By Jamie Thorpe, Measurement
What’s the worst test you’ve ever taken? I asked around the office and got a typically diverse range of answers to that question, some of them even sensible. Most related to education; or to life skills such as driving or their 25-yard swimming certificate.
But people who work in the High Street may answer differently. All too often we discover that retail workers see their regular ‘mystery shop’ as a test – or worse, as something punitive (regardless of whether or not it actually is). Ofsted inspectors, auditors and driving examiners move over – the mystery shopper is in town.
Getting employees engaged with any programme plays a massive part in its success. Get their understanding and buy-in before you even start, and the entire performance measurement landscape changes. “What did we do wrong this time?” becomes “How did we do?” when you use and present the findings in a way that helps them understand and enhance their customers’ experience.
Five ways to enhance employee buy-in to mystery shopping:
- Involve staff members in the planning – instil a sense of ownership
- Run a pilot scheme that will provide you with peer testimonials and endorsement
- Apply some creativity to branding, positioning and communicating the programme (both at launch and on an ongoing basis)
- Be open – explain the how and they why, and share the results in a constructive and learning-related context
- Include personal recognition – even simple things count, such as reading out a favourable comment from the verbatim feedback at the next staff meeting
Measurement is a precursor to learning – it’s all part of the continuous improvement cycle. Raise the bar a notch, then see how you do next time. There are very few people in this world (and especially in a customer service environment) who aren’t inspired by seeing an improvement in their performance.
And that’s certainly nothing to be frightened of.