An Introduction to aSecret Shopper Program ”Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” - Peter Drucker
An Introduction to aSecret Shopper Program Josephine O’Mallan Sales Lead, Aztec Recreation Center, SDSU
A program in the making… • Since 1998, the Aztec Recreation Center (ARC), SDSU, has used this internal program to rate the quality of customer service. • Our main facility opened in 1997 and continuously looks to improve every aspect of the organization. • Setting customer service standards.
View your business from a participants’ eyes. • Provides immediate & exact customer feedback. • Know what’s happening when supervisors are not present. It’s the next best thing to a hidden camera without sound! • Creates confidence in overall operations. • Strengthens retention and participation. • Recognizes and Rewards good behavior. • Employee awareness elevates customer service.
We researched the industry of secret shopping and used the basic evaluation report from Nordstrom. 1) Developed our own line of questioning. 2) Coached supervisors on how to use the tool. 3) Marketing developed numerous (reusable) scenarios over time. -Departments created scenarios and typical follow-up questions. 4) Introduced database of shops using excel. -Copy of entire database available on website. -Make use of sheet tabs to organize shops by department. * See page 1 of packet
Customer Service Standards • Does your organization have a set of documented guidelines? -Recommend a committee to develop these standards • Continuously update guidelines • See our copy of Customer Service Standards • Present them to all departments * See page 2 of packet
The Shopper Report: * See page 2 of packet
The Report Grading Process • Gather a committee from various departments to grade each shopping encounter. • Make comments on the Evaluation Sheet: -Note areas the employee could improve on. -Note areas they did well in. * See page 3 of packet
Distinguishing Poor, Good, and Excellent behavior • Participant needs to find the lost & found: *Good: point the direction of where to go. *Excellent: escort the guest to the lost & found desk and inquire about the situation. • Guest approaches the Membership counter and asks about the hours of operation for racquetball courts: *Bad: say they don’t know and end the conversation there. *Ideally: hand them a flyer with the hours or open the website and tell/write it down for the guest.
POOR customer service: • Not knowing correct information or making no attempt to find out. • Inappropriate employee-to-employee conversations. • Answering questions in a rushed and annoyed manner. EXCELLENT customer service: • Acknowledging each guest with a friendly and genuine greeting. • Demonstrating a helpful attitude. • At the end of a conversation, asking if the guest had anymore questions or needed further assistance. • Going above and beyond the line of duty.
Rewarding Employees’ Excellent Customer Service • Employees who demonstrate excellent customer service according to the committee receives a perfect “5” on their shop. • Employees get a $25 bonus • Certificate of recognition given to them by their supervisor. • *Recognizing excellent behavior like so sets an example for other employees and encourages them to strive for excellence at all times. • *Having a supervisor deliver the certificate strengthens the relationship between management and front-line staff.
Recruiting Shoppers • Where to look -Advertise on main website and within facility (ie. flyers). • What to look for -Variety in times & activities. • Profile -Looks like your average participants, but not an obvious target. -Not all professors or students. -All ethnicities. -Not just fit or good looking people.
Secret Shopper Qualities: -Thorough with attention to detail. -Timely delivery of the reports. -Good written and verbal communication. -Passion for fitness and recreation. -A limited amount of “acting” skill.
Training the Shopper • Give the shopper a brief overview of major policies & procedures. • Set a few criterions to be aware of: 1) Must wear uniform and name tag 2) Cannot eat or play with cell phone in sight • Give a test shop prior to commitment. • Set guidelines and rules for the shopper in a formal contract to be signed by both parties. * See page 4 & 5 of packet
Shopper Compensation • The ARC gives a free month of membership for each shopper report. -1 shop per month • Researched $20-30/shop. • Shopper bucks good for program/activity participation within the organization.
Shopper Follow-up 1) Tracking -Keep track of shopper activity in excel spreadsheet. -Phone/Email communication. -First 2 incomplete shops are excused -2 late shops excused (but discussed) 2) Performance Records -Calculate the Rate of Return for overall program. ie. 45/60 shops returned in 4 months = 75% ROR * See page 6 of packet
Resources • Time allocated to program -30 hours per month • Money allocated to program -$1,500 per year for bonuses awarded • Getting started • Start small: goal = 5 shops per month • Use our templates! • Use our scenarios! • Budget for bonuses/shoppers • Check out our Secret Shopper Aid Website!!
Questions?? Comments?? Open Discussion…..