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It’s Personal: Drivers of Member Purchase Intent as a Result of the Branch Experience

What do potential members want as a result of a visit to your branch?  Or, perhaps more importantly, what drives potential members to want to open an account as a result of a visit to your branch?

To answer these questions, Kinesis conducted research into the efficacy of the branch sales process and identified several service and sales attributes that drive member purchase intent.  In our observational research of 100 credit union new account presentations, mystery shoppers were asked to describe what impressed them positively as a result of the visit to the credit union.   Excluding the branch atmosphere, the five most common themes contained in these open-ended comments were:

  • Interest in Helping/ Personalized Service/ Attention to Needs,
  • Professional/ Courteous/ Not Pushy,
  • Friendly Employees, and
  • Product Knowledge of/ Confidence in the Representative

To understand the relative importance of these behaviors with respect to purchase intent, shoppers were asked to rate their purchase intent as a result of the presentation.  Kinesis used this rating to group these shops into two groups (those with positive and negative purchase intent) and compared the results of these two groups to each other.  Of these positive impressions, three have strong relationships to purchase intent. They are present with greater frequency in shops with positive purchase intent compared to those with negative purchase intent.

 

Reason for Positive Purchase Intent

Relative Frequency Positive to Negative Purchase Intent
Product Knowledge of/ Confidence in the Representative 2.7
Interest in Helping/ Personalized Service/ Attention to Needs 2.5
Friendly Employee 2.3

The representative’s product knowledge was cited 2.7 times more frequently in shops with positive purchase intent compared to shops with negative purchase intent.  Similarly, attention to needs and personalized service was present 2.5 times more frequently in shops with positive purchase intent compared to those with negative purchase intent.  Finally, shoppers were 2.3 times more likely to cite the friendliness of branch personnel in shops with positive purchase intent relative to negative.

Member experiences which focus on personal attention, interest in helping, personalized service, professional, courteous and friendly encounters drive purchase intent as a result of a visit to a credit union.

Click here for more information on Kinesis' Credit Union Member Experience Research

What is a Good Mystery Shop Score?

This is perhaps the most common question I’m asked by clients old and new alike.  There seems to be a common misconception among both clients and providers, that any one number, say 90% is a “good” mystery shop score.  Beware of anyone who glibly throws out a specific number without any consideration of the context.  They are either ignorant, glib or both.  Like most things in life, the answer to this question is much more complex.

Most mystery shopping programs score shops according to some scoring methodology to distill the mystery shop results down into a single number.  Scoring methodologies vary, but the most common methodology is to assign points earned for each behavior measured and divide the total points earned by the total points possible, yielding a percent of points earned relative to points possible.

It amazes me how many mystery shop providers I’ve heard pull a number out of the air, again say 90%, and quote that as the benchmark with no thought given to the context of the question.  The fact of the matter is much more complex.   Context is key.  What constitutes a good score varies dramatically from client-to-client, program-to-program and is based on the specifics of the evaluation.  One program may be an easy evaluation, measuring easy behaviors, where a score must be near perfect to be considered “good” – others may be difficult evaluations measuring more difficult behaviors, in this case a good score will be well below perfect.  The best practice in determining what constitutes a good mystery shop score is to consider the distribution of your shop scores as a whole, determine the percentile rank of each shop (the proportion of shops that fall below a given score), and set an appropriate cut off point.   For example, if management decides the 60th percentile is an appropriate standard (6 out of 10 shops are below it), and a shop score of 86% is in the 60th percentile, then a shop score of 86% is a “good” shop score.

Bell Curve

Again, context is key.  What constitutes a good score varies dramatically from client-to-client, program-to-program and is based on the specifics of the evaluation.  Discount the advice of anyone in the industry who glibly throws out a number stating it’s a good score, without considering the context.

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Best Practices in Mystery Shop Scoring

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Most mystery shopping programs score shops according to some scoring methodology to distill the mystery shop results down into a single number.  Scoring methodologies vary, but the most common methodology is to assign points earned for each behavior measured and divide the total points earned by the total points possible, yielding a percentage of points earned relative to points possible.

