Category Archives: mystery shopping customer research

The Impact of Rising Inflation on Consumer Behaviour

With the UK inflation predicted to rise in 2017, consumer spending power is becoming squeezed as the gap between wage and price inflation grows.

Retailers shouldn’t panic however, it’s not all bad news. The threat of inflation can actually spur consumers into spending, especially on high price ticket items.  To encourage increased spending, the best way for stores to differentiate themselves from one another is to offer superior customer service.

Inflation Trends Consumer Spending

Consumer Prices Index – Inflation

“Worries about inflation have kept a lid on consumer confidence, with the EC survey showing UK inflation expectations have spiked above long-term trends, with the balance of people expecting prices to rise over next 12 months advancing to +42.3 in February from +41.7 in January, +38.9 in December and +18.1 in October. The long-term average since 1990 is +22.6.” Source:

How to keep shoppers spending in a time of rising inflation

With traditional saving returns at an all-time low and the threat of nest eggs being eroded, bringing forward that expensive purchase could be money well spent for some consumers. Retailers should seize the moment, rising inflation can be a golden opportunity for all who operate in the retail sector.

With some companies already increasing their ticket prices, the quality of both the products and the quality of the customer service is key to keeping those tills ringing. Whilst  some customers might shake off that reluctance to spend,  purchases are still made with caution. For customer facing sales teams, effectively overcoming those objections to purchase is critical to making the sale and improving brand advocacy.

How can sales teams effectively convert new customers?

Big ticket purchases tend to be infrequent which means you may only get the one opportunity to make a customer become an advocate of your brand. Here are some key steps to selling to the customers making high value purchases:

  1. Focus on the customer needs
  2. Establish the budget
  3. Challenge any negatives with the positive benefits of your brand, product or service
  4. Ask the customer what will convince them to purchase today

To see how your staff are delivering in these key areas you can use mystery shopping to help with measuring staff performance.


Video Innovations in Mystery Shopping

At Tern, we’re fortunate enough to meet and work with a range of business sectors. Most love the idea of mystery shopping, however as technology keeps advancing we are being asked how we can add extra interest for senior management teams. At some point most companies have considered using video, but video mystery shop isn’t always practical. To bring customers’ stories to life we have added an extra dimension to our standard written reports, VoxPop videos!

How does it work?

The VoxPop is a circa 1 minute ‘selfie’ video which the shopper makes immediately after their visit.  They speak directly to the camera effectively giving you face to face feedback on how they felt about the experience.  You get to hear the tone of voice and see the shoppers facial expressions as they bring your mystery shopping report to life.  This short but powerful video is embedded into the standard mystery shopping report thus providing you with the hard stats and the softer, more subjective video feedback.

Coupled with NPS score data you can quickly group the videos into sentiment groups that support the mystery shopping data.

Quick visual overview

Video VoxPop

The Video Feedback Process

Video is quickly becoming the perfect tool which can add a qualitative element to  quantitative mystery shopping research data.

Videos can be quickly combined into sentiment show-reels if required, allowing you to group multiple elements of video feedback by NPS rating or other important key surveys requested as part of the exercise.

If you’d like to learn more, then our video VoxPop feedback sessions could be a great addition to your mystery shop reporting. Give us a shout to find out more.

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.

How Much does Mystery Shopping Cost?

Cost and Benefits of Mystery Shopping

What’s the cost of mystery shopping?

Is it right for my business?

The benefits of mystery shopping are undoubted. Yet some businesses decide that this method of research is either expensive, outdated, or somehow inferior to online customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT). 

Why is that? Mystery shopping is a long established method of customer research which is great for collecting content rich data. For customer insights teams, the decision to ask existing customers what they thought seems a logical one. Send out an email survey with an incentive and you will get hundreds of results at a fraction of the cost of mystery shop, job done.

Such beliefs can often lead to low response rates and ultimately disappointment. Digital technology has transformed mystery shopping and the cost of collecting the data required is now more manageable, even for small businesses. In addition, the advances in digital covert video recording mean that a video mystery shopping programme can now be in reach of even those who are on the tightest of budgets.

Is CSAT as cost effective as you think?

A well designed, short CSAT survey will mean the respondent is likely to be truthful in their answers, however if you start to add too much complexity the respondent will begin to resent taking part in the survey quickly diluting its effectiveness. Because mystery shoppers work within a defined brief they already know what they’re seeking to measure at the start of a visit, this allows you to gather data not available through CSAT. Add up the associated costs of customer satisfaction surveys to include print collateral, incentive offers and time spent analysing the data and the research can be far less cost effective.

