Result from a recent poll of 5,000 UK shoppers conducted by Market Force and reported in Housewareslive.net, 1st February 2013, showed as many as 88 per cent of people leave shops because of poor customer service – and it is this poor service that could be driving people to shop online. With the recent decline of high streets in the UK, where even large retailers such as Woolworths and HMV have suffered major blows, engaging actively with customers is clearly an area that businesses should address – and an effective way of doing this is to use mystery shopping.
Mystery shopping involves people posing as customers going into shops and buying items just as an actual shopper would, but they score the experience afterwards and feed their findings back to their clients (the business). For this performance measurement technique to be effective, the mystery shopper must know what they are actually testing (eg, product knowledge or attitude of staff), and the results must be used to make improvements, which will give the business a return on investment – so the onus is on the business to set out what they want the entire process to achieve. One South London pub found from mystery shopping results that customer service was an issue, so the manager ensured that staff were trained to offer “service with a smile” and ensure that this approach was consistent.
Performance measurement/ROI through: mystery shopping (accompanied by key task assessment, customer feedback, distance learning and sales measurement) is an area in which Full Circle Motivation specialises. In their customer feedback processes, they measure what the business wants to focus on, and offer advice, pinpointing issues around training and reward, to ensure that efforts are focused correctly – and keep businesses thriving.
It all sounds so simple but research, of whatever type, will often show what a business should not do, but it takes a skilled moderator to indicate what a business should do. As part of their business improvement programmes, Full Circle uses any or all of the above quality performance measures but more importantly assists businesses in interpreting results and developing appropriate strategies to meet defined objectives.