Mystery Audit: Enhancing Customer & Brand Experience


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Whether a customer is online, on the phone, or in person, good service is the bare minimum one expects. No company is 100% perfect at all times. Yet, customer satisfaction, particularly through the internet and on-site, has always been an important factor.

In current times, the competition is fierce and the quality of experience that a brand provides to its customers, as they compete for market share, becomes a decisive factor. Only when the brands value the customer's opinion will customers demonstrate brand loyalty.

Even the smallest part of the customer journey: the ambiance of the outlet/workplace, how well it is maintained, the background, hygiene and cleanliness among the staff, employee behavior, and product presentation are noticed by the customers when they first walk in. Each of these factors impacts the customer’s experience. Everyone today seeks a holistic experience, any small issue at any point can lead to overall dissatisfaction and impact the brand experience. Customers do notice everything and create a perception in their minds however only a few respond or share feedback. This is where Mystery Auditing helps the brands.

Understanding Customers - 

 A mystery audit experience would help to identify any faults that impede a fantastic customer experience, not only filling in the gaps of the corporate puzzle. A company can reap the benefits of increased customer satisfaction and, subsequently brand experience by providing a great customer experience.

To maximize customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, businesses constantly strive to provide the best-in-class services. Even when they give their best, they may find it difficult to reach the goal at certain times. Why do you think that is? One reason can be that brands spend most of their time promoting goods rather than determining how satisfied their clients were with the services offered to them. Brands must ensure that a customer experience assessment is completed using tools like mystery audit and assess the appropriate and inappropriate of their customer service plan to get a good grip on the situation.

Organizations can use mystery shopper audits to see the discrepancy between what a brand expects from a customer and what is happening. Any organization can evaluate its actual performance and make adjustments to bridge the gap between customer expectations and reality by combining mystery shoppers and customer experience surveys.

Today, when every brand can replicate products and technology in no time, customer experience has become the most important differentiator, even outperforming branding and pricing. Businesses from all over the globe are putting their best foot forward to win the customer and claim the title of "best in class," as customer experience becomes a new battleground.

The industry's growing interest in mystery shopping is largely due to the numerous positive outcomes that organizations have enjoyed. Better quality of service, better customer satisfaction, improved employee performance, higher employee morale, and enhanced consumer safety are among the advantages that businesses obtain from mystery shopping research. The effect of mystery shopping findings on a company's sales performance, however, is sparsely researched.

Mystery audit parameters that various industries following– 

When it comes to customer experience, no two companies or industries can follow the same approach. Even no two customers are the same or have the same expectations. This is the reason why, while conducting mystery audits, different parameters are preferred for different industries. For instance, in an e-com business, the look and feel of the outlet will have no impact on customer experience, while for a retail outlet, it becomes the major deciding factor. Let us see some such industries and their parameters:

Banking Sector-

With an increase in digital communication and a reduction of geographical barriers, regulations, and policies are being adapted accordingly. So integrating an investigative mechanism into the monitoring of financial players is valuable. Regular assessment of practices in all aspects and operations should be undertaken to encourage responsible banking, a culture of compliance, and a pro-consumer industry. Branch appearance, staff, existing customers, product knowledge, complaint handling, ATM, closure, etc. are all taken into consideration. This ensures that consumers get proper services and that the sector is stable. 

Healthcare sector-

From visits to getting clinicians to visit patients at home, this sector has changed the most during the last two years. Maintaining just the hospital atmosphere isn’t enough. Hygiene, Accessibility, Consultation, Sales, Billing, Pre-Consultation, Reception, and Exit: all of it matters to analyze CX physically and digitally as well. In everyday clinical practice, as well as in health policy design and funding, assessment and improvement of the quality of care provided to patients are critical. Incident analysis, health technology assessment, and clinical audit are a few of the tools that have been developed. 

