If you operate a bookstore, whether it’s a small independent bookshop or a large chain of bookstores, mystery shoppers can let you know whether you’re meeting all your goals and expectations for performance and customer satisfaction.
While you can accomplish this through customer surveys, keep in mind that 1) very few people take customer surveys, and it will take a while to amass enough responses to get meaningful results, and 2) you’re likely to get more complaints than positive responses, which can skew the total survey results. Rather than balanced or even positive skew results, the complaints may make it look like the bookstore is totally failing and just needs to be shut down.
This the problem when you rely on surveys to deliver your customer experience results: bad data in means bad results coming out.
This is also where mystery shoppers can show you what the surveys can’t.
For one thing, mystery shoppers are completely objective. They aren’t reporting only on good experiences or bad experiences. They’re telling you what they experienced. But you can’t just rely on one or two shoppers to paint the total picture. Get several in there each month and look for patterns and trends.
You can also find out who your top performing employees are. Rather than just looking for employees who make mistakes, use the mystery shoppers to help you find the people who excel and do well. Of course, you’ll also want to look for training opportunities for the people who need work, but don’t just use mystery shoppers as a gotcha form of discipline.
If you operate a large bookstore chain and have to cover a lot of properties, you may want to focus several mystery shoppers on a specific region for a time. This can give you an idea of what you should be looking for in the rest of the country, and establish a baseline for what you can expect.
You can ask mystery shoppers to do a number of things and have the results reported right back to you via the mystery shopping app or dashboard:
- How clean are the bathrooms and the general store area?
- Are the shelves neatly arranged and stacked? Are books put away properly?
- Are things easy to find? Is the signage clear and easy to understand?
- Ask the shopper to ask for a book you don’t carry. Did the sales associate offer to order it? (Ask them to order it too.) How easy is it to get that done?
- Were the associates friendly and helpful? Were they knowledgeable about the books you asked them to find?
Mystery shopping at a bookstore is like any other business: you want to make sure your customers have a good experience, that your staff is knowledgeable, and that your facilities are clean and well-presented. This is something Measure CP can help you do.
Photo credit: Martin Cathrae (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)