Supercharge your mystery shop program

BY Australian Retailers Association
18 October 2019

Using new reporting enhancements to resolve problems, not just uncover them.

In today’s world shoppers can research, compare and purchase products from different retailers with just couple of taps on their device. Therefore, creating an enhanced in-store shopping experience has never been more vital to the survival of retail. It’s not surprising that as a result of this, it’s impossible to read or hear industry data on retail without reference to technology.

Whether it is e-commerce, mobile point of sale devices, digital tools and kiosks, connected shopping experiences, location based mobile offers, intelligent fitting rooms or Artificial Technology (AI), these products are a game changer for the ‘digital first’ consumers and retailers who are trying to keep up with them in 2019 and beyond.

Despite these advances in technology, most would argue that the most important asset for is still non-tech. It’s the team member, sales assistant, store manager, customer service representative and advisor – the frontline team.

While there are countless front-end technological innovations to improve the shopping experience for your customers, often the HR and training processes are in the dark ages and improving staff performance is in the too hard basket. Finding a solution that is intuitive, user-friendly and reliable is key.

The familiar adage “what gets measured, gets done” remains relevant to the current retail market and one of the most reliable, objective and consistent methods for measuring employee compliance to training standards today is still good old mystery shopping.

Gone are the programs of old which were labour intensive, inflexible and difficult to analyse. Mystery shopping reporting dashboards of today are interactive, personalised, customised, real time and mobile friendly. A great program doesn’t just uncover the problems, it helps resolve them.

Kaizen Action Plan

The Japanese word Kaizen means ‘change for the better’. The everyday use of Kaizen can be applied as a one-time or continuous improvement across many different industries and in the retail space, it can be acknowledged as the perfect mantra for mystery shopping.

The latest reporting development in the mystery shopping world, is Kaizen Action Plan which allows retailers to plan, execute and review via an automatic scheduling process. The plan also enables retailers to follow up on tasks, track progress and resolve issues. It’s an actionable and measurable and can be used to tailor coaching towards assisting employees to improve on their performance, as they are the ultimate brand ambassadors.

Benefit to Retail Managers

With so many operational tasks to complete daily, this type of reporting system is time and cost efficient. The system automates the creation of an action plan for a survey based on low scoring or non-compliant survey elements, ensuring that insights are turned into actions in every store. When a report includes scored answers that are non-compliant, as defined by the plan, an Action Item is automatically created for each of those answers and relevant managers are notified. Regional and/or store managers have visibility to action items for which they are responsible and can then confirm remediation plans for dealing with any issues related to those answers.

A retailer can classify specific questions on their mystery shop survey as either ‘critical, necessary or serious’. Then if a nominated question is scored 0%, a notification about the new action item will be sent to managers specified in the action plan (for example the state, regional and store manager applicable). Managers can then visit the action item page for the question on that particular visit. The remediation plan and discussion of a resolution can then take place. Once the issue has been dealt with, the remediation plan can be closed and the action item will appear as resolved on the dashboard.

Like all business metrics, it’s not just about collecting the data – it’s what you do with it that counts. Kaizen Action Plan enables retailers to automate continuous improvement to your frontline, ensuring you supercharge your mystery shopping ROI for minimal effort. Now that’s a game changer.

Kate Gorman is the National Account Director for The Realise Group. Since 2000, The Realise Group has been helping some of Australia’s leading brands understand their customer experience via Voice of the Customer and Mystery Shopping programs. Our services are designed with our clients’ specific needs in mind, but all with the goal of improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, advocacy and value. Learn more at therealisegroup.com.au

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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