The root of CRM is customer service. You wouldn’t need software or systems to help manage your customer database if you didn’t care about customer service. But you do care. Your business cares. So in order to perfect your CRM, you have to start at the beginning: the customer. To know what’s best for your customers in order to better maintain their needs for the future, you’ll want an inside connection to their thoughts. Secret shopping is a relatively new concept that can be extremely beneficial. Here are things you can learn from a secret shopper:
The personal experience:
Having someone pose as a customer can show you how
your employees respond to different scenarios. Ask your secret shoppers to not eseveral things regarding just how personal the experience felt. Base your requests on the things your employees are trained to do. Things as simple as a hand shake to greet the customer, an introduction to call the customer by name and an offer to follow up are often missed opportunities both in exceptional customer service and in CRM.
You expect your employees to be direct extensions of how you as
the manager or business owner would handle each transaction. This means your employees should be the product experts. Depending on how your employees interact with customers, whether it’s face-to-face or through
an online chat or forum, this can help teach you where to further train
your employees (i.e. if they are chatting, they can easily copy/paste details
exactly as you want them shared but if they are face-to-face they need to have a way to remember what needs to be said.)
Tone and energy:
When around management, employees will be professional, courteous
and everything else they are expected to be but when left on their own,
sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes, employees have bad days, are tired from
things at home, or have other stuff on their minds and their energy level and enthusiasm about your company and products might suffer. It’s important to ask secret shoppers what they thought about these things, not because it’s expected that employees are in perfect moods all day but because it’s vital to your company what kind of impression your employees are leaving on customers.
There are a few different ways of going about secret shopping including hiring an outside company to find shoppers for you and paying them a small fee for their time. You could set up hiring secret shoppers internally as well by offering either cash or a discount of some sort. Email a list of potential customers to see if any are interested – you can incentivize a customer by offering a discount if they participate. You can also send out
surveys after transactions are completed to see how the employee did. This
option is the most popular but has some faults. Some customers won’t remember the transaction. Some will just fill it out to enter to win an incentive you may have offered so their answers could be less than honest. But mostly, this leaves a huge gap. You can’t send a survey to someone you don’t have information on. If your employee talks to someone but never gets their information or completes a transaction, you’ll never know how that customer was treated.
Your job of managing your customer relations will be significantly easier if customers actually want to continue to do business with you so make sure your customer service is stepped up and if you have a boss over you, make sure you are always giving 100%. You never know who might be reporting back on how you do.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources.
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