Drive Desired Behaviors

Some behaviors are more important than others.  As a result, best in class mystery shop programs weight behaviors by assigning more points possible to those deemed more important.  Best practices in mystery shop weighting begin by assigning weights according to management standards (behaviors deemed more important, such as certain sales or customer education behaviors), or according to their importance to their relationship to a desired outcome such as purchase intent or loyalty.  Service behaviors with stronger relationships to the desired outcome receive stronger weight.

One tool to identify behavioral relationships to desired outcomes is Key Driver Analysis.  See the attached post for a discussion of Key Driver Analysis.

Don’t Average Averages

It is a best practice in mystery shopping to calculate the score for each business unit independently (employee, store, region, division, corporate), rather than averaging business unit scores together (such as calculating a region’s score by averaging the individual stores or even shop scores for the region).  Averaging averages will only yield a mathematically correct score if all shops have exactly the same points possible, and if all business units have exactly the same number of shops.  However, if the shop has any skip logic, where some questions are only answered if specific conditions exist, different shops will have different points possible, and it is a mistake to average them together.  Averaging them together gives shops with skipped questions disproportionate weight.  Rather, points earned should be divided by points possible for each business unit independently.   Just remember – don’t average averages!

Work Toward a Distribution of Shops

When all is said and done, the product of a best in class mystery shop scoring methodology will produce a distribution of shop scores, particularly on the low end of the distribution.

Distribution

Mystery shop programs with tight distributions around the average shop score offer little opportunity to identify areas for improvement.  All the shops end up being very similar to each other, making it difficult to identify problem areas and improve employee behaviors.  Distributions with scores skewed to the low end, make it much easier to identify poor shops and offer opportunities for improvement via employee coaching.  If questionnaire design and scoring create scores with tight distributions, consider a redesign.

Most mystery shopping programs score shops according to some scoring methodology.  In designing a mystery shop score methodology best in class programs focus on driving desired behaviors, do not average averages and work toward a distribution of shops.

Good MS Score

 

 

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Mystery Shop Key Driver Analysis

Best in class mystery shop programs provide managers a means of applying coaching, training, incentives, and other motivational tools directly on the sales and service behaviors that matter most in terms of driving the desired customer experience outcome.  One tool to identify which sales and service behaviors are most important is Key Driver Analysis.

Key Driver Analysis determines the relationship between specific behaviors and a desired outcome.  For most brands and industries, the desired outcomes are purchase intent or return intent (customer loyalty).  This analytical tool helps mangers identify and reinforce sales and service behaviors which drive sales or loyalty – behaviors that matter.

As with all research, it is a best practice to anticipate the analysis when designing a mystery shop program.  In anticipating the analytical needs of Key Driver Analysis identify what specific desired outcome you want from the customer as a result of the experience.

  • Do you want the customer to purchase something?
  • Do you want them return for another purchase?

The answer to these questions will anticipate the analysis and build in mechanisms for Key Driver Analysis to identify which behaviors are more important in driving this desired outcome – which behaviors matter most.

Next, ask shoppers if they had been an actual customer, how the experience influenced their return intent.  Group shops by positive and negative return intent to identify how mystery shops with positive return intent differ from those with negative.  This yields a ranking of the importance of each behavior by the strength of its relationship to return intent.

Additionally, pair the return intent rating with a follow-up question asking, why the shopper rated their return intent as they did.  The responses to this question should be grouped and classified into similar themes, and grouped by the return intent rating described above.  The result of this analysis produces a qualitative determination of what sales and service practices drive return intent.

Finally, Key Driver Analysis produces a means to identify which behaviors have the highest potential for return on investment in terms of driving return intent.  This is achieved by comparing the importance of each behavior (as defined above) and its performance (the frequency in which it is observed).  Mapping this comparison in a quadrant chart, provides a means for identifying behaviors with relatively high importance and low performance – behaviors which will yield the highest potential for return on investment in terms of driving return intent.

Gap_Analysis

 

Behaviors with the highest potential for return on investment can then be inserted into a feedback loop into the mystery shop scoring methodology by informing decisions with respect to weighting specific mystery shop questions, assigning more weight to behaviors with the highest potential for return on investment.

