When it comes to mystery shopping and customer satisfaction surveys, many companies are left wondering which option is right for them. Each has it’s own unique advantages that can be helpful in different ways. Because these look at different aspects of the experience, your business can use both to identify potential issues and improve store operations and the customer experience.
When considering mystery shopping vs. customer satisfaction surveys, it is important to understand how each one can contribute to your goals and help to refine your practices.
What’s Mystery Shopping?
If you could be in all of your locations monitoring what is going on at all times and coaching each location’s staff, you would know that things are being done right. Unfortunately, this is not realistic for big brands and even minor mistakes can negatively impact profits. So what’s the solution? Mystery shopping programs that allow eyes and ears to be everywhere you can’t.
Working with a mystery shopping company allows you to see what’s really happening in your store (as well as within each department, at the fitting rooms, at the register, etc.) from an objective point of view. It is a valuable tool to ensure that all strategies are being properly executed at the store level, contributing to a consistent, on-brand customer experience.
A mystery shopping program will give you insight on the entire experience from the perspective of a typical customer, providing you with useful information about what is actually going on in your stores compared to what you think is or should be happening.
Uses & Benefits
When used effectively, a mystery shopping program can reveal the level of consistency in experience across all stores, increase conversion and UPT, as well as confirm behaviors or perceptions revealed through customer satisfaction surveys.
Along with mystery shopping comes plenty of benefits, including:
- Improved operational performance, maximized sales and a well executed customer experience.
- Specifically identified areas where further training or a change in procedures can improve your bottom line.
- Improved brand compliance and performance, differentiating your brand from competitors.
What Are Customer Satisfaction Surveys?
Every company is searching for the best way to enhance their in-store experience, but not everyone is utilizing the most powerful tool – your customers! Customers know what they do and, more importantly, don’t like about the experience they just had in your store, so why not ask them?
Customers are your most important asset and keeping them happy is a top priority. Customer satisfaction surveys help you to find out exactly what your shoppers expect and allow you to deliver just that. A happy customer can turn into a brand promoter, spreading the word to others about their great experience with your brand.
Customer satisfaction surveys can be done online or over the phone, but the most important step is taking the data and turning it into actionable results. Taking customer feedback and applying it to your brand objectives will improve customer experience and, ultimately, your brand profitability.
Uses & Benefits
Customer satisfaction surveys are great for discovering how your customers feel about your brand overall, as well as gauging their satisfaction in specific areas of their experience.
Gaining customer feedback through customer satisfaction surveys has many benefits, including:
- Giving your customers a voice, which builds trust in your brand.
- An opportunity for benchmarking and tracking progress through strategically timed surveys.
- Identifying those aspects of the experience that drive customer satisfaction.
What’s the Difference?
Typically, mystery shopping provides you with information about your stores’ strengths and opportunities, including overall appearance and organization, associates’ level of knowledge and customer service, product placement and signage.
The aim of mystery shopping is to check-up on how well individual stores are meeting defined company standards in areas that are measurable.
On the other hand, the best customer satisfaction surveys uncover sources of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction in the following areas:
- Expectations vs. perception
- Likelihood to recommend the store to friends
- Repeat purchase intentions
- Subjective opinion on the full customer experience
Why You Need Both
You will benefit from using both, as they can be tailored to one another for more targeted results. The results of customer satisfaction surveys can be used to revise mystery shopping standards, where needed. If customer feedback reveals the “what,” mystery shopping shows you the “why.” Satisfaction surveys can tell you that a customer was dissatisfied with the wait time, but not why. That is where mystery shopping can be helpful in conjunction with surveys, investigating issues and giving them some context.
Mystery shopping is the best option if your brand wants to be sure that every location is meeting company-wide standards while identifying strengths and weaknesses in defined areas. If you want to learn the sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction about your in-store experience straight from your customers, look directly to your customer satisfaction results.
Combining the results and insights from both programs will not only give you a more complete picture of the experience, but also provide a descriptive action plan to improve it.