What NOT to Do in Terms of Customer Service

We have obtained some accounts over the years from our mystery shoppers that are quite something.

We’ve listed a few of our favourites scenarios below, showing you what should NOT be done in terms of customer service!

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Mystery Shoppers Can Improve Customer Service

From a study involving a team of over 100 mystery shoppers, it has been noted that customer experiences have been improved through the help of mystery shopping.

But what is a mystery shopper?

Essentially, mystery shoppers go into a predetermined store and will talk to assistants, buy products, and them write up a report about the level of service that was received.

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What mystery shoppers can tell you about your business

Wondering what the experience is liking a customer who is visiting your business is difficult as being a business owner means your staff will be well-behaved when you are around. But what about when you aren’t?

One of the ways to find out how the average customer experiences the services your business provides is through hiring a mystery shopper.

Mystery shoppers are normal people who will visit your business to use your services and/or purchase a product. Upon their visit they will be making observations about the friendliness of your staff and the experience they offer the average customer, the cleanliness of your facilities and how easy it was to get their request attended to, they will proceed to make a report of their findings. It is essentially one of the best ways to view your business through the eyes of the customer.

Below we’ve listed a few of the things mystery shoppers can tell you about your business:

Employee customer service skills

One of the first things mystery shoppers will help you evaluate is the customer service that is provided by your employees and the skills they have. They will make note of how your employees greet them and if the staff are attentive and friendly. The reason your employees customer service skills are of high importance is because they are a face to face representation of your brand.

Efficiency of processes

There may be a business that as recently acquired a new point of sale that is believed to be the appropriate tool for the job. Yet an employee uses it to ring up a purchase a client has made and the machine doesn’t work which could lead to be a time consuming process to sort out; your customer may be getting impatient. A mystery shopper will relay what the experience for the customer is like letting you know whether any systems need to be updated.

What you don’t know

Another benefit of hiring a mystery shopper is the fact they will tell you what most customers will not. There is a high percentage of customers that will not say if they are unhappy with a product or service; they’ll take the easy way out and seek elsewhere. Although, they don’t tell you if they are unhappy with something in particular, the percentage is equally as high that they’ll tell other people, friends and family, essentially leaving a negative review.

First impressions

Mystery shoppers can walk into any store for the first time and notice things that may have been overlooked or ignored by you or employees. They will provide you with a detailed description of their first visit, their impression and right any flaws in the store.

Keep in mind that these are only a few things that mystery shoppers can tell you about your business in order to keep you updated about the service you are providing.

Please visit our website for further information about mystery shopping and our services.

Is mystery shopping a real job?

It is likely that you are aware of mystery shopping, however, many do no know how mystery shopping is keeping costs in check for the average consumer.

Mystery Shopping Jobs
Mystery shopping is keeping costs in check for the average consumer

Branding

A common task that is assigned to mystery shoppers is checking for brand integration. Seen more frequently in businesses that have had a change in ownership.

The idea is for feedback from the shopper will give the chain owners a sense of how the brand’s identity is translating at the customer’s level. This is a way of saving money as it ensures you are getting what you pay for, as an example, you should not be paying the price of a four-star hotel room that displays the branding of a three-star chain.

Customer service

Recently, businesses have started to pay attention to how they treat their customers.
Companies that use mystery shoppers to audit customer care will benefit from that information to tweak their processes so to be more customer friendly, thus, gaining that extra expenditure of 13% consumers are willing to spend because they received great customer service.

The bottom line

Mystery is shopping is much more than the perks of gaining free food and getting paid for shopping.
It’s a tough role as shoppers will need to a detailed eye and note down everything about their experience, the description filling pages – all of this documentation is for the store owners to use for process improvements.
As long as there is a variety of choice in the places to shop, you ultimately can spend the money how you see fit.
Mystery shoppers grant you to stretch the pound by slimming the possible risk any bad experience could happen in the beginning.

Please visit our mystery shopping jobs page if you think you have what it takes to become a mystery shopper, or if you’d like to know more about the role.

Retail Maxim is a mystery shopping company.

Tips for successful customer support

Mystery shopping is all about satisfying the customer, as their satisfaction is the key component for the success of a business.

Customers are expectant of quick, efficient service; they expect not to be put on hold and will look towards social media to add a complaint or ask a question.

Below, we’ve listed a selection of tips to ensure that your customer service is of the highest standards online:

Deal with common questions

FAQs (frequently asked questions) are a brilliant way of reducing the amount of repetitive questions that are asked, by featuring a well thought-out FAQ on your website, customers will be able to see that their query may have been answered.
Include warranty information, video clips, return and exchange policies and anything you thing customers may find useful from your company; it gives a sense of being ahead of the game.

