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