When we talk about customer experience, it can be easy to get bogged down in semantics. If we started with the abstract idea of customer experience, then parsed out each piece of its meanings separately, we’d quickly realize that customer experience can’t be improved with a single prescription. Each of its many components requires separate criteria from which we can evaluate quality based on all aspects of an in-store experience.
A current critique of the mystery shopping industry is a lack of effective data having to do with aspects of a store environment that can actually be improved at a local level. In other words, when we think of what makes survey results “effective,” we’re talking about what is actionable. Before considering the specifics of what will make data from shoppers’ surveys actionable, first we must define the goal that the program is aiming to achieve.
Think departmentally to narrow your scope
With a number of different departments all contributing to the overall customer experience, it’s useful to define your goal with these nuances in mind. Survey questions that affect the responsibilities of multiple departments undermine the value of mystery shopping in the first place. If a problematic pattern emerges from vague questions, you’re no closer to solving your problem. In fact, convoluted survey results can put you at risk for worsening a problem if your remedy is aimed at the wrong source.
For instance, a survey question about employee-to-customer communication which reads something like Did employees actively attempt to assess any questions you had upon entering the store? fails to narrow the scope to a single source of responsibility. If the shopper indicates that no one approached them upon entering the store, it could be that the particular company’s training department opted for a passive approach to customer interaction, and therefore instructed each employee not to actively seek out customers’ needs as they entered the store.
On the other hand, perhaps it is the company’s policy to engage customers to assess their needs and point them towards particular areas of a store. In this case, if a lack of engagement is noted, the employees and/or supervising manager may be at fault for failing to comply with a training code.
The power of precise survey construction
More precise questioning will guide the shopper’s actions and veer away from incomplete assessments. This is one of many aspects of mystery shopping StellaService prides itself on within an industry where untrained, spontaneous shopping assessment is taking hold with mixed results. The combination of an experienced mystery shopping management company with professional contractors trained in both what to look for and how to record findings effectively is exactly what sets our philosophy apart from others.
A commitment to consistency and accuracy have given our brand of mystery shopping a lasting reputation for effective customer experience programs which result in a better commercial climate for customers and retailers alike.