Mystery Shopper Campaigns: Which Metrics Matter?

Myastery Shopping CycleYour sales team is your front line. They are your strikers, your power forwards and your running backs. As evidence-based marketers we spend ample time generating leads, but in the end, we can only bring leads to Sales. It’s up to the sales team to escort them through the sales funnel.

Though it would be lovely if sales teams always performed the way that marketers and executives wish they would, rarely is this the case. Sometimes sales personnel allow valuable leads to slip through the cracks. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but often it comes down to lack of training. Sometimes members of a sales team simply aren’t asking the right questions. This is especially true in call centers. Without proper strategy and execution, leads won’t feel compelled to stay on the phone, much less purchase products or services.

Sales Quality Assurance

So what’s the answer? It really comes down to quality control.  The modern notion of quality control grew as a response to incremental industrial production in the early 20th century. The quality effort was catalyzed by the Second World War, in which ammunition manufactured in one state had to work with weapons manufactured in a different state. Though quality control was born out of a desire to standardize mass-produced products, it was eventually realized that the principles of quality control could be extended beyond products and applied to the workers themselves.

The notion of the mystery shopper grew out of brands’ desire to ensure that customers enjoy a quality shopping experience. The concept is simple: the mystery shopper puts herself through the same experience as other consumers. The only difference is that she’s on a secret mission, testing sales reps’ performance.

Mystery shopper campaigns can be a valuable way to give marketers and executives insight into sales performance. It can allow brands to adjust their strategy in order to generate revenue. However, this requires establishing success metrics that coincide with ROI.

Office Depot president Kevin Peters’ recent article in Harvard Business Review explains how when he took over as president last year, he noticed that sales were declining in retail stores, yet mystery shopper campaigns continuously yielded glowing reviews. He decided to personally oversee a new mystery shopper campaign. It came to light that the mystery shoppers were using metrics that didn’t correlate with ROI. Sure, bathrooms were clean and shelves were stocked, but sales reps weren’t making connections with consumers. As such, leads were walking out of Office Depot stores without making purchases—no wonder the shelves were well stocked!

Choose the Metrics for Success

The lesson to be learned here is that a mystery shopper campaign is only as valuable as its success metrics. This is also true when testing sales reps at call centers. A sales rep might tell you that he answers 50 calls per day, but this number doesn’t offer sales quality assurance. For example, one of the call metrics that Google offers in Google Analytics is “length of call. ” Sure, this metric can add insight into sales reps’ performance, but it’s relatively useless unless it is compounded with metrics like “hold time”, “key questions asked” and “state of relationship at close of call”. Another metric that is vital to ROI is “follow up rate.”  If follow-up isn’t handled expediently, leads are sure to be lost.

Customer Service Monitoring

With the proper success metrics in play, mystery shopper campaigns can arm call center supervisors with insight they can use to improve their call center’s efficacy. However, when testing sales reps, it’s important for call center supervisors to extend their evaluation beyond quantifiable metrics. By listening in on calls, supervisors can ensure that sales reps are not only asking the right questions, but also possess the social skills necessary to make sales. You can follow a sales script to the letter, but if your tone is harsh or you sound disengaged, opportunities are sure to be lost.

In order to maximize call center efficiency, DemandResults is currently working on tools to improve call center supervisors insight including an  app that will allow supervisors to monitor call centers from virtually anywhere. We are excited to report more developments as they come to light.



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