Customer Service during the pandemic was something that was not on most people’s radar. For many small businesses, hospitality especially, they did all they could just to stay afloat. As we begin to vaccinate more and more people, businesses are beginning to open up again. With this new reopening comes some challenges. Some previous employees are not returning to work. Good help is becoming harder to find for some industries. As a business owner, you may find yourself in any or all of these challenging situations.
As crazy as it may sound, I believe this is the very best time to create a way to gather customer insights and to evaluate the customer experience. One silver lining for a reset it that it allows a business reinvent themselves. No longer should you just do the status quo. Stepping up your internal measurements by starting with how your customers see you and what they feel can be improved upon.
1. Evaluate Customer Service Levels Before You Get Busy
Unless your business allows you to be present 100% of the time, you need mystery shopping. Mystery shopping measures what you train. Training employees takes a lot of time and resources. Isn’t it worth the time to evaluate its effectiveness? This allows your employees an opportunity to learn. It can do wonders to improve your business by increasing customer service.
Sending in evaluators to measure things like initial greeting, rapport building, listening skills, cross sell or up sell, follow up, etc. can be very eye opening. Most owners believe they know what is happening in their place of business. Once you mystery shop your locations, you may find an entirely different situation. One that can cost you a lot of money.
Beginning a program now is smart because it allows you to see areas that may need improvement before you are back up to 100% capacity. Fixing those areas can be well worth the investment!
2. Gain Customer Service Insights
This may be the best time to gather customer feedback on services, programs, products, etc.. that your business sells. Most people have had to change their way of life for the past year. They are working remotely, teaching their kids at home, shopping differently, etc.. In other words, your customers have changed. How have they changed and how will it impact your business? What can you do now to insure they think of you when they do start going out more regularly again?
Listening to your customers will improve your business by tapping into what is most important to them. Once you have a good understanding of what they are looking for, you can update or add items that may influence their purchases.
3. Competitive Intelligence
Researching your competition is always a good idea and now is no different. Do you have the same competitors as you did a year ago? What are they doing differently? How do their service offerings compare to yours?
What about their pricing? Have they increased or decreased? Gaining these insights now can be of great value in positioning your business down the road.
How do their service levels compare to yours? A great idea is to send your employees in to your competition and use the same evaluation form you currently use for mystery shopping. This not only shows your employees the importance of this type of measurement, they will come away with the differences between your business and the competition; good and bad.
Just taking some proactive measure now will increase sales and profitability down the road.