Come back to mystery shopping?

Speaking from experience, we know that you can spend modestly on a mystery shopping programme that will help you to drive real results. A good mystery shopping programme can help change behaviour in your organisation

Whilst CSAT surveys have a valuable place in the customer researcher toolkit they should not be used in isolation. Mystery shopping provides a very real evidence based litmus test to measure brand standards and store performance. You can capture robust data across all locations within a given deadline using a specific scenario – this is impossible using CSAT.

With mystery shopping we can be sure of how long the process will take and when your results will be delivered. This quickly leaves clients with a robust review of the business which helps to make positive change and engage staff.

Additional benefits of mystery shopping

Apart from now being more affordable, mystery shopping comes with a range of additional benefits. These boost the efficiency of the customer training teams, delivering almost immediate results as operational managers and staff are given a real focus for improving overall performance.

What does this all mean for your business? For a start, the worries about the cost of mystery shopping unfounded. In fact, this type of research is truly cost-efficient and it can contribute to serious revenue maximisation when incorporated in the right customer strategy. Mystery shopping gives you flexibility, immediacy and an opportunity to accomplish a vast range of customer service goals.

Still not convinced? Read some of our client testimonials or give us a call! We’ll be more than happy to meet you and get to know your business better. You’ll get examples about campaigns we’ve done in the past, the cost and how these contributed to more effective business performance and customer engagement. Call us today for a free quote or to request a trial of our mystery shopping services on 01939 235555 or email us on [email protected]

Other links that you may find useful

Mystery Shopping Return on Investment
How to Design a Great Mystery Shopping Survey
Mystery Shopping vs customer Satisfaction Surveys

Mystery Shop+ Your mystery shopper giving you direct video feedback

VoxPop Video Feedback Survey Stats
VoxPop Video Feedback Surveys

Put your senior executives back on the shop floor by giving them direct access to video feedback from your customers.  If your board is separated from your customer feedback by charts and graphs, is the time right to give them direct voxpop style video feedback surveys  via our revolutionary Mystery Shop+ service?

Video is a persuasive tool for business performance measurement.

Few things are more captivating than a good story. With online video views far surpassing most text-based content, telling the story of your customer journey in video has the potential to engage your staff more than ever before. The good news is that Videos ranging from professional productions to spontaneous interactions captured on phones all have the potential to be powerful.

If you need help developing a powerful internal communications plan, video is the method help bring your content to life.

With viewers spending about 100% more time on pages containing video (Source: Marketing Sherpa)  you can be guaranteed that customer video feedback will be effective at delivering key messages.

Stimulating our Senses

Video draws on our senses, you get to hear and see the things that are otherwise left to interpretation. Together, audio and visual stimulus can often evoke a deeper connection, allowing viewers to engage with content on a much more personal and emotional level.

Humans Process Visual Data Better

“Visualization works from a human perspective because we respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.   Since we are visual by nature, we can use this skill to enhance data processing and organizational effectiveness.” Source: T-Science

Delivery of Key Messages

Collecting content rich videos is key to areas within a business which might not have direct interactions with frontline staff. Video completely removes the hierarchical structure within a business putting the ‘Voice of the Customer’ directly in front of the Chief Executive.

Voice af the Customer Survey Feedback

Voice of the Customer Survey Feedback

Short and Sweet

We know that because Senior Management teams are often short on time video length is also important. According to Wistia the longer a video is, the lower its retention. Videos under 1 minute enjoy 80% viewer retention up to the 30-second mark, while videos 2-3 minutes in length only experience 60% retention.

Our VoxPop videos are no more than a minute in length a give you the key highlights of the store experience.

Stop Reading this and Take a Look for yourself

If you looking to give your retail mystery shopping customer experience programme a boost watch our VoxPops Video Feedback Surveys to see how some of our customers have been engaging with our clients through video.  We can also conduct covert video mystery shopping which can be used to record the entire experience from the customer viewpoint.

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.


8 Mystery Shopping KPIs to Understand Business Performance

Key Performance Indicators

Mystery Shopping Key Performance Indicators

How do you find out if your store customer service is living up to expectations?

The answer can lie with key performance indicators – Mystery Shopping KPIs

There are a number mystery shopping KPIs you can use to measure customer service and the success of your customer service strategy.

Different measures will make more sense for different types of business. The benefit to mystery shopping KPIs is that they can be used in addition to or alongside existing customer satisfaction surveys, allowing you to ask the questions which can’t be answered using this method alone.

