Evaluating service is not always done in person. In some cases, such as contact centers, it can be done over the phone, without ever having to leave the house or office.
A few years ago, the CEO of an Australian telecom company made news because he had been calling his own company’s contact centers to find out whether they were providing the kind of customer service he expected — and had established policies to ensure.
As anyone might guess in a situation like this, what he found was not always positive. The results of his “research” were probably hard to hear at times, but the CEO’s experiences showed him the issues he needed to confront in order to make changes and ultimately help turn his business’ customer service around.
All business owners have a responsibility to ensure that their contact centers’ customer service policies are being implemented as effectively as possible, whether they are running a major corporation or a small business — or anywhere in between. There is a place for mystery shopping within every contact center’s customer service strategy.
When a business hires a market research and brand auditing company, the two organizations will work together to create a customized program that investigates all the elements important to the customer service success of the business’ contact center. The company should be able to tailor the plan to target specific problem areas or specific training issues a business client might need to focus on. Once the two organizations have agreed upon the list of criteria shoppers will look for, the mystery shopping company will select shoppers with appropriate expertise. Research staff will phone the contact centers, posing as actual customers, and track every detail of their experience.
Here are some things mystery shopping professionals might look for when they shop a contact center:
- Friendliness and helpfulness of staff.
- Amount of time spent on hold.
- Quality of hold music.
- Number of transfers.
- Whether they have to explain their problem over and over when they are transferred.
Customers’ chief complaints with calling contact centers are fairly universal. Issues like long hold times, endless transfers, lines gone dead, overly scripted and unempowered employees, and more run rampant throughout contact center culture. Any business that thinks it is exempt should probably reconsider. One simple way to find out for sure whether these things are happening: hiring mystery shopping company to act as the company’s ears on the front lines.