Employing Key Driver Analysis gives managers a means of focusing training, coaching, incentives, and other motivational tools directly on the sales and service behaviors that will produce the largest return on investment. See the attached post for further discussion of mystery shop scoring.

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Guest Return Intent Drivers in the Restaurant Experience

Young couple in restaurant

The business attribute with the highest correlation to profitability is loyalty.  Loyalty lowers sales and acquisition costs per guest by amortizing these costs across a longer lifetime – leading to some extraordinary financial results.  However, the question remains, what service attributes drive guest loyalty?

To answer this question from a behavioral standpoint Kinesis conducted 400 restaurant mystery shops with the purpose of determining which service attributes/behaviors drive guest return intent.  Forty-six service attributes were observed across five dimensions of the guest experience: environment, food & beverage quality, greeting, personal attention and timing of food and beverage delivery.

The attributes measured grouped into these five dimensions as follows:

Environment

  • Table maintained appropriately throughout the meal
  • Dining room clean, organized and well maintained
  • Exterior building, parking lot, walkways and planters clean
  • Silverware, china, glassware and your table clean
  • Men’s restroom clean and stocked with supplies
  • Lighting fixtures clean and working
  • Lobby area clean and organized
  • Menus clean and in good condition
  • Women’s restroom clean and stocked with supplies
  • Bar clean, organized and well maintained
  • Room temperature level comfortable

Food & Beverage Quality

  • Entrees presented attractively, and tasted good
  • Appetizer presented attractively, and tasted good
  • Drinks attractively presented, and tasted good
  • Dessert presented attractively, and tasted good

Greeting

  • Greeting made feel welcome
  • Prompt greeting
  • Staff members greet with a friendly smile as being seated
  • Thanked and encouraged to visit again
  • Ask specific questions about your experience upon leaving

Service: Personal Attention

  • Server attentive and prompt throughout the meal
  • Server discuss the beverage menu, suggest an item or ask about your preferences
  • Server discuss the appetizer menu, suggest an item or ask about your preferences
  • Server promote daily specials
  • Host carry on a conversation as being seated
  • Server discuss the beverage menu or ask about preferences
  • Receive appetizer in a timely manner
  • Manager engage guests in conversation
  • Server smiling and enjoying time with all the guests
  • Acknowledged by a server in a timely manner
  • Attentive to needs while in the bar area
  • Server discuss the dessert menu, suggest an item or ask about preferences
  • Server knowledgeable and confident when responding to questions
  • Manager present
  • Server try and entice you to order their favorite appetizer(s)
  • Resolve any service, food or beverage issues

Service: Timing

  • Food and beverage service timed well
  • Receive entrees in a timely manner
  • Receive starter soup/ salad in a timely manner
  • Receive appetizer in a timely manner
  • Manager engage guests in conversation
  • Receive drink orders in timely manner
  • Receive dessert in a timely manner
  • Cashed out in a timely manner
  • Acknowledge and get order in a timely manner
  • Drinks arrive in a timely manner

 

In order to determine the relationship of these attributes to return intent, Kinesis asked mystery shoppers if, based on the guest experience, they intended to return to the restaurant.  This independent variable was then used as a basis for cross-tabulation to determine the frequency with which the behaviors were observed in shops with positive return intent and negative return intent.

The results of this cross tabulation is as follows:

Environment Shops with …
Positive Return Intent Negative Return Intent
Table maintained appropriately throughout the meal 96% 73%
Dining room clean, organized and well maintained 100% 90%
Exterior building, parking lot, walkways and planters clean 100% 94%
Silverware, china, glassware and your table clean 98% 94%
Men’s restroom clean and stocked with supplies 96% 91%
Lighting fixtures clean and working 98% 95%
Lobby area clean and organized 100% 98%
Menus clean and in good condition 99% 97%
Women’s restroom clean and stocked with supplies 93% 92%
Bar clean, organized and well maintained 99% 98%
Room temperature level comfortable 95% 94%

 

Food & Beverage Quality Shops with …
Positive Return Intent Negative Return Intent
Entrees presented attractively, and tasted good 98% 58%
Appetizer presented attractively, and tasted good 97% 88%
Drinks attractively presented, and tasted good 97% 88%
Dessert presented attractively, and tasted good 97% 97%

