A lot of times, mystery shopping is used to find problems companies are having, to correct any shortcomings they may have. But what about using mystery shopping as a way to find employees who are doing good work and rewarding them?
A typical mystery shopping program involves a shopper visiting a business, like a restaurant, wireless store, or even a gas station or service station, and then ordering food, visiting the bathroom, noting the general cleanliness of the place, and whether the employee smiled and was courteous.
Many restaurants see this as the bare minimum level of acceptable, and they’re more noted for what they aren’t. The food isn’t terrible, the bathrooms and dining area aren’t dirty, and the employees aren’t surly. As long as diners can have a predictable and reliable experience, they’re satisfied with what they get, as long as the meal isn’t terrible.
But some restaurants, hotels, and other businesses pride themselves on providing an over-the-top, wonderful experience. Disney World and Disneyland come to mind. Fancy, fine dining restaurants come to mind. Even Chick-fil-A comes to mind, because their employees are polite, courteous, and always smile. They always say “my pleasure” every time you say thank you (you do say thank you, don’t you?). And they go out of their way to make sure your Chick-fil-A experience is better than any other fast food experience you could have
This is where a mystery shopping program could catch people doing something right. You could always say that Chick-fil-A has just raised their minimum performance levels, but what if they instead wanted shoppers to find those standout employees? Who were the ones who really stood out as being friendly and helpful? Who helped you figure out a complicated order? Who offered to get you a refill while you were dining in the restaurant, or brought your order out to you?
I have a pet peeve about some places, like a coffee shop, where they have a station to put the drinks, which is on the opposite end of where you’re sitting. Rather than bring the drink over to your end of the counter, they take it to the opposite end, call your name, and then watch you walk all the way down to that end of the counter. That is a Minimum Performance Level. The baristas I like will walk to my end of the counter or even bring the drink out to me. I continue to support those businesses and don’t go to the ones that are satisfied with the Minimum Performance.
And if I were doing a mystery shopping visit for those coffee shops, I would certainly want to highlight those baristas who took the extra step and made sure I had a satisfactory experience at the store. Even that little service of bringing my coffee to my end of the counter is notable and makes me appreciate them that much more.
Bottom line: If you want to do more than just squeak by in customer satisfaction, if you want to offer more than just “meh, I guess it wasn’t terrible,” then you should look for the employees who do good work. While you can find them on your own, if you’ve got more than one location, you’ll have trouble making that all work. This is where a mystery shopping program can make a big difference.
To learn more about how to use a mystery shopping program in your businsess, please visit our website. You can also speak to one of our restaurant mystery shopping experts and get your questions answered.