Decades ago, mystery shopping used to be a tool to simply measure employee performance. Nowadays, it’s used by businesses in retail, hospitality, and entertainment industries to measure the quality of the customer experience they provide.
Mystery shopping helps identify areas in need of improvement. If one of those needs is to improve employee experiences, a properly defined and run mystery shopping program can identify that need. It goes further than that, however, as mystery shopping can also help isolate specific factors that are causing problems for the employee. Understanding where your company is failing your employees – maybe an SOP works great on paper but not so much in practice – is the first step to being able to fix a negative experience.
The opposite is also true. If your employees are finding a certain methodology easy to use or understand then chances are they’ll be using them more often with their customers. Areas like this are great to keep track of as they can fall under the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ category.
Implemented a new protocol or system lately? Trained your employees in its use? By using mystery shopping you can see how well that training has gone, and take appropriate action if it comes to light that maybe the training wasn’t all that effective.
All three of the above key points can help improve employee experiences by informing the company of areas that are functioning well – or not. By ensuring that employees have the knowledge and training to tackle changing circumstances and all systems used, a company takes the guesswork out of the actual tasks that an employee has to do. No one enjoys work when their boss insists on them doing something in a way that doesn’t work on the floor, or using a system that they’re only half-trained in.
Mystery shopping can also help improve employee experiences by building trust. Depending on the type of program you’re running, it’s important to let your employees know that there is an ongoing mystery shopping program running. Not only does this allow them to ask questions – what will they be assessed on? – and express any concerns – will the results impact their performance reviews? – thus growing trust through transparency.
You might think that telling them too much might be detrimental to the honesty of the results, but it’s more important to tell them what’s going on than to let them think that they’re being reviewed in secret. Nothing breaks trust more quickly than finding out you were being assessed without your knowledge. In addition, telling your employees about the program reminds them of what the company holds as important, and let’s them integrate that into their own day-to-day activities.
Building trust with your employees is the best foundation for a great company culture.