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Mystery Shopping in Social Media June 16, 2012

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Mystery shopping has gone from the traditional, onsite type of evaluation to cover a broad range of customer touchpoints – telephone calls, website inquiries, email evaluations, and online chat sessions for customer service. Will social media be the next evaluation for customer service?

It just might be given the prevalence of social media for customer service issues. As customers turn more to company Facebook and Twitter sites for help, mystery shopping may come into play.

Recently a mystery shopping study was conducted to evaluate response times on Twitter related to customer service inquiries. The client wanted to see how responses were handled, and the length of time that passed between the customer’s inquiry and a response. The method of response, whether it was public in the Twitter feed or handled privately through direct message, was also measured.

This is just the first of many mystery shopping programs that I think will emerge based on the way companies are interacting with customers via social media. I anticipate many methodologies being used, from tracking response times in social media to how quickly feedback or opinions generated on social sites other than Facebook and Twitter are found and responded to.  It’s an important tool for customer service and will be looked at more closely in the near future.

Have you had experience with social media mystery shops? If so, feel free to share your experience! Your comments are always welcome!

Clients Turning to Video – Don’t Let It Freak You Out June 14, 2012

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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From time to time  you may hear of clients who talk of verifying your shopping report with their video surveillance – when this happens, it throws shoppers into a tailspin. Some wonder why they are evening using mystery shopping, while it makes others feel like they can’t report anything negative or the company will fight it.

While this would be a first instinct, and we certainly don’t like hearing this, there is another way to think of it.  If clients choose to double check mystery shopping reports with their video surveillance, it’s a good way to prove that what you’ve reported is accurate, further validating the quality of the program.  They won’t do this for every shop of course, most likely leaving it for low scoring reports that employees dispute. The problem comes in when they do turn to video and find out that the report doesn’t quite match what actually happened.

This does happen from time to time, and is quite disappointing, making it difficult for all of us. If it happens once, the client is typically understanding and the MSP can conduct a reshop to make it right. If it happens more than once, then things can change quickly, and clients see lost value in the program and may stop it all together.

This is not a lesson in not reporting the negative aspects of an experience – your job as a mystery shopper is to report everything that happens, both positive and negative, and for some reason, this is the first place a shopper’s mind may go when they hear clients pull video. If you’re doing the shop as it should be done and reporting correctly, this should be a non-issue. It is a good reminder to make sure you’re fully prepared for the shop and making all of the required observations though.

Your job is to report accurately to the best of your ability. If you are filling out the report and have an “oh crap” moment because you forgot an observation you were supposed to make, this is not the time to fake it!  It’s best to contact the scheduler to alert them of the situation – it may be the case where you’ll have to reshop the location in order to make it valid.

Mistakes happen to the best of shoppers – it’s human nature, just like employees don’t always score 100% when they are shopped. It’s good to keep this information in the back of your mind when you’re out shopping, but don’t let it freak you out or turn you off from what you do!

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