average weekly spending started growing again (increasing to £523.90) and continued growing in 2014 when it reached £531.30. With the figures from 2015 still due, will we see a continued upward trajectory in 2016? And how will this affect our fiercely competitive UK consumer markets?

Consumer Expenditure Trends

Consumer Expenditure Trends

Source: Trends in household expenditure over time (ONS)

Will 2016 herald further increases in choice for the UK consumer?

It’s no secret that a slew of data will most likely still point to the rise of the discounters and value hungry shoppers driving footfall away from previously dominant market leaders. Technology will continue to disrupt traditional channels as companies like UBER and AirBNB start to impact service based industry models.

Standard of service will be a key differentiator.

The quality of product and service delivery is becoming the modern battleground in the race for companies to either expand or survive and growing consumer choice is a sign of healthy market competition. The upshot for business is that the relentless pursuit for value and excellence from consumers will continue to define how our high street retailers perform, shaping the UK retail landscape in the years to come.

The time to invest in understanding service performance and training is now.

If the forecasts are correct then this is a great time for well managed retail stores  to capitalise on low oil prices, benign interest rates and the real terms increases in consumer spending power as inflation remains subdued.


How will retailers capitalise on any increase in UK consumer confidence in 2016?

It’s important to note that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Operations Teams to manage multiple delivery routes as shoppers’ drift between physical bricks and mortar,  the online world, and call centre sales routes. Managing a joined up approach on service at scale is not an easy task but one that retailers need to tackle with relish. As you start your journey into 2016, make sure you lay a great foundation for the rest of the year and beyond.

Provide your business support with a clear measurement framework.

To ensure that you have an accurate measurement for service performance across  all channels we suggest that companies invest in the tools which enable them to have a clear customer insight beyond the standard customer feedback survey. We support companies by developing mystery shopping programmes which measure key moments in the customer journey not typically picked up by consumer surveys and canvassing.

Gathering evidence rich data is the key for driving positive change

Consumer purchase funnel Data

Consumer Purchase Funnel Data from Mystery Shopping – Tern Ltd

For online data analysts it has become common practice to measure the customer journey funnel and work out where you are most likely to lose your customers. Mystery Shopping is the perfect tool for creating a funnel framework for working out your service failure points. Looking at those key moments can tell you where you need to make service level improvements are made. Mystery shopping data is far richer and can be combined with customer feedback surveys or stand alone in it’s own right.

To help you with this we have compiled our own list of supporting topics.

Contact us on 01939 235555 to see how we can help you lay the foundations for achieving great customer service.

Call centre mystery shopping

How to get the most out of Call Centre Mystery Shopping.

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  23/10/2014

Automotive Mystery Shopping for Car Dealerships, Manufacturers and Auto Services  Whether it’s assessing car showroom standards, service desk knowledge or the selling skills of the dealership representatives, the evidence we gather puts you in the driving seat of your customer experience.  Our mystery shopping programmes are built to look at key moments within the customer journey to help you understand and evaluate a range of factors.  With new car sales in a dynamic period of growth ensure that you maximise your business and sales potential with greater insights on performance.  ‘UK new car market up again in August 2015, marking 42nd consecutive month of growth’ 04/09/2015  Each programme that we deliver is made-to-measure to fit the requirements of your business model. We will support you in that process with the benefit of 25 years of experience.              Call us on 01939235555  Contact Us Client Video Testimonials  Automotive Mystery Shopping  How we conduct the automotive industry mystery shopping visits.  We can audit your business whether you're a vehicle showroom, tyre service centre or car hire company, by capturing hard evidence to assess areas of importance to you. We do this by using either video mystery shopping, audio device recording or getting our mystery shoppers to complete detailed written mystery shopping reports.   Watch the sample video.   What can we cover:  Showroom standards and presentation Test drive delivery and sales representative product knowledge Knowledge of automotive finance options and dealership event incentives Aftersales quality checking With this information you can:   Understand missed sales opportunities and implement training for improvement. Identify at dealership level, areas of non-compliance and poor service Verify that advertising campaigns are launched on time and executed properly Seek opportunities to improve the consumer journey from the initial enquiry How we deliver the reports and visit analysis:  After the visits/reports have been completed you will have access to a comprehensive suite of mystery shopping reports delivered through our online dashboard.