Unlike customer satisfaction surveys you’re guaranteed to get a response to the questions you need an answer to. Below is a list of different KPI measures your business might consider using when conducting mystery shopping.

1. Customer approach / acknowledgment

When you first walk into a store are you acknowledged? It’s amazing how this key fundamental first step into building a good rapport with the customer is so often left too late or not even done at all. Now we may not necessarily expect to be greeted on the door, however a timely nod to the fact that we exist counts for a lot. Even if your service proposition is more self service in nature, it is still good to build a rapport with customers. Remembering that ongoing improvements in staffing and store efficiency doesn’t need to mean the end for friendly service.

2. Rapport building with the customer

When you build a good rapport with customers you’re giving yourself the opportunity to both sell and upsell. By asking questions, showing empathy and successfully establishing the customer needs you will not only end up giving them the product they want, you will also give yourself the opportunity to present them with associated items to increase the transaction value.

Your best employees really know how to engage with customers. Make sure this attribute becomes common practice within your organisation, whether that’s selling the customer the product they need or handling objections effectively.

3. Product Knowledge

Customers buy from individuals who are clearly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the service or product they offer. By testing the gaps in your staff product knowledge you’re able to organise training programmes to fill those gaps. If you work within a regulated environment like financial services the focus on compliant selling of products becomes even more important. Research also shows us that compliant selling practice can be directly linked to our level of customer satisfaction.

4. Closing the sale

After someone from your service team interacts with a customer, how likely are they to make a purchase or take some other kind of action? If you acknowledge your customer, build rapport and introduce the right products, a good result will be very easy to achieve.

Measuring the Sales Closure

Measuring the sales process

Mystery shopping can allow you to correlate sales performance directly back to the level of customer service.

5. Average response times

Part of good customer service is resolving issues speedily. If you can respond to customers and also answer queries quickly they are more likely to be satisfied with the overall service level.

6. Net Promoter Score

And customers who are very happy with your customer service are likely to even go a step further and recommend your company to others. Your company’s Net Promoter Score, or rate of people who would recommend your business to others can be a good indication of customer service standards  and another way to measure customer service levels.

7. Competitor comparison

Even customers who love your brand might not choose you over your competitors for all purchases. So while measurement methods above are good metrics on which to measure potential success, it’s still important to see how your company stacks up against your peers. This is where competitor mystery shopping can allow you to not only benchmark your service performance, it will also allow you to check pricing and the product offer. Helping you to plug the gaps and to revise the offer.

8. Overall service measurement

By performing regular audits, you can gauge how your customers are being treated. The higher your score the greater the number of the key components of your overall customer journey processes are being met.

Other mystery shopping links you may find useful

There are a number of mystery shopping methods you can use for reporting KPIs . Whether you decide to use a standard written survey backed up with video mystery shopping, or you’re looking to measure the online customer  journey through to fulfilment.

Our service can help you to build the right kind of customer service KPI dashboard. Providing you with an independent of how your customers are being treated. See our report examples and sector coverage to see how we can support you.

Mystery shopping KPI measurement methods you could use today.

To find out how we can support your sector give us a call.


New Consumer Ombudsman Launched

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  20/08/2015

With an overhaul in consumer rights due this October, along with a proposed Consumer Rights Bill, it’s time you brushed up on your customer service standards. The new Consumer Ombudsman will allow customers to raise a complaint about businesses in any sector, bringing focus to areas which may have been previously overlooked.

The new consumer ombudsman will be positive for both business and consumers alike and will seek to clarify core consumer rights:

New Consumer Ombudsman Launched

The New Consumer Ombudsman Website

The core consumer rights as defined by the bill will be:

  • Right to get what you pay for;
  • Right that goods and digital content are fit for purpose and services are provided with reasonable care and skill;
  • Right to have faults in what you buy put right free of charge, or to be provided with a refund or replacement.

According to the latest figures released by the Ombudsman services, 66 million complaints were made about products and services last year – equating to a complaint every 1.2 seconds.

Find out what this will mean for you as a consumer by visiting Which or the new Consumer Ombudsman websites.

How will the new Consumer Ombudsman help to shape a better customer service experience?

Experts in dispute resolution the ombudsman will be available to sort out complaints about the companies which have joined the organisation. They will provide an independent, impartial and cost effective means of resolving disputes outside the courts.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will mean that the new ombudsman will be available across all consumer sectors. Ensuring your service standards are in order will avoid consumer complaints down the line.

Using mystery shopping as an effective measure of customer service experience:

The financial services and energy sector have both been proactive in the use of mystery shopping as a pre-emptive tool against poor service for many years; gaining insight into their call centres, face to face interactions and online service delivery.

