Whenever we think about the variability in our customers’ experience, it is tempting to consider just the differences between locations. Who are our best stores, how can we learn from them – who are our worst stores and how can they improve.
The reality is that there is just as much variability in the experience within individual stores as there are between them – even our best locations have bad days.
So when considering the pros and cons of mystery shopping, I always think – “what happens if the mystery shopper comes into the best store on a bad day?” – or conversely my worst store on that rare good day. With a sample of one I risk transposing those two stores and focusing my efforts in the wrong place.
A more systematic approach to gathering feedback through surveys however is able to pull a much more representative sample of data, with which insights and analysis can be done. That’s really where customer experience management programmes are fundamentally different than mystery shopping. By gathering feedback in larger quantities, through multiple sources such as web, mobile and IVR, a CEM programme can ensure your insights will come from a variety of customers and days, allowing your best locations to clearly surface and allowing under-performers the feedback they require to improve.
While there really are no right and wrong ways to approach customer feedback, there are best practices. One of these is remembering to take both quality and quantity into account when formulating how you want to gather your feedback.