Instant responses

Automatic responses stating that someone will be replying to a query 24 – 48 hours later is unacceptable, your customers will have sought out service elsewhere by then.
Deter from automated responses and implement a policy somewhere that you will strive to get back to queries within so many hours or as quick as possible.

Speedy on social media

A majority of customer will look to social media to ask questions or complain, and because of platform not being an official means of branding for your business (more for advertisements etc.) you should be able to reply quickly, without solving the question at the present time, but assuring them you are there and have heard their request.

Privacy

A customer’s privacy should be of utmost importance, do not, under any circumstances, ask for a customer’s personal bank details.
This information will not only put them at risk, but your business is likely to make customers feel uncomfortable and they will lose trust in your brand.

Careful of jargon

Ensure that your customer service representatives understand that not every customer they come into contact with will understand the common jargon used in your area of industry.
Use clear replies and be direct when answering questions – too much detail can be confusing.

Be calm

Customer support teams will need to have thick skin to be able to deal with angry customers, it’s not professional to shout at customers who are shouting at you.
By being calm and handling the situation with apologies, it should lower the temper of the customer.

For more information on customer service tips, or our services we offer, please visit our website!

What are the long term benefits of good customer service?

Does customer service hold the key to your business success?

Having a bad experience with customer service is never positive; it only puts you off returning to a business because of said service. Maybe you’ve encountered someone with a poor attitude or you’ve had someone speak to you in an offensive manner on the phone: regardless of what it is, you’re more likely to go elsewhere if you’re feeling let down by a business. But, if bad customer service will push customers away, can implementing good service help draw them back to your business? Find out in our latest blog.

How can you increase customer loyalty and what are the benefits of this?

When you’re analysing the overall quality of your customer service, a vital indication of great service is customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is exactly what you think it means; having a group of customers who are loyal to the brand, so they’ll recommend to others and do repeat business. A study recently revealed the a massive 68% of customers leave a brand or service simply because that suffer a bad experience with the company in one way or another. This customer will, on average, talk about their bad experience with around 8 people, but this can stretch to a considerable 25. It’s more common for a customer to talk about bad experiences than good ones.

Retaining customers through loyalty

The first major benefit of providing good customer service is maintaining a high level of customer retention. It’s common knowledge that if you make a customer happy, they’ll return multiple times to do repeat business. For this to become common practice in your business, you’ll need to have well-trained customer service reps who can deal with issues and handle questions on a one to one basis, as this will ensure that their needs are met. Customer service reps who listen to their customers will go a long way in terms of customer appreciation; even if the problem isn’t solved right away, it’s beneficial to the customer as they’re happy that you’re trying to fix their problem.

Improve your employee retention to see the benefits

If you have a good team of customer service reps, who understand that they’re the representation of the company on a one to one basis, then you’ll be more likely to communicate effectively with customers over the phone and face to face. If you deliver the correct training on how to deal with phone calls, you’re more likely to increase employee retention.

Save money through brand ambassadors

Having great customer service can relieve a lot of pressure on your company to attract new customers. Delivering great service will give you a massive helping hand in attracting new clients, as word of mouth is one of the most popular ways of generating business. When you impress a customer and give great service, they’ll tell their friends about your company, so not only are you delivering great service, you’re also moulding your current customers into brand ambassadors, free of charge!

Visit our website for customer service, mystery shopping and more!

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas, from all of us here at Retail Maxim!

Why customer service is important for your business

Customer service is such an important factor to consider for your business, as it has the power to make or break it.

If customers are unsatisfied with your employees or feel they aren’t being treated as a customer should be, they will go elsewhere for their purchases and will probably even suggest friends and family members to avoid your business.
Of course, you do not want that, so it’s important to train up your employees to serve the best customer service and then monitor it, so it continues at a satisfactory level.

When customer service is high, customer satisfaction will be even higher and that’s perfect for business.

Customer service comes in many forms, and you may not even realise you’re doing them, so remember to pay attention to what you’re doing at all times.
An example? – A customer could walk into your retail store and ask for a specific item. you may not have that item in stock but you do have a similar one that does the same thing, so you say, ‘I’m sorry we don’t, but we do have another product that serves the same purpose, maybe you might interested in that?’ – That’s customer service.

Another form of customer service is over the phone.
No matter what type of business you are running, you will get customers calling on the phone – either to be asking about the hours of operation or regarding a purchase they may have recently made.
No matter the reason for calling, you employee answering should know how to answer appropriately and maintains mannerisms at all times.

