'Try doing business with your company – I have and it was embarrassing', says Patricia Seybold says in her book 'Customers.com'.
One of the companies who asked us to undertake an audit of customer expectations and perceptions decided t do just this. The Directors were trying to understand the tactical things that were going slightly wrong and the reasons behind them so they could be put right. The campaign is an on-going one so effectiveness is being monitored continually.
The company had several sites in all parts of the country. Each had different types of expertise and so it was important to them that operators were not trying to handle enquiries that they didn't have the expertise in. The aim of this telephone 'mystery shopping' campaign, was to find out how customer enquiries are being handled at each site. Each quarter 120 phone calls are seeded to these sites. They are made at various times of the day, using a set of pre-prepared questions. We then prepare a report with the findings.
The first exercise found that many of the first points of contact at all the sites tried to handle enquiries that were really beyond their ability. While it was very creditable that the staff were trying to take responsibility for answering callers questions, it was rather worrying that they actually gave answers that were not ideal.
This has been very useful in enabling the company to identify where they need to train their operators and so improve their service to customers.
We were thrilled to find they are already taking the findings on board. After the first report we needed to telephone one of the sites and found that the operator was now using a much more friendly form of greeting.