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Have you ever wondered what kind of experience your customers are having?

Everyone knows that it takes a great deal of marketing for your company and products to be found, and a fantastic customer experience to build loyalty. It only takes one bad customer experience, however to lose that loyalty forever.

To maintain the level of standards their customers are accustomed to, many companies have begun secret shopping their own companies to learn what’s really going on in their own backyards. We recommend secret shopping your own company periodically to ensure the customer experience is up to snuff.  Use these tips to successfully secret shop your own company.

Evaluate Presentation

Presentation is everything. The way that your company, store, or website is laid out will significantly impact whether your customers deem you worthy of their business. If your website or venue is cluttered, disorganized, or difficult to navigate, customers are likely to look elsewhere. Take an objective look at how easy or difficult it is for your customers to find what they need.

Assess Customer Service/Relations

After their first impressions, a customer’s next feeling about a company will be derived from the level of customer service they receive.When shopping in-store, are customers greeted and offered assistance by your employees? How  quickly are their inquiries answered? How do your employees speak to customers on phone calls? Whether it’s dealing with a customer complaint or offering technical support, your team should be courteous and professional at all times. Put your team to the test and ask yourself – if you were a “real” customer, would you feel valued, or as though you were a burden to the person on the other end of the line?

Measure Response/Turnaround Times

If there’s one thing people don’t like, it’s waiting.  With on-demand everything and sites that load in fractions of a second, it’s crucial that your response time is quick. If your customers wait for what they perceive to be an unreasonable amount of time before receiving a product delivery, a warranty replacement, a rebate, or a callback, they’re not likely to remain customers. What’s more, they may discourage their friends and family from buying from you. Try making an online purchase, submitting a web inquiry, and calling your company to determine what your turnaround times really look like.

Consider Companywide Consistency

Conducting just one secret shop isn’t enough to see the full picture of what’s going on within your business. Consistency from one employee to the next and between store locations is critical. Your customers should be receiving the same quality of service and care across the board. If you notice that things are not being handled with consistency, this should serve as an indication that your company training may not be up to par.

Other Things to Remember

Some employees can have negative view of secret shopping because they want to be supported by management. While you certainly want to get a feel for where improvements can be made within your company, you’re also on the lookout for what’s going right. When discussing the results of your secret shop, be sure to highlight problem areas as opportunities for growth and training that will make work smoother and easier for your staff while also offering praise for exemplary service.

Are you ready to secret shop your company? Tell us how it went, and what worked for you!