CX measurement and improvement programs such as Mystery Shopping, Voice of Customer and Audits, exist side by side in many companies, but there is more potential if they are integrated, reports Christian Steinhauser, Client Service Director at ISC-CX, in an interview.
ISC-CX offers many different types of customer experience programs and each has different goals. What are the advantages of the individual programs?
Mystery Shopping reveals what customers expect at every step of the customer journey and to what extent their expectations are met. The programs help corporate managers get to know the needs of customers thoroughly and to learn about their experience and perceptions in real time. They can also be used to assess employee performance.
In Voice of Customer Programs companies receive real-time, direct feedback from their customers. The feedback is unfiltered, so a brand can find out exactly what customers think and feel about their products and services. Customers often give completely unexpected feedback as well as ideas about new products or service improvements.
Audits, however, determine the extent to which compliance requirements are implemented at the point of sale and throughout the store. This ensures that the brand’s locations follow the same quality standards all over the world and that the brand has a uniform appearance.
Many companies are implementing one or more of these programs, but it is often the case that the programs are viewed as standing along and are implemented individually, not as an integrated whole. By combining the programs, brands can eliminate silo-thinking and enable a holistic approach.
What does that mean exactly--how can the 'big picture' be orchestrated?
We have had good experiences with the roll-out of Voice of Customer programs that are integrated with Mystery Shopping/Service Tests. The first step is that internal KPIs are defined so that different store locations can be legitimately compared with one another. After the stores are scored and ranked, the brand can then specify that the stores that are in the top 20 percent share best practices for those that are not doing well. To check whether the best practices are being implemented, mystery shops/service tests are carried out on the stores that were targeted for improvement (e.g. the bottom 20 percent) until they show improvement.
How does this integrated program continue?
The Voice of Customer program continues to run in parallel with Mystery Shopping/Service Tests and is iterated several times. Usually the stores that were slated for improvement adopt the best practices and their scores improve. The program continues and the best practices are then rolled out to the locations that are now in the worst 20 percent. It goes on and on – so that performance continuously increases in all locations.
So, we can conclude that the biggest benefit of the integrated CX programs is the increase in performance?
Exactly! But not only that, scoring and ranking the locations fuels more best practices and exchanges with one another. The motto “learn from one another and get better together” becomes actively lived. The locations that are doing poorly at the beginning not only get to see objective evidence that they are lagging, but they are actively supported in improving. This increases cohesion within the organization and creates a culture of top performance.
What role does ISC-CX play in the implementation of the integrated programs?
Since we offer different customer experience programs - even worldwide - we have the advantage that brands can get CX programs from a single source and optimize the programs concurrently. There are also two specific options for conveying store feedback for improvement. With our “reveal” program called Direct Feedback, the service tester goes into a store as if they are a regular customer and interacts with Sales Associates in a structured way. The service tester returns to the store later, reveals themselves, and gives direct detailed feedback to the Sales Associates about their earlier interaction. By deploying this method, Sales Associates’ strengths and weaknesses are identified and addressed immediately. With our Virtual Coaching program, after a round of service tests, a store can arrange an online coaching session with ISC-CX. Like Direct Feedback, Virtual Coaching includes a detailed presentation of the results of the service tests and a strengths and weaknesses analysis.