Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Use Thriller Outlets To Drive Measurable Modifications

Mystery shopping for Impact And Reach

A mystery shop can be an extremely useful tool and strategic method for changing behavior and reaching more people. Since it was first used to analyze employee integrity in the 1940s, mystery shopping has grown into a research tool that helps organizations and businesses understand brand sentiment and evaluate the customer experience by understanding the interaction between customers and salespeople.

The nature of mystery shopping is to highlight service and behavior that need improvement. It was a way for management to evaluate the attitudes and performance of employees in dealing with customers interested in certain products or with customers requesting information and certain services from an organization.

Use mystery shops to drive measurable change

Mystery Shops are an unidentified “buyer” who collects certain information about products, services, attitudes and more. Test buyers do not identify themselves and usually send written reports to company management and not to individual employees.

Since the test buyer remains anonymous, the actual encounter between customer and sales representative is not often viewed as a teachable moment. That does not have to be that way.

According to Kellie Womack, founder of Creative Data Strategy, LLC., A data-driven boutique company that provides meaningful strategies and content to drive measurable behavioral changes, guide and improve sales behavior.

Womack claims that by unmasking a mystery shop, sales teams:

  • Practice consistent behaviors
  • Address common and predictable questions or objections
  • Sales goals in focus
  • Communicate important product information to customers
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Demonstrate products
  • Realize targeted performance goals

Changing the focus of mystery shops

The Intel® Retail Edge program included the Mystery Shop when we discovered that our tutorial wasn’t having the behavioral impact we wanted and we weren’t reaching as many sales reps in the store as we wanted. We needed a vehicle to address both of these issues.

Our team decided to implement a Mystery Shop Promotion Program (MSP) to address behavior change and reach the largest number of sales reps in each store. Boy did it work

To make the Mystery Shop part of our learning / training competitions, entire stores wanted to bring all members of their team together and work towards a common goal. With this redesigned Mystery Shop as part of our promotions and campaigns, we have successfully used the experience to focus on effective sales and service strategies and improve our training efforts.

We have focused on individual performance and instead focused on teamwork by adding the concept of Mystery Shop training to our eLearning initiatives. It has been shown to be extremely effective, and mystery shops are now a core concept we use to increase retail sales and brand promotion, increase engagement, and improve behavioral skills.

Womack points out that it takes a little more planning and coordination to take advantage of the mystery shopping experience in this way. Still, it pays off in terms of promotional effectiveness and the value of better retail store performance. You get measurable results in sales, and that makes the extra effort worth it.

Receive the necessary buy-in

This change in the way mystery shops are run requires buy-in from all parties. As it is innovative, it also requires coordination and ongoing evaluation. This is the key to success, adds Womack.

Based on a mystery shopping assessment, we recommend evaluating internal training efforts to determine how they can be improved if we discover salespeople are under-selling, failing to demonstrate the benefits of a product, or fail to fully explain the product’s features.

Retailers can successfully use Mystery Shops to accelerate store sales efforts, promote specific products, and get everyone on board with a new or redirected sales campaign. This is an important point: Team performance draws more attention to the actual promotion, and it becomes the team experience that increases overall performance without the feeling of individual failure.

A blueprint for success with mystery shops

Traditional mystery shops are planned without warning or preparation for the sales force evaluation. Since no performance review is expected, there is no way to train or prepare for the experience.

Too often, for one reason or another, the result can be failure or underperformance.

Womack recommends using the Mystery Shop as a “final exam” for your coordinated training efforts. This gives you an opportunity to resolve important performance issues. Tailor your workout to the goals you want to achieve, such as: B. the successful launch of a new product or increasing brand awareness.

Womack advises that there are specific drivers for every promotion. Using the Intel example, the focus may be on certain desktops or laptops with Intel® processors. Training around these products can be function-based or behavior-based.

Mystery Shops help us to build our brand and better support sales staff in understanding unique product features and advantages and transferring these to their customers. The result is more sales and a better customer experience.

Unmasking the mystery shop

We work with test buyers in advance to develop a process and script that can be used to control the experience. We tell them the specific language we want to promote or hands-on demonstrations sales reps are supposed to provide, but we don’t get them to ask about these things.

The mystery shop process could look like this:

  1. Enter store
    Trained, professional test shoppers visit assigned stores and pose as typical consumers interested in purchasing a computer.
  2. Search
    Test shoppers rummage through the corridors of the computer waiting for support from sales reps. Test shoppers use this time to observe branded product materials available in stores and on computer aisles.
  3. Engage
    Using a saved script, test shoppers have conversations with retail sales reps touching on specific points of interest to the brand. Test buyers adopt different buyers who identify different needs, prompting salespeople for different types of information.
  4. Record data
    As soon as the sales floor interaction is complete, test buyers record critical points of the conversations in an online questionnaire form. This data is then tabulated and analyzed.

We demystify parts of our mystery shops by pre-sharing information with sales reps in partner retail stores. This can include:

  • General time frames for the Mystery Shop;
  • Information that you want customers to receive from you regarding the objectives and KPIs of the Mystery Shop; and,
  • Evaluation elements such as the recommendation of our brand, the recommendation of a premium computer solution from our brand partners, etc.

However, the buyer remains a mystery. The employee does not recognize the test buyer during the actual interaction on the sales floor.

Analysis of feedback from a mystery shop

About three months before a training or learning campaign, conduct a pre-training assessment to establish a baseline. With this baseline you will get a clear overview of the success of your campaign as soon as you receive the results of the Mystery Shop.

Mystery Shop data can be sliced ​​and diced in a number of ways. Womack explains that there are three ways that data is typically analyzed in a retail mystery shop.

  1. Key element for the evaluation
    How well did the sales force perform in terms of the specified mystery shop goals and KPIs?
  2. Corporate initiatives
    How well have sales reps met general company initiatives and standards?
  3. Effects of Other Business Programs
    How well did salespeople perform when their stores included other corporate programs such as specialized promotional teams or high-end branded merchandising and marketing?

If you have an industry partner who joins you on a learning campaign, you have one more set of data to measure positive attitudes towards their brand. Make sure to include this partner at the start, give them an overview of the Mystery Shop’s schedule, and outline your broader goals that include them.

Get the data you need to improve eLearning initiatives

Mystery shop skeptics often associate them with dated designs that tend to be one-dimensional and deliver little when it comes to quantitative data. When properly designed and implemented, today’s Mystery Shop is an effective and strategic tool that can help you change behavior and reach more people.

The Mystery Shop is an integral part of the Intel® Retail Edge Program. The data is used to refine our processes and update our training efforts. They have only led to improved results for us, our retailers, and most importantly, our customers.

Coupled with our ongoing training efforts, our Mystery Shop program stands for innovation at its best and is a valuable resource for our eLearning initiatives. Have you used mystery shopping in your eLearning program? If so, I’d love to learn more about how this affects your overall training and learning endeavors.

Notices and disclaimers

© Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other names and trademarks may be claimed as the property of others.

Intel® Retail Edge Program

We’re a branded promotion and e-learning program for retail salespeople designed to encourage engagement during major sales seasons. To date, over 500,000 employees at large electronic retailers have completed over 20 million training modules.

Post a Comment

You don't have permission to register