While the perspective of the customer may not always be the most accurate, it certainly is the most important if you want to make your franchise a successful one. If customers experience poor service at one branch of a chain, it affects the chain as a whole, not just that particular outlet of it.
Customer Feedback: Limitations
Most franchisers consider a voluntary customer feedback program to be enough for judging the attitudes of customers. In reality, they only constitute a tiny section of the whole picture because of its voluntary nature, and the opinions, positive or negative, are rather extreme in nature.
Mystery Shopping: A Viable Choice?
The advantage of using a “mystery shopping” campaign is that is provides a real picture of a service-providing environment from an actual customer’s perspective. The mystery shoppers receive special training which hones their observation skills to the maximum, allowing them to fish out the information (in vivid detail) that you really need in order to determine the standards that you have set for your services. They behave in the exact same way as typical customers do, and can emulate any sort of customer behaviour necessary in order to evaluate individual details of your franchise.
Some companies are stricter about hiring capable mystery shoppers than others, and it can only be said that in order to obtain the best of them, you must be prepared to pay sufficiently. Good service does not come cheap.
Mystery shopping is the most effective when it is executed on a regular basis for a certain time. Reports are usually provided to the companies on a monthly basis, but other scheduling patterns are not unheard of. Employees who perform well are often rewarded based on the results of mystery shopping evaluation. In fact, the anticipation which employees develop regarding mystery shopping helps them to take various factors into account and prepare themselves for evaluation by heightening their efficiency.
Mystery shopping is useful for both large and small stores, as it helps them to not only bolster the strength of their brand, but also serves as a powerful selling point to potential franchisees by showing that they believe in maintaining quality through vigilant evaluation. Although it is still criticized by certain skeptics, mystery shopping is still highly valued because rather than providing statistical data, it is more oriented to portraying a realistic view of the treatment of customers, helping the company to improve upon their existing service-providing techniques. When a company faces severe competition from its rivals, it needs to gain a major competitive advantage over them in order to overcome the threat. How well a business understands and maintains its relationship with its customers can very well be the one single factor that may decide its success or failure. A well-executed mystery shopping campaign is the best way to understand things from the perspective of the customer and determine the strengths and shortcomings of the service being provided, giving the business a chance to iron out the kinks in its workings and prove its worth to the fullest?
Article courtesy of MysteryShoppingLive.com