Often, our work with clients goes far beyond just “arranging some mystery shopping” for them: we work in partnership with clients to help them to plan, execute and maintain improvements to their businesses.
The approach that’s taken to consultancy is always driven by the client: the client’s situation, challenges and goals.
Our starting point is that improvements in the customer experience and improvements in business performance can and should go hand in hand.
That doesn’t necessarily happen automatically, and indeed an ill-conceived effort to improve one of these, could harm the other.
However, to be well-equipped for a future of increasing competition, and increasingly visible feedback from real customers, businesses need to pay close attention to both.
Improvements in customer service should often, in themselves, lead to improved business performance over time, but may also increase short term costs (e.g. staffing and training).
Those costs are an additional reason (aside from business common sense) why it is vital not to neglect real opportunities to increase sales.
Of course, there are many real situations where up-selling or cross-selling, or better anticipating a customer’s needs, can lead to increased spend and increasing customer satisfaction.
Our Approach when Consulting with clients
Our focus when delivering consultancy services is on helping clients to set goals, and identify practical steps that can be taken (usually based on Mystery Shopping and customer feedback data, and competitor intelligence) to improve both the customer experience and the performance of the business (short term as well as longer term) at the same time.
Clients benefit from an open minded, direct and honest exchange of ideas, from people with real world direct management as well as consultancy experience. When steps are identified and agreed, we can provide or arrange for almost any type of practical help that the client needs, to see the steps taken, efficiently and to a high standard.
For real positive change, follow-through and follow-up are vital. Mystery Shopping often plays an important part in making sure that agreed changes have been successfully implemented, and that those changes stick.
Where appropriate, training programmes can be delivered, usually with the involvement of trusted partners.
Training is delivered with plenty of humour, interaction and engagement, avoiding too much “preaching”, and instead encouraging participants to think for themselves about the importance of great customer experiences and what such a thing “looks like”.
The following key themes are normally involved:
- Reminding staff of the huge difference that a “great” experience makes to a customer, over an “ok” experience
- Helping staff to remember what goes into a great experience
- Recognising that the need for right mind-set and intentions are foundational
- Improving awareness of customer requirements and priorities
- Helping staff to look through the eyes of a customer
- Reminding all staff that “the little things” do matter greatly
- How to deal with out-of-the-ordinary customer requests
- The importance of acknowledging customers at every opportunity
- The importance of being visibly helpful and considerate, and of anticipating customer needs
Effects will be greater and longer lasting when training is combined with an ongoing programme of Mystery Shopping, with feedback and recognition for strong performance.