People will continue to do business with you if they are treated kindly and with the utmost respect; if treated the opposite way, customers will be driven away.

Following up with customers is another form of customer service.
Showing your customers you care about the and you want to make sure that everything they have and need is working efficiently and at a standard they like, they’ll be grateful for that and will remember you.
Plus they won’t be afraid to come to you if there’s a problem they may need assistance with, and won’t think twice about recommending you to friends and family.

One last form of customer service you should ensure happens is helping your customers. No matter if they are young or old, by helping them to their car when they have quite an arm load of products, you are showing you care.
Another way is by helping them selecting the right product for them, by helping them understand which will cater best for what they are purchasing that product for.

It’s crucial to keep the customer in mind by providing them excellent customer service, if you do not, they will leave and go to your competitor.

For more information about customer service and our mystery shopping services we offer, visit our website!

What’s the true cost of poor retail customer service?

Is poor customer service in retail leading to lower sales in the sector?

The retail sector is one of the most used avenues of customer service worldwide, as customer interaction is more common with staff of the big brands compared to various other industries. Though it’s one of the biggest customer service sectors, companies on the high street seemingly suffer from poor levels of customer service. So, what can be done to combat this and if nothing is done, what effects can it have on the customer service industry?

Big brands on the high street are suffering from customer service woes whilst their online counterparts are enjoying continued growth. What can companies do to ensure survival in an ever fierce battle between the high street giants for customer service dominance? What makes a loyal customer?

Below we give you 4 top reasons to that’ll keep a customer coming back for more, ensuring that a customer stays loyal to your brand.

Be sure to monitor and analyse all forms of customer feedback

Mystery shopping is completely designed around doing just this. Need to monitor how your staff are performing in store? Just how helpful are they to the customers that visit you most? Find out all of this and more through our mystery shopping scheme. We can deliver over 10 different forms of customer service analysis, from video mystery shopping, to phone call analysis, exit surveys and more! It’s the best way to gain an insight into what your loyal customers think of you.

Consistency of information is key

Your customers will often call you for an information query, so be sure that you’re giving them consistent information across the board. There’s no point telling one customer one thing and relaying a different message to another: consistency is key. Your levels of consistency can be monitored by our telephone mystery shoppers. It’s a great way to see how you’re performing!

Give answers in a precise and timely manner

Have you made it easy for your customers to find vital information at the drop of a hat? It’s a good idea to have an FAQ section of your site (pictured) as it will usually answer all of the questions that could be asked by your customers. This will reduce customers calling up your store, so it’s a good way of keeping the communication process open without having to speak with your customers directly.

Mystery Shopping FAQs
Mystery Shopping FAQs

Multi-channel engagement

Customer service should be available anytime, anywhere, regardless of the platform that it’s being delivered on. Offer a multi channel service to all which allows a wider audience to interact with you!

What do you think of our ideas? We want to hear from you in the comments below! For more on customer service and mystery shopping, please visit our website.

How can mystery shoppers improve your customer service?

Mystery shoppers can give you a service unlike no other, but why use it?

Mystery shoppers are, quite simply, those who carry out the services of improving customer service for companies across the world. Acting as a customer, they test the customer service department as some form of auditor. Mystery shoppers worldwide carry out tasks at the places of business, on a company’s website or simply over the phone.

Unlike most real customers, these mystery shopping professionals are trained to look for specific qualities in the customer service that they’re analysing. They measure the qualities in your customer service representatives, offering feedback on the level of customer service that they receive, giving suggestions that raise the bar on customer satisfaction levels.

With these handy tips below, we help you determine whether mystery shopping is a step in the right direction for your business:

 What are the benefits of mystery shopping?

Before you sign up for a mystery shopping programme, you should consider what the benefits would be to your company. Work out what exactly you’d like to reap from the process. Some of the benefits of mystery shopping vary, but here’s what’s included:

• A different perspective! You’ll gain the ability to view your business through the eyes of the customer, learning just what your clients think of you at first impression. This is the only way to gain this perspective, as trying to gain this from someone within your company won’t convey as effectively.

• An overview of your customer service! A gifted mystery shopper can tell you what exactly works in your customer service programme and what doesn’t, allowing you to make the relevant changes.

• A spot on evaluation of what your customer service offers. Mystery shoppers will display whether your employees offer a valuable customer service experience, allowing your employees to earn the correct skills, providing a positive impression on your clients.

Mystery shoppers can accurately assess the state of your customer service, finding which area of your customer service should be corrected in your customer experience. This allows for you to fine tune any deficiencies that exist in your staff training.

