Providing your customers with a consistently great experience across all channels helps them form a positive connection with your brand. When customers expect a great experience, however, their expectations have to be met or you risk disappointing them.
As this article from Entrepreneur highlights, a great brand experience means that customers are satisfied with each channel of your brand, including your website, branding, atmosphere, and employee interaction, but a single bad experience with one channel can ruin the customer’s perception of your entire brand.
Controlling your customer experience is easier on some channels than others. Because your website, mobile app, and marketing are entirely under your control and offer lots of data and feedback opportunities, you can ensure that your customers have great interactions on those channels. However, it can be difficult to ensure the same consistency in stores.
In your stores, atmosphere, communication, competing priorities, and employee engagement can all be barriers to a positive perception of your brand.
Fortunately, there is a way that you can ensure you are creating a consistent experience in stores, too: mystery shopping.
Improving Brand Experience with Mystery Shopping
Your stores may look great, and your employees may be highly engaged when you and your managers are watching, but how can you be sure your employees are creating a great customer experience when they aren’t being monitored?
A well-designed customer experience program that includes mystery shopping give you feedback on your total brand experience, as your customers experience it. Mystery shoppers compare your stores’ appearance and merchandising to your expectations and, most importantly, monitor how your employees interact with customers. Because mystery shoppers look just like regular customers, you gain invaluable insight into actual employee behaviors and customer interactions.
They are able to review all aspects of the physical shopping experience and target specific concerns, including cleanliness, use of brand strategies, and employee engagement. Because they experience your brand as a customer, mystery shoppers collect data you can use to adjust your strategy and correct employee behaviors.
The data collected by mystery shoppers can help you identify trends in brand experience and pinpoint where your strategies can be improved. It also allows you to ensure that your customers are greeted with a consistent experience regardless of time or location. This is especially important for chain retailers who may have difficulties with consistency across different regions and sales volumes.
Mystery shopping programs provide you with rapid feedback, and store managers receive extremely timely results along with tools they can use to improve store performance quickly. One of the biggest benefits of mystery shopping is that managers can use this feedback immediately to encourage employee engagement by recognizing outstanding performance in front of the whole team, as well as correct subpar behaviors with training. This ensures that unsatisfactory behaviors stop immediately without damaging further customer interactions.
As Forbes points out in this great article, a great brand experience is about creating a culture change, rather than a change in “culture talk.” Mystery shoppers help you ensure that culture change is real and visible at all stages of the shopping experience and give you confidence that your customers have a great, consistent experience with your brand at all times.