How much do you know about the customer perspective of your business? If you spend time reading online reviews of your company on Google, Yelp or other websites, you may find some helpful information about what your business does well and what your business does better. But it takes a lot of work to find truly valuable information this way, since the majority of customers do not spend time writing online reviews. And although not all customers write reviews, anyone who visits your business will have a customer perspective that influences whether they’ll continue shopping with you or will go to a competitor.
So, what is the customer perspective of your business? For better or for worse, perception is reality when it comes to your company’s customer perspective. There are lots of ways to gather information into what the customer perspective of your business is. Besides gathering online reviews, you could conduct focus groups, or ask customers to fill out paper or online surveys. These methods of researching customer perspective can be beneficial, but they are time consuming to execute. Also, there are many important details to consider regarding how questions are phrased and the timing of when you’re asking customers to share their perspectives. Those details may cause customers to unknowingly give biased feedback if the questions aren’t asked at exactly the right time, right place, and in the right manner.
To get the best picture of your company’s customer perspective, consider using a mystery shopping program. Mystery shopping programs first take time to understand the nuances of your business. To get a truly unbiased look at the customer perspective of your business, a mystery shopping program focuses on what an optimal shopping experience at your business should be like. How should your location look, on both the inside and outside of the storefront? How should employees be dressed, and what should they say to customers? Is the signage at your business clear? Is the layout of your location functional for both employees and customers? Is the speed of customer service what it should be?
A mystery shopping looks at all these qualities, and more. The first step in working with a mystery shopping program is the analysis. The mystery shopping provider will analyze your company’s operations and discovers what the customer experience should be like. Gaining knowledge of what a business owner wishes the customer perspective of the business to be is the best way to set benchmarks for improvement. The second step in working with a mystery shopping program is the actual mystery shopping experience. The program will send certified mystery shoppers into your business who are fully educated on the DNA of your operation. The mystery shoppers will report on how your processes and protocols are being followed, identifying what went well and what could be improved upon. The mystery shopping program mirrors the actual shopping experience, allowing the mystery shoppers to gain an unbiased view of the customer perspective. The third step in working with a certified mystery shopping program is the analysis of results. When you partner with a mystery shopping program, it will be impossible to gain a true picture of the customer perspective of your business if you don’t fully understand the results. Instead of being buried in numbers, make sure you partner with a mystery shopping program who helps you interpret the findings, showing you patterns of behavior and opportunities for growth.
In addition to gaining an honest and unbiased customer perspective of your organization, there are other benefits your business can gain from working with a mystery shopping program. You’ll be able to clearly determine customer satisfaction levels for your organization and can set benchmarks for improving customer perspective. Having a better understanding of the customer’s perspective of your business can also help you increase profits, because you’ll be able to alter the operations of your business in the ways that your customers will appreciate and respond to. You will gain a better understanding of your company’s competitive strengths and weaknesses, and you can identify solutions to problems within your company before they spiral out of control. Mystery shopping also helps you confirm the integrity of your employees, as well as determining if your company procedures and internal controls are effective and are being followed. Because your business likely has limited resources when it comes to training and continuing the education of employees, a mystery shopping program can show you the areas in which you need to focus in order to improve operations and customer service, and thus improve customer perspective. Overall, the real benefit of working with a mystery shopping program is that the results will help you gain a clear picture of the customer perception of your business. Since customer perception affects so many other aspects of your business, knowing the customer perspective can help you improve your business and continue growing your success.