 

Greeting Positive Return Intent Negative Return Intent
Thanked and encouraged to visit again 95% 63%
Ask specific questions about your experience upon leaving 35% 8%
Greeting made feel welcome 93% 70%
Prompt greeting 93% 76%
Staff members greet with a friendly smile as being seated 60% 44%

 

Service: Personal Attention Positive Return Intent Negative Return Intent
Server attentive and prompt throughout the meal 93% 45%
Server discuss the beverage menu, suggest an item or ask about your preferences 80% 43%
Server discuss the appetizer menu, suggest an item or ask about your preferences 68% 33%
Server promote daily specials 64% 33%
Host carry on a conversation as being seated 70% 41%
Server discuss the beverage menu or ask about preferences 63% 35%
Manager engage guests in conversation 73% 47%
Server smiling and enjoying time with all the guests 97% 73%
Acknowledged by a server in a timely manner 96% 73%
Attentive to needs while in the bar area 92% 72%
Server discuss the dessert menu, suggest an item or ask about preferences 81% 65%
Acknowledge and get order in a timely manner 94% 80%
Server knowledgeable and confident when responding to questions 98% 86%
Manager present 43% 31%
Server try and entice you to order their favorite appetizer(s) 64% 57%
Resolve any service, food or beverage issues 53% 67%

 

Service: Timing Positive Return Intent Negative Return Intent
Food and beverage service timed well 92% 51%
Receive entrees in a timely manner 92% 59%
Server promote daily specials 64% 33%
Receive starter soup/ salad in a timely manner 91% 60%
Receive appetizer in a timely manner 93% 65%
Receive drink orders in timely manner 96% 73%
Receive dessert in a timely manner 95% 77%
Cashed out in a timely manner 97% 81%
Acknowledge and get order in a timely manner 94% 80%
Drinks arrive in a timely manner 98% 85%

 

Putting all this together, the ten attributes with the largest difference between shops with positive and negative return intent are:

Top 10 Attributes
Dimension Attributes Difference
Service: Personal Attention Server attentive and prompt throughout the meal 48%
Service: Timing Food and beverage service timed well 41%
Food Entrees presented attractively, and tasted good 40%
Service: Personal Attention Server discuss the beverage menu, suggest an item or ask about your preferences 37%
Service: Personal Attention Server discuss the appetizer menu, suggest an item or ask about your preferences 35%
Service: Timing Receive entrees in a timely manner 33%
Service: Personal Attention Server promote daily specials 31%
Greeting Thanked and encouraged to visit again 31%
Service: Timing Receive starter soup/ salad in a timely manner 30%
Service: Personal Attention Host carry on a conversation as being seated 29%

 

Of the ten attributed with the strongest relationship to return intent, five belong to the personal attention dimension, three belong to the timing dimension, the food & beverage quality and greeting dimensions round out the top ten with one attribute each.

Directing our attention from specific attributes to broader dimensions, the following chart shows the average difference in shops with positive return intent to shops with negative return intent:

Return Intent Gaps

Outside of the timing of food and beverage delivery, the dimensions of the customer experience with the strongest correlation to return intent are the greeting and personal attention, followed by food and beverage quality and the physical environment.

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Contact Center Behavioral Purchase Intent Drivers: Empathy & Competence

As bank contact centers transition from service hubs to sales centers. It is instructive to investigate which service attributes and behaviors will yield the most ROI in terms of driving sales through the contact center channel.

Previously we explored which service attributes will yield the most ROI in terms of driving purchase intent.

Beyond the attributes measured in the previous post, Kinesis also performed mystery shop observations of specific behaviors across six institutions with national scope to determine their relationship to purchase intent.

Greeting Behaviors

While the importance of a good first impression is true, across the four greeting behaviors measured, there does not appear to any significant differences between shops with positive purchase intent and shops with negative purchase intent.

Greeting Increased Purch Intent Decreased Purch Intent
Greet by identifying the name of the institution 99% 97%
Greet by identifying themselves 100% 97%
Ask name 78% 71%
Ask how they could assist 100% 98%

This is mostly due to the high rate of performance across these greeting behaviors.  Greetings are strong across all shops regardless of purchase intent.

