We see clients across sectors driving their businesses with mystery shopping programs, but none are so important as customer-service driven business like retail. It has been said that almost everything in business is able to be copied – a logo, a product, a mission statement – but no one can copy your customer’s experience in your store.
So we sat down with General Manager of Spencers TV & Appliance, Roy Hannah, to hear how he as used his mystery shopping program to drive the kind of customer experience that aligns with Spencers’ brand promise.
Can you provide an overview of your business? How long have you been in business and how many employees? What is your role and how long have you been there?
We have been a family owned and operated business in Arizona for 44 years now. We have 10 locations and a central warehouse. 2 years ago we became an Employee owned (ESOP) company. We have just over 200 employees currently. As General manager I have many roles; I am one of the buyers, manage a store location, manage some of our advertising, etc.
Where are you headed as a business? What kind of growth or management goals do you have?
If you aren’t growing you are dying. We strive to be the best solution to the Phoenix market in the appliance category (low price leader, best customer service, most knowledgeable sales team in the industry). Our goal is to have the largest market share of retail appliances in the Phoenix market.
What challenges were you facing, and what motivated you to solve them?
The biggest limitation to our growth has and always will be the number of great people we can add to our team. People make or break the business, we constantly look for the right people to join the family. Our motivation is and always will be serving our customers, employees, and their families to the best of our abilities. We need to constantly train and evaluate our services in order to keep our level of service up to the standards our customers expect.
Why did you choose our Mystery Shopper Program to help solve this problem?
It gives us a behind the scenes look at the way we’re serving our customers and allows us to use it as coaching to keep our staff sharp.
What kind of shops are you conducting? How have you found the process?
We send in shoppers to 10 locations, and each location is shopped monthly. We focus the shoppers on asking product questions to test staff’s product knowledge as well as the service level. They also review the location for attractiveness, merchandising/product placement, etc. We are a part of BrandSource, and since other brands in their umbrella mystery shop, we are able to benchmark each location’s performance against other brands in the BrandSource family.
The whole process has been easily customizable by your team and communication has been great from your staff.
How have you and your company benefited from your mystery shopping program?
People seem to make better decisions knowing shoppers will come in to ask questions they should know. With each location able to be benchmarked against others, there’s a friendly competition and pride when good scores come in. Acknowledging the top performers sets the right standards for the rest of the brand locations.
What would you say to other businesses facing similar challenges as you did?
Don’t rely on your past accomplishments to carry you forward. It’s what you do today that counts. You need to earn your customers business each and every day which requires constant upkeep and growth.
Would you provide us a quote that sums up your feelings about your mystery shopper program?
You don’t know what you don’t know. Take the opportunity to shed some light on your people from a different angle and you’ll be surprised at what you can learn. On one hand you’ll end up with confirmation that some of your team are doing exactly what they should and you can recognize/praise them for it. On the other hand you’ll undoubtedly find some areas where you can and should improve.