Operating in multiple locations and maintaining an even customer experience is obviously a daunting task. After all, services will be provided by hired hands and their ways of meeting professional responsibilities will be different. How can a brand be more consistent in delivering high-level yet even customer experience across all the locations? Well, it is a million-dollar question but the answer does not cost a fortune to a brand. Let us find out!
Secret Shopping: The answer
Don’t be alarmed as nobody is planning a surprise! Secret shopping is a remarkable business marketing tool that top-class brands use to evaluate customer experience across all service domains. Be it a chain of restaurants or a retail brand, using this tool generates streamlined data for making valuable reports on customer experience.
What is secret shopping?
It is not a well-defined process where a digital tool is used. This tool comprises a questionnaire format covering the parameters decided by a brand’s management team. A team of secret shoppers is hired to cover multiple or all the service locations of the brand. It is also called mystery shopping.
The secret shoppers wield the questionnaire and seek the targeted services from the brand in different locations. Based on their personal experience, they will the questionnaire forms. As it is done digitally, data is generated and stored on the servers. A data-driven report is generated for the mystery audit.
Consider an example. A questionnaire is set for a retail brand covering the following aspects of customer experience.
· Price points
· Customer assistance
· Display units
· Competitiveness of products
· Satisfaction level related to offers and discounts
· Checkout time
· Efficiency of retail executives, etc
Questions based on these factors will be compiled to aid mystery or secret shoppers to streamline their experiences. They will visit the retail outlets in different locations and rank their experiences accordingly.
Based on their feedback and answers, reports will be generated automatically by the digital tool used. This report will then be used to make customer service and experience better in all the locations of the retail brand.
The competitive advantage of secret shopping
Why does a brand use this tool to measure customer experience? What does it reflect? Let’s explain it through the eyes of a mystery shopper.
· The services offered by a brand will be evaluated by someone who is employed temporarily to evaluate the customer experience. Hence, the answers related to the experience will be unbiased.
· The same tool can also be used for competitive analysis to understand the current position of a brand in a market.
· Data-driven reports generated can also aid in designing better services to deliver more satisfaction and elevate the experience level. It means this process leads to the development of actionable insights a company needs to improve its service segment.
· Developing new USPs and redesigning the service points becomes a lot easier as this method allows brands to measure intangible factors.
In a nutshell, secret shopping is the key to gaining a competitive advantage.