E-Commerce Industry –

This is one industry that has seen the fastest growth over the past decade, and the pace is not coming down any time soon. Conducting mystery audits for this sector is also an interesting task. Multiple factors are considered owing to the multichannel approach of the industry. Listing some of them:

For Customers - the experience of registration as a new customer, order placement, delivery, and return journey. Cash on delivery & Cashback offers are covered in products.

For sellers - KYC accuracy, Onboarding process, Training effectiveness, Infrastructure evaluation of partners, and Partner expectation

Telecom Sector-

Owing to a dynamic regulatory, technological, and competitive environment, this sector will see a lot of opportunities and factors that affect the CX. From small things like customer interaction through chatbots to the Cleanliness of the retail outlet or the behavior of staff during the customer visit, everything matters. Some more factors can be: Fixed Assets, Basics, Branding, Grooming, Behavior, Interaction, Tagging, Digital, National, Tagging Non-Compliance, Incomplete & Incorrect Information, Service Denial, Retention Related, Security Check, etc.          

Opportunities to improve the CX-

While carrying out our mystery audits for different industries, we came across some factors that can be worked upon to provide a better customer experience & gradually enhance the overall Brand experience. These are very small details that are mostly overlooked during the day-to-day operations of any company. Here is a list of a few such opportunities:

Healthcare sector-

While visiting a large chain of hospitals, the manual processes of onboarding new patients and file preparation result in long queues. Most of the things can easily be captured using technology like self-service kiosks which can certainly help a great deal in reducing the flow at the help desk and improving customer experience.

In one of the hospitals, the Front Desk Executive missed greeting the patient upon entering the clinic. A very small gesture, but can impact the overall customer experience big time.

In various instances, the call center staff did not cross-check the availability of the doctor and booked the appointment for the patient. Working on such errors and rectifying them can enhance the CX patients receive.

When a new customer visits, not asking them for a reference leads to a loss of potential sales and should be considered a fatal communication problem. Improving here can bring a lot of clarity to the hospitals.

Banking sector-

Banks are no longer restricted to just borrowing and lending money. They now offer various services and these are available both online and offline. Some small steps which can help a Bank provide better CX are:

Educate customers about the schemes/offers available and try to cross-sell/upsell appropriate products. This might generate more sales.

Using digital touch points wisely. Insist on downloading the App or demonstrate how to use digital tools like App, Web portal, or WhatsApp & Share additional features on these platforms with the customers.

Inform about the timeline and expected resolution and give a reference number/acknowledgment. Many banks lack a proper information system. This incomplete communication hampers the customer experience and delays a lot of processes. 

E-commerce Sector-

Delivering an omnichannel customer experience on the internet, consumers can be found across all channels, and brands should be as well. The way to go is to provide a great omnichannel customer experience! It is possible to increase conversions with omnichannel marketing. Firms should make sure that their website has all of the necessary contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers. Also, live chat and widgets on the website allow for real-time interaction with prospects. The customer service department can now be available 24 hours a day and answer commonly asked queries thanks to the advancement of chatbots.

Telecom Sector-

Next-level customer experience can be created by understanding customer preferences and customized engagements. Leveraging profile and behavioral data based on prior interactions via email, social media, chat, or text and artificial intelligence to deliver a bespoke experience, with an orienting response to a conversational rather than mechanical tone is an immaculate way to proceed.

The experience gap leaves an opportunity sweet spot -

Price and quality remain top of mind for customers as they make purchasing choices. But when customers think about their interactions, positive experiences influence purchasing decisions in almost every industry but are particularly influential in healthcare and banking.

Brands must change their customer experience goals to reflect what matters to customers. When customers feel appreciated, companies gain measurable business benefits—including the chance to win more of their customers’ spending.

A study shows that more than 65% of enterprises are willing to increase their investment in customer experience innovations. Such investments are bound to impact the overall process, which can be assessed through a mystery audit. 

Mystery audit with relevant CX measurements and Customer Satisfaction surveys makes a huge impact in revealing process improvement and product enhancement on customer experience.

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