Mystery shopping is of great importance to customer service
Mystery shopping is of great importance to customer service

Starting a mystery shopper program

Given the benefits above sound like something you’d wish to incorporate into your customer service experience, it’s time to start your mystery shopping program! Take these steps in order to get ready for the experience:

• Tell your employees that you are starting the program, just to make sure that they don’t feel blindsided after the program takes place. Tell them it’s not something they’re doing wrong, rather a training tool for could be used to raise the level of service offered by your staff.

• Discover what you want to get out of the mystery shopping service. Setting particular benchmarks will allow for you to monitor just how well your program is going.

• Find out which mystery shopping service will best meet all of your needs and budgets. For example, you can hire a larger company that can operate in a number of outlets nationwide but this isn’t exactly necessary if you have just one store.

Mystery shopping can be used as one of the most effective ways to evaluate your current state of customer service that’s available to your audience. A professional in the mystery shopper service will give your company guidance in ways to raise the standards of your employees, giving you a level of service that pleases all.

For more on mystery shopping programs, please visit our website.

Customer service: which brands actually get it right?

The customer service industry was created by mistake, seemingly.

It’s been outsourced to companies for the past decades and since the evolution of the internet customer service has become widespread across all mediums of contact now. Online customer service is often ill-suited to meeting customer service needs and here’s why:

  • New channels of communication have been adapted to slowly by companies.
  • New channels bringing the challenge of a single customer view has been difficult to handle.
  • Single customer view brings the challenge of data centralisation.
  • New devices and consumption habits (the Smartphone) have made older web assets somewhat redundant, proposing more problems for companies.

Yet, in 2013, many companies seemed to wake up and smell the ‘coffee’. The coffee of customer service being something that needs tackling head on as when it’s completed well it can be unbelievably important to the resulting level of customer happiness, augmenting the final product you sell.

There are many avenues in which customer service lives where seamless customer experience takes away the reliance on call centres, improving conversion and customer happiness.

Aside from the web giants making a virtue of customer experience, which brands have made recent commitments to customer service?

Besides the web giants making the customer experience difficult to match, which brands have been making increased commitments to customer service in 2013?

Self-service

A majority of customers now expect a self-service options for customer service, with many actively preferring it in modern business. Smartphone usage is high enough to influence the efficiency of any customer service operation. As self service options are digital, it’s much easier for companies to keep records of customer interaction.

Anytime Fitness

24 hour service is naturally a fantastic USP for Anytime Fitness, as the name of the company so subtly suggests. The brand’s sites have ’24 hour’ featured in title tags to avoid any confusion to customers.

Anytime Fitness makes it clear about being 24 hour

You may think that 24 hour access for Anytime Fitness customers isn’t really an example of customer service as it’s essentially the product offered, yet this isn’t the case.

If this doesn’t give you enough satisfaction, Anytime Fitness produce instructional videos to take the personal trainer out of the equation, allowing customers to maintain a fitness regime when the specific staff aren’t around. These videos are accessible in the Gyms or on the website, so it’s great for all customers. These videos are also accessible to non-gym goers, for a fee, opening up their market massively by adding a new revenue stream.

Anytime Fitness believe in 'convenience + culture+

All of this is based on the company’s commitment to their audience’s convenience and culture. Check out the membership page for ease of use and beautiful design.

Giffgaff

Giffgaff, rather famously, do not operate call centres. There’s a significant cost struck off to start off with. Naturally, some customers will ask for a phone number on support forums, but the stats for their customer service responses are great.

Giffgaff offer help online

Answers on the support forums are given by fellow customers, which is similar to the model developed by Sky, where customer service ‘champions’ are rewarded for their efforts through free stuff, product testing and sometimes an occasional meeting with the Sky team themselves.

This thread just shows the customer reaction and true feeling when one customer displayed their dismay at Giffgaff not having a phone number.

Crowd-service or P2P

AirBnB’s customer satisfaction is much higher than the classic hotel chains like Hilton, treating this as an indicator of the power of crowd service. The idea is that when it comes to P2P products in particular, the customer service is often provided by the property owner, who is more invested in the product than an outsider.

Of course, this can sometimes mean it can be harder to ensure consistency of experience for all, but nevertheless the culture is fantastic in providing good, wholesome customer service.

Barclaycard Ring

Barclaycard Ring is a similar concept to that of crowd sourcing, but it’s often on a larger scale in this instance, taking onboard customer feedback on what the service do for its customers, both small and big. These can vary from reward programs to charity work.

Barclaycard Ring rewards program

The service is currently still in infancy, nearing two years old, yet it has increased customer retention level by 25%, with Barclaycard estimating a return so far of $10m.