Service Behaviors

With respect to broader service behaviors, the behaviors with the largest gaps between shops with positive purchase intent and those with negative purchase intent are: suggesting additional products and asking for the business (each with about 2 times as many shoppers who experience positive purchase intent observing these behaviors compared to shoppers who experience negative purchase intent).   Use name, use of understandable descriptions and clarity of speech round out the next three.

Ratio Increased PI to Decreased PI: Service Experience

Hold & Transfer Behaviors

When the shopper was placed on hold, five behaviors were measured.  Of these, giving an estimate of how long the customer will be on hold, and returning if the hold time exceed the original estimate to advice of the status of the call were the behaviors with the strongest relationship to purchase intent.  Again, both with about 2 times as many shoppers who experienced positive purchase intent observing these behaviors compared to shoppers who experienced negative purchase intent.

Ratio Increased PI to Decreased PI: Hold Experience

Additionally, five transfer behaviors were measured.  Of these, the behavior with the strongest relationship to purchase intent by far is returning to explain any delay after 60 seconds.  With five times as many shoppers who reported positive purchase intent observing this behavior relative to those who reported negative purchase intent.

Ratio Increased PI to Decreased PI: Transfer Experience

Call Conclusion

Finally, at the conclusion of the call, asking how else the agent could be of assistance and thanking the shopper for choosing the institution were the two behaviors with the strongest relationship to purchase intent.

Ratio Increased PI to Decreased PI: Conclusion of Call

Of the behaviors measured, a couple of common themes tend to be present in the behaviors with strong relationships to purchase intent.  The behaviors with strong relationships to purchase intent tend to deal with the themes of personalized service and valuing the customer.

These behaviors with strong relationships to purchase intent group into these two themes as follows:

Personalized Service/Empathy

  • If transfer hold time exceeds 60 seconds, explain delay and ask if customer wants to continue (this behavior 5 times more likely in shops with positive purchase intent compared to negative)
  • Give estimate of hold time (2.1 times more frequent in shops with positive purchase intent compared to negative)
  • If hold exceeds estimate, return with status update (1.8 times more frequent)
  • If transfer, stay on line until completed (1.6 times)
  • Use of name (1.5 times)
  • Ask how else could assist (1.5 times)

Valuing Customer

  • Suggest additional products or services (2.1 times more frequent in shops with positive purchase intent)
  • Ask for business (1.9 times)
  • Thanks for choosing the institution (1.5 times)

To maximize purchase intent, focus agents on behaviors which personalize the service in an empathetic manner (care for the customer and their needs) and value their business.

Click here for a cross-tabulation of the raw data by purchase intent.



 

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Contact Center Purchase Intent Drivers: Empathy & Competence

Historically, bank contact centers have served primarily as service hubs, serving customers who call for information or are seeking assistance dealing with a problem in need of resolution.  As banks continue to transition into an omni-channel model where customers can interact with the institution across a broad spectrum of channels, the contact center is transitioning into a sales hub, where customers who have researched a product online may still want to speak with a person prior to completing the purchase.  As a result, contact center agents will require a new set of sales skills.

To help understand some of the new skill sets required of contact center agents as they transition from a service to sales role, Kinesis conducted mystery shops of six institutions with national scope to identify what customer experience attributes will yield the most ROI in supporting this sales role.

Our conclusion is customers want empathy and competence.  They want agents who both care about their needs and can satisfy those needs.

Kinesis performed an analysis of purchase intent to identify the attributes with the most potential for ROI in supporting a sales role.  We asked shoppers to rate the experience across a spectrum of service attributes on a 5-point scale where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent; as well assigning a purchase intent rating on a similar 5-point scale.  We then cross tabulated the results by purchase intent to identify which attributes have the largest gap between shops which reported positive purchase intent and those which reported negative purchase intent.

Mean Attribute Ratings By Purchase Intent

Confidence in the Agent, valuing as a customer, interest in helping and explain the products in understandable terms are the four attributes with largest gaps between shops with positive purchase intent and negative, followed by professionalism and job knowledge. Friendliness/courtesy was the attribute with the smallest gap.  While friendliness is important, when it comes to driving purchase intent, the attributes with the largest gaps are those related to care and competence.  Customers want agents who care about their needs, and are capable of delivering on those needs.

