Benefits of Secret Customer Programs
Credible surveys show that 90% of dissatisfied customers, especially retail customers, don’t make a formal complaint, but rather change their shopping location or service provider. So if your profits are plummeting rapidly while your competitors are rolling in cash, it only means ONE thing – you’re losing your customers!
And you don’t have any idea why that’s so. Maybe your product isn't right, or maybe your service is not up to the industry standards. But you don’t know for sure. That’s because retail customers have an uncanny ability of appearing satisfied and happy when in reality they are frustrated with you. Most customers do so because they don’t want to appear unpleasant by complaining. In fact, a dominant majority of customers will go to great lengths to avoid public confrontation. Some may even act as if they are genuinely pleased when faced with horrible customer service, while others may go so far as tipping and complimenting members of the staff at a business establishment.
Your customers may be hesitant to point out the flaws in your products or services and the customer service provided by your staff, but you can bet that next time they will not only go elsewhere but also tell everyone else. In fact, some customers, or more precisely, ex-customers are notorious for complaining to the wrong person. They’ll tell anyone, anyone who’ll listen about the defects in your product or the flaws in your service.
You need customers who will give you unbiased and impartial feedback regarding your products or services, as well as point out the shortcomings in your customer service. But you don’t want your customers badmouthing your business in light of the knowledge they possess about the flaws in your customer service. You need a secret customer!
What can a secret customer do for you?
A secret customer can help you in some of the following ways.
Vital and Reliable Source of Data
A secret customer is a great tool for not only collecting vital data relating to the experience of customers with your products and services, but also for evaluating and measuring the levels of your customer service.
Identification of Customer Service Trends
Secret customers can be very useful when it comes to identifying trends in your customer service levels. If your customer service levels are plummeting, you need to know before you lose any of your valuable customers. It may take considerable time and effort to eradicate the factors responsible for the downward trend and restore customer confidence. Therefore, it’s better to have a continuous secret customer program to ensure that any downward trend in your customer service levels is detected and corrected well before customers notice it and start leaving.
Customer Service Benchmarks
Evaluating and measuring your customer service will also enable you to benchmark it against your rivals’ customer service. A secret customer can be particularly useful if you need to compare the level of your customer service against that of your competitors.
The quality of customer service you provide is greatly determined by the manner in which your staff interacts with customers. It is this interaction which has the most profound effect on customers' perception of your business establishment. And if your product or service isn’t much different from your competitors’, it is the quality of customer service that will be the determining factor in getting the competitive edge.
A secret customer can greatly aid you in meeting high customer service standards by helping you determine what your customers think about you, your staff and the customer service they receive at your business establishment. In light of the information provided by a secret customer you’ll be able to determine what flaws there are in the interaction between your customers and members of your staff, and what needs to be done in order to correct them. You will realise that it doesn’t take much and cost much to eradicate the shortcomings in your customer service and deliver high quality customer service. But the results of high quality customer service are tangible and can be seen in the form of increased profits.
Repeat business is vital if you desire to take your business to the next level and increase its profitability. But repeat customers and the accompanying repeat business comes from complete customer satisfaction. And complete customer satisfaction is not all about tangible things like the quality of your product; there are other intangible factors as well. A secret customer will help you in determining such intangible factors, so that you are able to use them to your advantage and keep your customers genuinely and completely satisfied with you.