Daniel Ord discusses how boardrooms often react to your mystery shopping programs and the impact that it has on your research.
I met up with a friend who works in another Mystery Shopper research firm.
We like to compare notes on Mystery Shopper research and discuss practices that enable great outcomes – and those that don’t.
Over coffee we came up with a couple of factors that negatively impact an otherwise effective program.
Terror in the Boardroom
My friend shared this story:
“Dan – here’s what happened…most of the results were ‘ok’.
“Nothing spectacular, but for an organisation of their scale, essential compliance KPIs were being met.”
“But one of their customer touchpoints really struggled with their turnaround time commitment.”
“Rather than receiving a reply within 2–3 days, reply time-frames ranged from one week to no reply received at all within the time-frame promised.”
“We knew what we were getting into when we took the program but even we were taken aback when – after submitting the final results – the Client asked us to edit out the poor results.”
“And not just once – we had to redo the complete deck and set of reports 3 times before they were satisfied.”
Later on one of their Service Quality team members shared that when the unedited findings were revealed in the boardroom, the senior management roared and raged and sought to assign blame for the poor results.
The Participants at the internal presentation were stunned into silence.
The unspoken message came across loud and clear. It’s safer to hide bad results then to risk angering Senior Management.
The Management was after high scores.
Of course this caused distress to the Service Quality Team – who sought to innovate and improve in line with their departmental vision.
Avoid Terror in the Boardroom
It’s sad to see a viable Mystery Shopper program go down in flames due to fear of Senior Management.
What I’d suggest is asking Senior Management to sign a simple agreement – before the Mystery Shopper program is approved. Perhaps with a statement like this:
“The purpose of our Mystery Shopper program is to __________. It’s likely we will uncover things that we want to hear – and things that we don’t.”
“We will resist the natural urge to cleanse results to make them look better.”
“We can only get better if we truly know how we’re doing – and for CX-based Mystery Shopper programs, how our Customers are experiencing us.”
“With this in mind, we will take the good with the bad, the great with the not so great, look at results in perspective – and use them to help us move forward.”
Let Your Research Partner Present Findings
Your Research Partner is in the best position to share methodology, compare and contrast findings with other organisations and give specific examples of both the good and not so good results with ideas for improvement.
The Research Partner also operates outside the politics of the organisation – and that brings an important level of objectivity and credibility to the process.
When the Research Partner doesn’t present – it’s left to someone within the organisation to share findings
But when findings are presented ‘in-house’, without participation by the Research Partner, a lot of context, examples and recommendations go missing.
And the politics can be more ‘highly charged’.
We hope these few words on Mystery Shopper research are helpful to you.