Mystery Shopping is an effective means of driving up your core standards and will make sure your customer journey is clear and understood by all.

Looking to improve your own customer service standards?

Tern can support you with telephone calls to assess your contact centre, video mystery shopping for detailed evidence gathering and standard written mystery shop reports which are all delivered through our easy to use online platform. This will provide you with all of the evidence you need to form a detailed audit; see the  rmystery shop report examples page to see what this looks like in practice.

Read more on this story from around the web

This is Money
Retail Week

Mystery Shopping Return on Investment

The business case for Mystery Shopping Return on Investment in 5 Steps and how to make it happen.

Mystery Shopping return on investment

It may seem counterintuitive to invest in Mystery Shopping when your customer satisfaction scores are already very high, particularly when a business focus is to cut costs. However, there is growing recognition that mystery shopping services and detailed views of the customer experience can deliver a strong return on investment for companies.

1. Focus on your brand objectives to help increase profit

So you want more conversions, you want to increase your average transaction value and ultimately you want more loyal customers.  Aligning the mystery shopping programme to these key objectives will help you achieve all of these things. By conducting mystery shopping you are helping to understand that all the right elements for success are in place on consistent basis.

Doing the right thing for the customer is more than just good practice – it’s a long term business strategy that will stand the test of time.

So how do you do this?

 2. Increase the relevance of the mystery shop reporting for your business

By focusing and understanding the key business areas within a mystery shopping programme you can investigate how your overall score can be improved. This works at both the company level and at a more granular regional or store level as you are able to see the overall strengths and weakness within a business.

After all you should be able to focus easily on how an individual store could achieve 100% by making small but measureable improvements in certain situations.  When you actually show staff how easy it is to do this they go on to become a positive promoter for both the business and its objectives. Improvements in mystery shop scores benefit both employer and employee and this is when mystery shopping can truly become a tool for success.

3. Take your employees with you on the journey

Ensuring that all stakeholders have input at key stages results in better engagement and fewer challenges. Encourage staff to feedback on reports and become part of the improvement process. By ensuring that the mystery shopping evidence gathered is robustly quality checked and is factual rather than subjective also alleviates and concerns store staff may have about the programme.

Verifying the reports with either picture, video or audio evidence supports each individual report and helps the business build upon its training and development programmes for staff.  Mystery Shopping should ultimately be seen as an investment opportunity to develop your staff.

With video mystery shopping, it is true to say that the majority of employees become fascinated with their own performance and how they can make personal improvements. No other method gives you quite the insight on an individual level or the ability to engage with your employees.

4. How do I correlate the improvements in mystery shop scores to ROI?

Any improvement in conversion rates, transaction value, and customer loyalty is a by-product of excellence customer service and this will be unique for each business. By benchmarking your mystery shop scores over time and matching them against your sales data for individual locations will help to give you a measure for success. This in turn will give you the justification you need to run the programme and continue its development.

Knowing what good looks like is the benchmark for everybody to aspire to and showing how excellence in customer service can impact the bottom line is the ultimate measure.

 5. Show your employees how they can benefit

Supporting employees with understanding the objectives of the business is key for both parties. If you are not helping employees to aim and reach for a 100% mystery shop score by the same token you are also not supporting the business to deliver its objectives. Remember that in a situation where the ultimate goal is to outperform you competitors the key component that will make a difference is your employees. By looking after your staff and mentoring them to understand your business goals and values you will benefit from a productive and coordinated workforce.

Motivated employees can thrive on delivering improved customer service which ultimately gives a sound return on your investment. This benefits both the business and employee.  Your internal awards and bonus structure can be aligned to both sales and mystery shop scores.

6. Finally remove the distractions from Operational Managers

A high frequency mystery shopping project can gather a large amount of data very quickly. By choosing a provider and a platform for report delivery which allows intelligent and easy segmentation you are able to focus on areas which require immediate attention. Whether  that is to give praise, or to deliver a manager action plan which instigates positive change.

Training and development of staff is key to successful company performance and giving yourself an independent reference from a third party is an invaluable starting point.

Mystery Shopping places the customer service at the heart of the business. Knowing that each customer is a potential mystery customer ensures that means staff are continually challenged on behalf of every customer that walks through your door.

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  09/02/2014

Mystery Shopping with Tern Consultancy

Tern Consultancy has a reputation for mystery shopping that is industry specific, practical and based on common sense. We have the unique distinction of combining the skill sets of operations managers, trainers and insights delivery teams to the required objectives for a business.

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.