 

In a following post we will look at the relationship of specific sales and service behaviors to purchase intent.

Click here for a cross-tabulation of the raw data by purchase intent.

 

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Mystery Shop Best Practices Conclusion

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Previously we examined best practices in mystery shop program launch.

Plan for Change

Finally, given mystery shopping measures employee behaviors against service standards, it is a best practice in mystery shopping to calibrate and align service standards with customer expectations. This is achieved by maintaining a feedback loop from customer expectations uncovered with surveys of customers back into updating both service standards based on these customer expectations and mystery shopping to measure and reinforce those standards.  Such an informed feedback loop between customer surveys and mystery shopping will ensure the behaviors measured are aligned with customer expectations.

Even well-designed and administered best practices in mystery shopping research requires periodic adjustment. Performance scores eventually flatten out or cluster together, diminishing the value of the program as a tool for rewarding top performers and continuously improving quality. Periodic reviews should be worked into the program design so it can be kept relevant and useful, and so the bar can be repeatedly raised on service quality and employee performance.

Provider Selection

Truth be told…mystery shop data collection is largely a commodity, all mystery shop providers have access to the same pool of shoppers, and use similar technology to collect shop data.  The source of differentiation is the extent to which a provider can help take meaningful action on the results.

Hire a provider that can be a partner. Large companies often employ an excruciating bidding process that rarely identifies the best vendor for their needs. They issue lengthy RFPs for mystery shopping that are meant to weed out the weakest contenders, but by asking bidders to commit to overly detailed and inappropriate specifications, they effectively eliminate more sophisticated companies at the same time. The typical RFP process creates an environment in which mystery shopping vendors over-promise in order to make the first cut, thus setting themselves up for failure if they win the account. In addition, it treats mystery shopping research as a commodity, regarding it as a bulk purchase of data rather than a high-value quality improvement tool. Companies have more success when they research the market carefully and identify the providers that have the knowledge and commitment to help them build a truly valuable program.

Conclusion

It is the employees who animate the brand, and it is imperative that employee sales and service behaviors be aligned with the brand promise.  Actions speak louder than words.  Brands spend millions of dollars on external messaging to define an emotional connection with the customer.  However, when a customer perceives a disconnect between an employee representing the brand and external messaging, they almost certainly will experience brand ambiguity.  The result severely undermines these investments, not only for the customer in question, but their entire social network.  In today’s increasingly connected world, one bad experience could be shared hundreds if not thousands of times over.  Mystery shopping is an excellent tool to align sales and service behaviors to the brand.

Mystery shopping programs, when administered in accordance with certain mystery shopping best practices, identify the sales and service behaviors that matter most – those which drive purchase intent and customer loyalty.

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Mystery Shop Program Launch

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Previously we examined best practices in taking action on mystery shop results.

Obtain Buy-In From the Front-Line

When mystery shopping initiatives fail to meet their potential, it is often because the people who are accountable for the results — front-line employees, supervisors, store managers, and regional managers — were never properly introduced to the program. As a result, there may be internal resistance, creating an unnecessary distraction from the achievement of the company’s service improvement goals. A mystery shopping best practice is to ensure employees throughout the organization are fully informed and have bought into the mystery shopping program before it is launched. Pre-launch efforts should include: the specific behaviors expected of customer facing employees, a copy of the mystery shop questionnaire, training on how to read mystery shopping reports, how to use the information effectively, and how to set goals for improvement.

Provide Adequate Internal Administration

A best practice in mystery shop program design is to anticipate the amount of administration necessary to run a successful mystery shopping program. It requires a strong administrator to keep the company focused and engaged, and to make sure that recalcitrant field managers are not able to undermine the program before it stabilizes and begins to realize its potential value.

Provide a Fair & Firm Dispute Process

Disputed shops are part of the process.  Mystery shops are just a snap shot in time, measuring complex service interactions.  As a result, there may be extenuating circumstances that need to be addressed, or questions about the quality of the mystery shopper’s performance that require both a fair and firm process to dispute shop scores.  Fairness is critical to employee buy-in and morale.  Firmness is required to keep the number of shop disputes in check, and cut down on frivolous score disputes.