Call Centre Mystery Shopping – Telephone Mystery Shopping

We have all been there and unfortunately it’s happening with increasing frequency, press one for sales, press two for enquiries, press three for billing and four for any other enquiry. It’s at this point when our hearts sink as we realise we are about to disappear into a labyrinth of sub menus before we get to speak to a real person. I’m sure that most of us are in favour of efficiency savings and streamlining processes but sometimes the customer experience can be lost in automated call routing systems. What we need here is some call centre mystery shopping.

How many times have you been frustrated wasting your time on hold?

Consumers will accept automated call services to a degree as they realise it supports getting better value products and services and in some occasions results in a shorter calls. That said once you manage to get through to a call handler or operative the way the call is managed is extremely important, providing anything other than an excellent service can cost your business lost revenue and lose you customers. 

Whilst mystery shopping your contact centre can’t adjust the fundamental dynamics of how your calls are routed, you can still ask your mystery shoppers to provide feedback as a focus group. By conducting call centre mystery shopping you will be able to identify issues and problems you might not have known existed with either the call routing or service levels.

Do you rely to heavily on your contact centre call board to tell you the customer experience?

The numbers on the call centre dashboard are all people with different perceptions of your business, as they listen to your call hold music there opinion is being shaped before they even get to speak to the person they need.

You most likely record your calls already so it is possible for you to review a call when a complaint is made and see where a call operative has gone wrong. You can even ask for customers to complete an automated customer satisfaction survey at the end of the call. However sometimes this does not give you the complete customer picture. You can read more about our thoughts on mystery shopping vs customer satisfaction in our blog and why a customer satisfaction responses from real customers will only give you part of the picture and is not a complete measure of service.

What are the benefits of  Mystery Shopping your Call Centre?

Using mystery shopping for your call centre, as opposed to post customer satisfaction surveys, means that you can approach the service with predefined set of measures in place.  Customer Experience Managers, this is our call as customers for you to you to understand the full customer journey for your call centre. Why wait for the complaint to shape your approach to business change. Customer apathy towards modern call centres is well documented and has taken many column inches in our tabloids, a bleak picture of our customer relationship with call centres indeed ‘UK call centre customer service ‘in decline’  Browen Morgan – Research Live.

This is why when the call is finally answered the operative should be  courteous, polite and have the ability to resolve the customer query in the right way. If you have a known problem you can address it by making  sure that you can bring a record of it to your training sessions and then use mystery shoppers to ensure that is has been removed from the system.

So have you ever wondered how good your contact centre really is?

A high number of call centres in the UK are using call centre mystery shopping as a way of regularly reviewing performance with a view to enhancing customer service and improvement training.

By conducting call centre mystery shopping you can separate the experiences out from your main accounts and complete a survey defined against company standards.

You can consider the call from a number of perspectives and the mystery shopper can score the call operative alongside the brief. You might do this might be in relation to a compliance requirement but equally the way the call is handled in terms of customer journey can be measured, just like any other mystery shopping exercise:

Before you embark on a mystery shopper programme for your call centre you might like to consider the following points.

  • Are the call centre mystery shoppers roleplaying a new or existing customer?
  • Does the mystery shopper need a fake account number?
  • How far does the role play need to extend before shopper exits the call?
  • What am I trying to measure or understand?

If you’re considering running a call centre mystery shopping programme, Tern provide can provide you with guidance and we can tailor the programme to your needs. We can measure areas in isolation or as a complete customer  journey.

For more information on how we can help contact us today. For more information on how online an telephone journeys interact with other distribution channels go to our page on online and call centre mystery shopping.


Video Mystery Shopping for your company

Video Mystery Shopping

Video Mystery Shopping Company

Video Mystery Shopping

Customer experiences can be impacted in many different ways.  Some of these are obvious and measureable and some are more subtle and can only be witnessed first hand. Video mystery shopping can help you to see this remote and important viewpoint whilst at the same time capturing hard evidence which relates to the key business measurements. We often hear the phrase ‘people buy people’ and ‘first impressions count’. Having the ability to see how a service is delivered from the outside looking in can be a valuable and important asset in evaluating how we truly behave as individuals when representing a company or brand.

