Mystery shopping is a vital part of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program for any business where service and hospitality are a primary part of the value proposition. Other major CRM components besides mystery shopping include:
- Guest Surveys/comment cards
- Focus Groups
- Warehousing guest history/preferences
- Employee surveys
A balanced approach using some or all of the components gives the best results. Each discipline not only measures the performance of an organization from a unique perspective, but they also dynamically measure each other.
Why should you use mystery shopping?
Because it is the most cost-effective and flexible CRM tool available.
It can be deployed quickly and inexpensively. Moreover, it is a flexible program that can be modified and tweaked on-the fly, giving the client access to very current market research without expensive set-up costs.
Gathering data via surveys and warehousing guest data is a statistically relevant means to determine the health of your quality initiatives. They are like a blood test if you will, a wide-swath measurement that can provide the sound basis for diagnosing weaknesses and prescribing improvements. However, by themselves, they don’t tell us enough to make informed decisions on a strategic level.
Mystery shopping is more like an X-Ray. It is a fine, granular picture of your business examining an area of supreme interest. So, if your business creates and retains market share by providing memorable service, you would benefit by getting regular MRI’s of the components that create great service. These detailed images are most effective when they are focused squarely on the customer experience.
In other words, take an X-ray of what is important to your customers and what you normally cannot see.
One of the immediate benefits of a mystery shopping program is that the client states for all employees to see what the service criteria are. The information is not being siloed away in a corporate office or taking up space in an employee manual. Getting the word out is half the battle.
The act of measuring those criteria instills a sense of accountability and purpose across an organization of any size. Mystery shopping is the most cost-effective way to articulate quality vision, and show that the company means it. You get what you inspect.
Benchmarking unit performance not only identifies company-wide weaknesses and strengths, it also reveals unit outliers (good and bad). Therefore, companies using a mystery shopping program can harvest best practices from the good, and spend time where it counts; correcting the few units that are hurting the brand.
In summary, mystery shopping is one weapon service companies use in a balanced approach to CRM. Used correctly, it offers the most flexibility and immediate ROI of all the CRM disciplines.