How can mystery shopping enhance performance?

The recent Commonwealth Games reminds us once again that success comes as a result of legallyenhancing performance.

The recent Commonwealth Games reminds us once again that success comes as a result of legallyenhancing performance. It has been widely reported that the extraordinary resurgence of competitive cycling in Britain has been the result of what former performance director, Sir Dave Brailsford, has described as marginal gains, which he explains as:

“The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

In business, we are continuously looking to improve sales and profitability and so teams will be charged with looking at the product, production, use of resources, systems and marketing to enhance performance. Whatever your business, in this process, the customer experience can easily be neglected in the search for better results.

Shopper Anonymous works with businesses in many sectors from family run farm shops to large solicitor practices and from opticians to chauffeur companies.  Mystery shopping helps businesses objectively measure performance in three areas – presentation, service and sales – through telephone calls, website enquiries and full walk-in experiences.

How do you look?

Mystery shopping gives an objective assessment of how you look to those encountering your business. So easily we miss our shortcomings through our familiarity with our organization – when did you last think about how it felt for a customer to telephone you, use your website or visit your premises?

It is all too easy to be complacent or to have a blind-spot towards things which are not as they should be. Our reports help identify those weaknesses as well as celebrate all that is good in presentation. We know that good presentation helps customers feel comfortable, see what you are offering and enjoy visiting your website or premises.  As a result they will purchase what they planned to buy, come back for more and tell their friends!

How is your service?

How we interact with our customers makes a massive difference. Words, tone, body language, a warm welcome, excellent product knowledge all contribute to a great customer experience. All of us can recall times when we received memorable service that helped us as customers to feel valued and appreciated. Mystery shopping gives businesses the opportunity to praise staff for their great service or to develop staff to help the whole team excel.

Are we selling?

The third area which our mystery shopping highlights is the ways in which businesses take hold of the opportunities to sell to their customers by recognising and responding to their needs. This will include the extent to which customer details are taken and followed up and the ways in which customers are helped to purchase, with specific attention given to the possibilities of inviting complimentary purchases to further meet customer needs.

Mystery shopping celebrates the good, highlights weakness and missed opportunity and offers objective evidence for enhancing performance.  It can be supported by training and mentoring to further improve service and sales through marginal gains in each area.

Andrew Wooding Jones is the Regional Director for Shopper Anonymous Sussex.  He has a background in hospitality, retail and charity management and enjoys helping organisations transform from ‘good to great‘.

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