Customer satisfaction surveys (CSS) (surveys that use actual restaurant or retail guests to provide feedback on their experience) versus the use of traditional mystery shoppers, has become a hot topic of debate lately. We explain how to ensure guest feedback programs provide balanced feedback.
Due to the rise of smartphones, which allow actual consumers to instantly submit feedback during a visit, smartphone surveys are a welcomed addition to the data collection industry. However, replacing a mystery shopping program with customer satisfaction surveys or instant smartphone surveys may be detrimental to the data collected. Both approaches are needed to ensure feedback has a good balance between objective data gathered by mystery shoppers and (what we suggest is often subjective) consumer feedback via customer satisfaction surveys.
Using CSS alone is risky. Some customers do not know they are going to be completing a survey until they receive their receipt at the end of their customer experience. Often times, the customer completes the survey several hours or even days after the visit, which compromises the accuracy of the data due to poor recollection of the visit. Some customers focus only on the negative components of the experience. We’ve also found that some admit to simply “pencil whipping” the survey to get to the coupon offered at the end of the survey. While this doesn’t happen everyday, we advocate a system of checks and balances that includes using traditional mystery shoppers, to validate the results received through CSS or smart phone surveys.
With a more traditional, targeted mystery shopping approach, a professional mystery shopper is sent in to obtain very specific information and is more inclined to be an objective observer providing detailed and accurate data related to the experience. Mystery shoppers are not trying to recall specific experiences days after they leave the restaurant.
CSS and smartphone instant surveys often provide a much higher number of surveys for less money, which is why many restaurant and retail chains are considering switching from mystery shopping to CSS. However, they should be validating their findings with actual mystery shopping results to ensure the objectivity of the data. We’ve all heard the saying “garbage, in garbage out.”
In addition to traditional mystery shopping, Service Sleuth offers both computer based customer satisfaction surveys and smartphone “in the moment” surveys. Contact your Client Services Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on customer satisfaction surveys, mystery shopping or additional services from HS Brands International.
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