Best Practices in Mystery Shop Program Launch: Call to Action

In a previous post we introduced the importance of proper program launch.

Research without a clear call-to-action may be interesting but not very useful.  Best-in-class mystery shop programs build call-to-action elements into their design to ensure the results provide a clear direction.

Reading and interpreting research reports is a specialized skill.  To maximize the value of the mystery shopping, employees should be given instruction into the basic skills of interpreting a research report.  Some interpretation skills are easy, such as reading a data table which compares results across units of hierarchy (such as one store compared to another), or over specific time periods (such as one quarter to another).  Others may be a little more complicated. such as a cross-tabulation of purchase intent which is a comparison of shops where the shopper reported positive purchase intent and those where the shopper reported negative purchase intent as a result of the shop.  However reading them is the same as the comparisons of stores or quarters.  All that is needed is just an understanding of how shops are grouped for the comparisons.

Beyond instructing the frontline how to read reports, they should also be given a primer on how to take action on the results.

The most common way managers of frontline employees take action on the results is coaching.  Best-in-class mystery shop programs identify employees in need of coaching as a result of the shop, and managers should be instructed on how to use the results to coach employees.

For each such coaching opportunity, frontline managers should be given guidance on how to coach improvement, as well as online tools to log coaching, making both the employee and the manager accountable for coaching.

Additionally, managers should understand the analytical framework for maximizing the value of the program.  Best-in-class mystery shop programs build in call-to-action components designed to identify key sales and service behaviors which correlate to a desired customer experience outcome.  We call this Key Driver Analysis.

Link specific behaviors to desired outcome to identify key drivers.

Key Driver Analysis identifies the relationship between specific sales and service behaviors and a desired outcome identifying which behaviors are key drivers of this desired outcome.  For most brands, the desired outcomes are purchase intent or return or loyalty.  Building these call-to-action elements into the program helps brands identify and motivate the sales and service behaviors with the most potential for return on investment in terms of driving loyalty or purchase intent.

In a subsequent post we will discuss the importance of pre-launch communication.


About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at:

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