The Benefits of Video Mystery Shopping for Companies

So you’ve recruited your staff, trained them to deliver or sell the product/brand and you wait to see the results through the performance frameworks implemented at senior levels. However once an employee has left the training room it is not always possible to have a view of staff performance measurement in the real world which goes beyond the numbers. This is where video mystery shopping becomes an invaluable tool for customer experience managers and sales teams alike.

You might wish to view a mystery shopping video visit for compliance and audit purposes or to see if new staff handle and manage common sales objections in a competent manner. Secret Video Shoppers role plays can be defined ahead of the visit and can focus on areas where you feel that you might be underperforming or failing to deliver a service your customers would expect and demand. It can also be used to collate important training material for use in future improvement sessions.

Mystery shopping sample video:


The Benefits of Video Mystery Shopping for Customers

In competitive marketplaces where there is little differentiation in terms of price, the importance of building a great customer rapport and delivering a quality customer service will help you to build a customer base with a higher customer lifetime value.

Ultimately your happy customers are likely to spend more and make quality referrals for future customers.  The reduced requirement to churn new customers to grow your business will improve your cost per acquisition and create a positive feedback loop. This will result in the the ability to ultimately deliver a superior service over your competitors by diverting budget to aftersales care.

The Benefits for your Staff

Knowing your own shortfalls not only as a company but as an individual allows the opportunity for both parties to improve. Our own view of ourselves is very often clouded by our daily routine and other external factors which influence the way we conduct ourselves as we work. In the same way as anonymous 360 degree feedback methods from your peers can be both beneficial and  enlightening, an external view of performance through a mystery shopping video can yield similar benefits to individuals. The ultimate goal feeds through as the reward of improved service to the customer and career growth for the staff member.

 Buisness Areas which Benefit from Video Mystery Shopping

Video Mystery shoppers give you the benefit of a unique form of customer feedback and can be aligned to your business needs.

For example:

  • Assessing campaign delivery and performance, product promotions and store layouts
  • Benchmarking new store capability
  • Checking sales and services are delivered in a compliant manner
  • Reviewing adherence to regulatory requirements
  • Audit of franchisee operations to see that company standards are maintained

Tern is an agency providing mystery shopping and video mystery shopping services for companies in the UK. Give us a call on 01939235555 to find out a little bit more about our approach.

Written by Gary Edwards – Managing Director – Linkedin Google+ 01/09/2014

Automotive Mystery Shopping Company Case Study

Automotive Mystery Shopping Compnay

Selecting the right automotive mystery shopping company for your sales improvement programme is important.

When one of the UK’s leading BMW dealerships– BMW Rybrook selected Tern to conduct thier video mystery shopping  we were delighted to be able to share our 25 Years of Mystery Shopping experience with this premium brand.

Rybrook understand the importance of providing a quality customer service and utilise our measurement services to ensure standards are not only maintained but built upon through continuous improvement and training.

Tern Digital Marketing Manager James Harper, said: “Working with a progressive and forward thinking business like Rybrook is key to our own success as we seek to define, advise and develop upon our service offer within the automotive sector. Not only will this approach result in a more attentive client experience for Rybrook customers but it will also mean that the dealership sales and aftersales team reaches its full commercial potential”

Dealership Principal, Gareth,  said: “Video mystery shopping benefits us because seeing is believing, so when you show somebody how they interact with customers, how they act when they are asking questions and when they’re communicating, video is far better tool for communication for employees than any other medium. For me it’s all about it making it easy and being able to deliver the objective that we’re trying to achieve and tern has helped us deliver that every single time.”

Automotive Mystery Shopping Reports

Alongside the mystery shopping activity, the management team will use Tern’s online portal to review results and monitor performance via a customised mystery shopping report dashboard.  Rybrook BMW can also take advantage of surveys with built in manager action plans, streamed best practice video content and a tracked appeals process. You can see a short sample video demonstrating our mystery shopping reports below.

Find out more about our approach to automotive mystery shopping or call us on 01939 235555.

Written by James Harper – Digital Sales & Marketing Manager – Linkedin Google+ 06/08/2014