The specifics of the dispute process will depend on each brand’s culture and values.  Here are some ways a fair and firm best in class mystery shop dispute process can be designed:

Arbitration: Most brands have a program manager or group of program managers acting as an arbitrator of disputes and ordering reshops or adjusting points to an individual shop as they see fit.  The arbiter of disputes must be both fair and firm, otherwise, employees and other managers will quickly start gaming the system, bogging the process down with frivolous disputes.

Fixed Number of Challenges: Other brands give each business unit (or store) a fixed number of challenges in which they can ask for an additional shop.  Managers responsible for that business unit can request a reshop for any reason.  However, when the fixed number of disputes is exhausted they lose the ability to request a reshop.  This approach is fair (each business unit has the same number of disputes), it reduces the administrative burden on a centralized arbiter, and reduces the potential for massive gaming of the system as there is a limited number of disputes.

Click here for the final installment in this series.

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Taking Action on Mystery Shop Results

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Previously we examined best practices in mystery shop sample planning.

Call to Action Analysis

A best practice in mystery shop design is to build in call to action elements designed to identify key sales and service behaviors which correlate to a desired customer experience outcome.  This Key Driver Analysis determines the relationship between specific behaviors and a desired outcome.  For most brands and industries, the desired outcomes are purchase intent or return intent (customer loyalty).  This approach helps brands identify and reinforce sales and service behaviors which drive sales or loyalty – behaviors that matter.

Key Driver Graphic 1


Earlier we suggested anticipating the analysis in questionnaire design in a mystery shop best practice.  Here is how the three main design elements discussed provide input into call to action analysis.

HowShoppers are asked if they had been an actual customer, how the experience influenced their return intent.  Cross-tabulating positive and negative return intent will identify how the responses of mystery shoppers who reported a positive influence on return intent vary from those who reported a negative influence.  This yields a ranking of the importance of each behavior by the strength of its relationship to return intent.

WhyIn addition, paired with this rating is a follow-up question asking, why the shopper rated their return intent as they did.  The responses to this question are grouped and classified into similar themes, and cross-tabulated by the return intent rating described above.  The result of this analysis produces a qualitative determination of what sales and service practices drive return intent.
WhatThe final step in the analysis is identifying which behaviors have the highest potential for ROI in terms of driving return intent.  This is achieved by comparing the importance of each behavior (as defined above) and its performance (the frequency in which it is observed).  Mapping this comparison in a quadrant chart, like the one to the below, provides a means for identifying behaviors with relatively high importance and low performance, which will yield the highest potential for ROI in terms of driving return intent.

Gap Graphic

 

This analysis helps brands focus training, coaching, incentives, and other motivational tools directly on the sales and service behaviors that will produce the largest return on investment – behaviors that matter.

Taking Action

Part of Balanced Scorecard

A best practice in mystery shopping is to integrate customer experience metrics from both sides of the brand-customer interface as part of an incentive plan.  The exact nature of the compensation plan should depend on broader company culture and objectives.  In our experience, a best practice is a balanced score card approach which incorporates customer experience metrics along with financial, internal business processes (cycle time, productivity, employee satisfaction, etc.), as well as innovation and learning metrics.

Within these four broad categories of measurement, Kinēsis recommends managers select the specific metrics (such as ROI, mystery shop scores, customer satisfaction, and cycle time), which will best measure performance relative to company goals. Discipline should be used, however. Too many can be difficult to absorb. Rather, a few metrics of key significance to the organization should be collected and tracked in a balanced score card.

Coaching

Best in class mystery shop programs identify employees in need of coaching.  Event-triggered reports should identify employees who failed to perform targeted behaviors.  For example, if it is important for a brand to track cross- and up-selling attempts in a mystery shop, a Coaching Report should be designed to flag any employees who failed to cross- or up-sell.  Managers simply consult this report to identify which employees are in need of coaching with respect to these key behaviors – behaviors that matter.

Click here for the next installment in this series: Mystery Shop Program Launch.

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