What Goes On When You’re Not at Work?
If you think you know what your employees are up to when you’re out
of the office, remember that old adage, 'When the cat's away…'
because while your 'mice' might not be playing, they might not be
providing the type of customer service you'd like. Gathering data
via mystery shoppers is one way to ensure that your employees’
performance levels remain consistently high and can help ferret out
problems before they affect the bottom line or have a negative
impact on your workforce.
"Mystery shopping came out of the retail trade," said Mickie Albert-Caracatsanis,
vice president, Satisfaction Services Inc. "It started with the
concept of finding people doing things wrong in the industry. We
sell the concept of mystery shopping to our clients as, ‘Catch them
doing it right and then recognize and reward.’ Recognition alone,
even without reward or with minimal reward, will improve morale and
Satisfaction Services offers multiple reward and recognition
programs, such as Service Rocks. The program's catchy phrase was
created specifically to appeal to the teenage-to-30-year-old
population who provide most of the service today, and gives out real
rocks engraved with the word service, which clients can use in
different ways. "An owner of an establishment or a field supervisor
will pass them out to management when they see them doing something
above and beyond customer service. If the field supervisor or owner
comes back to that location and the manager has it in their pocket
or on their desk, they’ll get a bonus or some sort of reward."
The rock is a constant reminder of the importance of customer
service, which Albert-Caracatsanis said is the only edge any
business has. "All good locations are taken. As far as concepts,
it’s no longer Main Street with one place to go for your hardware,
milk or shoes. There are many different choices now for anything
we’re looking to purchase, and price points are close. What’s going
to keep me from going to concept A from concept B? It's going to be
that customer service experience. If I’m treated poorly, am ignored
or wait 30 minutes, and I can't get anybody to help me, do you think
I’m going to go back there and spend my money? Absolutely not."
Satisfaction Services creates evaluations and surveys specific to
each client's employee training program. Evaluators then go to a
location, get the customer service experience and fill out the
survey. The company also provides back-up reports that follow trends
and can do a trend analysis on a quarterly or monthly basis or by a
range of dates to determine which locations require time, attention
or money to correct service problems.
This type of evaluation is best performed regularly because
infrequent attempts to gather data do not accurately reflect an
organization's usual activity. "A lot of business owners and
management think, 'I know what goes on in my stores.' But the way
they’re treated and what they witness is not necessarily what goes
on when they're in the back room taking
inventory or out to lunch," Albert-Caracatsanis said. "There are too
many choices these days to not care about your customers and in turn
not care about your employees. If you care about your employees, you
show them that you want to help them be successful at their job.
When you have a part in that, you’re saying to the employee, 'You're
an investment to me and you're important,' not, 'I can replace you
at any minute. You're lucky to be here.'
We try to persuade our clients to share these evaluations with their
employees and use them as a training tool. Use it as a solution, not
‘Let me find the problem and deal with it.'"
– Kellye Whitney