Even if a brand manufactures good products at great prices, a poor after-sales service experience can tarnish its reputation. Most likely, we all have had a poor experience with after-sales service at some point in our life - be it for a smartphone, TV or a consumer appliance. Whether an inordinate delay in getting fixed, application of expensive spare parts or worse, constantly reaching out to customer care with limited or no success, there are all sorts of things that can go wrong with an after-sales service experience. And it’s something that can get even the best products down or alienate customers from a brand.
Today’s customers want long-term associations with brands and hence, to serve them, leading companies heavily focus on strong distribution networks as well as establish service centers in all parts of the country.
Evolved customer expectations and preferences have made brands to actively devise strategic ways to improve after-sales services. One such tool to regularly monitor and improve service levels is by way of mystery shopping. A mystery shopping audit covers every aspect of a consumer’s after sale experience with a brand as follows:
- Service center environment: This includes evaluating the overall ambience and hygiene at the center involving look and feel, lighting, smell & temperature. Other essential elements include availability of suitable waiting area. While ambience and upkeep are not directly related to the after-sale service provided by the brand, however it is basic to have them in place for any consumer-facing retail setup.
- Staff Behavior & Knowledge: This is one of the most important aspects while measuring service experience. The key evaluation parameters include not only the interacting staff’s knowledge about customer issue, but also his/her tone modulation, soft skills, any interruption by other staff members, dedicated attention to customer etc. This aspect is supported with valid audio proofs, thereby enabling companies to devise training needs in targeted areas.
- Process Compliance: Process compliance is one of the important virtues for any brand to ensure that the service centers are adhering to the standard service processes. This helps the organizations to revisit their SOP’s and make necessary modifications, if required.
- Turn-around-time (TAT): TAT or response time is the most important factor in building brand impression/equity/loyalty in consumer’s mind. In today’s fast paced environment, consumers look for first-hand resolution. Mystery shopping measures the time taken to respond to customer complaint and whether the service center delivered as per the TAT committed. TAT is also evaluated for diverse scenarios involving different types of service defects.
- Staff Integrity: Mystery shopping also checks for any fraudulent activity at the center. For example: Charges asked for in-warranty repair cases, extra cost taken and not billed etc.
Mystery shopping is a measurement tool for companies to learn about the experiences of their customers – during as well as after sales and get a better perspective on the ground reality. Mystery shoppers can give representation of facts - whether positive or negative along with their perspectives and help customer service teams of brands identify the loop holes and drive improvements.In case you want us to help you out with after-sales service experience audits, please leave a message in the form at the end of this page.