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Footfall Analytics

How to test customer service performance: Mystery shoppers vs. footfall analytics

mystery customer.jpeg

Written by Tony Loxton
Oct 17

As a business owner, store manager, or sales director, you know that providing excellent customer service is key to running a successful business. This is especially true when it comes to brick and mortar locations, whether we’re talking about a retail outlet, train station, bank branch, real estate display home, or car dealership. Keeping customers flowing through your doors instead of opting to shop online or from a competitor requires making sure that your in-store customer experience is as pleasant and convenient as possible.

The obvious question, then, is what’s the best way to accurately test, monitor, and understand your store’s customer service performance? How should you go about testing things like staff engagement and checkout experiences? In this article, we’re going to compare two ways of testing customer service performance in your store: mystery shoppers and footfall analytics.

How do mystery shoppers work?

Mystery shoppers are employed usually through an agency to visit your store in the guise of a regular shopper. After browsing your store, interacting with your staff, and making a purchase, they then report back with feedback regarding your customer service performance.

How does footfall analytics work?

The most in-depth and accurate footfall analytics technology available on the market today is based on data gathered by WiFi-based footfall analytics devices. These use anonymous smartphone data to gather in-store foot traffic metrics. Based on these metrics, footfall analytics provide a range of useful customer experience insights.

Benefits and pitfalls of using mystery shoppers to test customer service performance:

One of the main benefits of using mystery shoppers to test your customer service performance is the fact that they provide first-hand ‘human’ insight into what your team does well and where they drop the ball. For example, a mystery shopper will be able to tell you that your floor staff were too busy texting to bother greeting shoppers, or that the staff member who helped them didn’t seem to know much about specific products on offer. Similarly, mystery shoppers are great if you’re looking for feedback regarding a specific aspect of your customer service. For example, are staff taking the initiative to tell shoppers about a specific promotion or special offer?

On the other hand, it’s worth keeping in mind that the feedback provided by mystery shoppers is subjective. While using a reputable agency will help ensure that your mystery shopper has undergone training and has ample experience, what constitutes poor customer service in one person’s eyes may not even register on another’s radar. Similarly, solely relying on one or two mystery shoppers to judge your customer service performance means basing important operational decisions on the feedback of a very small sample group. Even if a mystery shopper experiences terrible customer service, there’s a chance that this was the result of a once-off incident, and not the norm.

Benefits and pitfalls of using footfall analytics to test customer service performance:

WiFi-based people counters provide real-time footfall analytics, 24/7. Combined with sales data, they provide a wide range of insights that give you ‘big picture’ visibility of how customers engage with your store. Here’s a list of some of the most important metrics WiFi-based footfall analytics solutions allow you to measure:

  • Dwell times (how long visitors tend to spend in store)
  • Bounce rates (how many visitors leave shortly after arriving)
  • Walkbys (how many people pass by your store without entering)
  • Customer flow (how visitors move around your store)
  • Conversion rates (how many visitors actually make a purchase in-store)
  • Customer loyalty (how many visitors have been to your store before, and how often)

Because you have access to all of these metrics over a long period of time, WiFi-based footfall analytics provide accurate and reliable insights, as opposed to feedback based on a single experience. Another benefit of footfall analytics is that if you install sensors at multiple locations, you’re able to compare store performance metrics. This allows you to improve the customer service of low-performing stores by modelling the operations of high-performing stores. Another benefit of footfall analytics is that it allows you to respond to customer service problems in real time. For example, if your store experiences unusually high foot traffic and the checkout process is clogging up as a result, you’re able to open additional checkouts and put extra staff members on the floor to speed things up.

Of course, there’s one thing that footfall analytics simply can’t provide: first-hand, human feedback. As valuable and reliable as foot traffic data is, only a human being can put their finger on why a particular interaction or experience made them feel the way they did. Want to find out more about how WiFi-based people counters can help you understand and improve in-store customer service? Download our free whitepaper, Go Beyond the Door, here

Download our retail white paper - Go Beyond the Door

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