Mystery Shopping and Customer Experience Research Case Studies

Restaurant POP Audits Show What to Focus on and Where

A large fast casual restaurant approached Confero and needed detailed information on displays of point of purchase (POP) materials at its restaurants. The company had invested significant effort into creating and advertising the promotion, and execution at the unit level was critical its success. They wanted to ensure that the restaurants promoted the special offering through its materials, so that customers were immediately aware of it from both the outside and inside areas of the restaurant.  Specifically, they wanted to know if the restaurants displayed the current promotional materials at various places: drive-through menu board, other outside areas, inside menu board, register top, counter area, and food bags.

Management desired photos to see which POP materials were displayed in the different areas, and to determine the level of variation in execution of POP displays.  On the auditors’ reports, the photos also served as validation of the answers to the closed ended questions. Programming of the survey was critical, as management needed a way to summarize and compare results of all audits. Information from the POP photos needed to be translated into analytical data, so that the company could quickly summarize the results and provide feedback to units.

To add value to the visits, auditors visited both the drive thru and inside of the restaurant. They also reported on whether restaurant employees offered an upsell or mention of the promotion at both places. Through one audit, the company could learn about communication of the special through POP materials and its own employees' efforts to upsell.

To gather this information, Confero deployed auditors nationwide to visit over 3,900 locations in 22 major metropolitan areas.   The auditors took photos of both inside and outside POP materials and completed a survey following the visits. The auditors’ reports included the 6-7 photos of POP materials taken at each location. Using Confero’s reports, restaurant managers were able to view a snapshot of each visit, as well as weekly report summary, customized for their preferences. The data showed a summary of overall results for 3900 audits, as well as the ability to drill down to individual details such as which display areas were missing the required pieces, and which locations were not promoting the new special to its fullest. As a result, restaurant managers were armed with helpful information to improve the promotion’s POP presence and promote consistency across the footprint.

Telephone Mystery Shopping with Incentives, Rewards on a Budget

An automotive client recently approached Confero for ideas on how to manage reward phone calls to nationwide dealerships. They needed Confero to conduct the telephone mystery shop calls and manage incentives (gift cards) for employees who provided information according to dealer standards.  And they had a finite budget for telephone mystery shops and rewards combined. 

The client trained dealer associates to offer two different promotions to customers calling for information on tires.  Confero developed a program for random mystery shop telephone calls over a specific time period.   The mystery shoppers listened to determine if the employee mentioned the two promotions, and then announced at the end of the call that they had just conducted a mystery shop.

If the associate was successful in suggesting the appropriate promotions, the shopper offered congratulations and gathered the associate’s mailing address for shipping of the gift card. 

Confero secured customized gift cards, mailed inside customized card carriers which reiterated the congratulations and the reason for the award. This reinforced the promotion process with winners and gave our client that second opportunity to recognize positive results.

This was an end to end solution, from telephone mystery shop execution to delivery of gift rewards to winners. The client needed to stay within a tight budget, with calls delivered until the incentive money was used.   To meet this requirement, Confero arranged the program to track daily spending for telephone mystery shops and gift card fees, and gift card amounts.  Mystery shopper accuracy was critical. If the mystery shopper awarded a prize in error, the client’s budget was at stake.  Quick quality review of the mystery shop calls was also important, because if the call was successful, remaining budget dollars needed to be adjusted immediately.  

With careful execution, Confero delivered the calls on time and within budget. The Confero team managed the rewards piece, saving the client time by procuring the customized gift cards and mailers, maintaining the card inventory and coordinating the fulfillment of the rewards to winners as well as tracking card deliveries as needed.   On top of this, easy to use reports showed management how well associates conveyed promotion information and also honed in on call transfers

If you are considering telephone mystery shops or want more insight for your current program, we invite you to read this recent article.  In the article, Confero and other mystery shopping providers weigh in on telephone mystery shops, uses and their advantages.  You can also visit our previous blog posts:

Patient Communication in Healthcare: Is it Clear?

A medical device manufacturer approached Confero about filling in the blanks on an important element of the company’s sales process. The manufacturer needed details on how doctors’ offices presented their product’s information when they received phone inquiries about the device. What did prospective patients hear when they called to inquire about the product and the medical procedure? The manufacturer provided training for the office staff at nationwide practices on just how to handle the phone inquiries, and they desired to assess its effectiveness.

Confero’s telephone mystery shopping provided the answers. Factors that greatly impact the manufacturer’s sales results were measured, including staff product knowledge, ability to answer questions confidently and an invitation for a consultation with the doctor. Among other findings, the information revealed that during 70% of the calls, the physician’s office did not invite the caller in for a consultation. The manufacturer also learned that staff did not communicate clearly how the device solved the medical problem, a key factor in patient understanding and one that impacted patient willingness to visit the doctor to learn more. Confero delivered these findings to the manufacturer quickly via web-based reporting. The results provided a solid sample of data upon which the medical device client could base future training initiatives.

Compliance Audits Fine Tune Menu Tests

Compliance audits play a vital role in preparing retail locations for marketing tests.  As an example, a quick service restaurant client needed to confirm that a sample of restaurant locations displayed the appropriate merchandising materials for a new menu item.  Without the audit, it would be difficult for management to accurately measure the new item’s sales impact.

Confero created detailed auditor guidelines that included clear descriptions of the merchandising materials and photos of correct displays.  Auditors used high-quality cameras to photograph indoor and drive thru menu boards at the location.  They compared photos to the POP guides to determine if the restaurants displayed the appropriate materials.  Later, they ordered the new item and photographed it to provide data on the consistency of the appearance of the new item.  Within 24 hours of the visits, they uploaded results and photos for each restaurant location.

Confero conducted the audits within a 5-day timeframe, and the company received results immediately following completion of the review team’s quality assurance step.  This quick turnaround allowed the company to ship materials quickly to those locations that did not have the new merchandising materials.

Compliance: Are all Your Customer Service Reps Answering Inquiries with Correct Information?

Our client operated a large customer service center and maintained responsibility for responding to thousands of calls and email inquiries each day. Our client was concerned about the consistency of email responses to customers. In particular, the client was interested in knowing whether email inquiries about the same issue were responded to with the same information.

Confero devised a program that allowed mystery shoppers to anonymously make inquiries without using their personal email accounts. The shoppers asked a series of pre-determined questions, provided by our client, and then made note of how long it took to receive a reply. When the response was received, the mystery shoppers also captured word for word details in the email responses by uploading them into our Compass reporting system. We granted online access to these raw reports to our client, whose team reviewed the responses for technical accuracy and then assigned an accuracy rating to the reply. This allowed our client’s management to evaluate the timeliness, consistency and professionalism of staff email communications. Confero delivered this information quickly via our Compass online reporting system, so that management was able to make adjustments as needed in this important communications area of their organization.