Mystery shopping reports provide a wealth of valuable information for managers and owners. Not only can you spot and correct service and product flaws, but you may also use graphs and charts to compare and contrast traffic trends and employee performances at different locations. Yes/No answers coupled with descriptive narratives give you a picture of your business from the customer perspective.

Be careful not to overlook how valuable these reports are to training and improving the performance of your employees. There are a variety of venues to use shopping reports to help your personnel and ensure everyone is on the same path to success and profitability.

Social Media/Email
If your company has an internal social media page – and it should – set it up so employees can access in-house company reports and summaries. Periodically post results from your mystery shopping company, emphasizing areas of success as well as underscoring areas that need improvement and encourage feedback. You can also use email to communicate this information if needed.

Personal Discussions
Discussing mystery shopping report results one-on-one behind closed doors is the best way to address subpar employee performance. Private coaching is respectful as well as gives the employee a safe haven to present their questions and concerns.

Open Forum Staff Meetings
Casual staff meetings encourage candid discussions of mystery shopping report findings. Whether at local or regional levels, these group interactions reveal challenges shared at different locations by multiple employees, which often results in ideas for resolution.

Host a Competition
Nothing inspires excellence like a little friendly competition. Whether you’re a single location or have multiple branches, employees want to outshine their coworkers. Awarding gift cards or offering monetary incentives for the highest scores from mystery shoppers inspires improved job performance, showcases the prestige of owning those prized bragging rights, and emphasizes the benefits of teamwork.

Productive Role-Playing
Role-playing is an entertaining yet highly effective training tool, especially for small groups of employees who work closely together and understand each other’s job duties. Using comments and criticisms from mystery shopping reports to create scenarios and roles, simple solutions often emerge that improve performances across the board.

New Hire Discussions
When you are screening potential employees, be sure to tell them about your mystery shopping program and how it works. If new hires know from the onset that they will be observed and evaluated by undercover shoppers, they’re more likely to adhere to policies and procedures and consistently meet company standards.

Training & Orientation
Whether you’re training entry-level staff or management, they should be well informed of the intricacies of your mystery shopping program. It’s only fair to let them review an actual report so they fully understand what is expected of them and more importantly, your company’s standards of excellence. New managers can use the reports to improve staff training and motivation techniques, as well as learn new approaches of effectively handling delicate customer service matters.

Keep the Training Ball Rolling
Since mystery shopper reports are all different and observations vary depending on seasons, time of day, traffic flow, promotions and specials, and other extraneous factors, it’s important to include them in regular staff meetings and refresher/ongoing training sessions. Referencing the reports on a regular basis also reminds your staff how important they are to giving your business a competitive edge.

Self-Serve Training
Many employees learn better through visual aids they can access at their leisure. Keep a library of mystery shopping training DVDs on hand that can be checked out for home viewing or add a link to your website where the videos can be viewed online.

Successfully managing and motivating employees to reach their full potential is a multifaceted and ongoing process. Incorporating mystery shopping program information and guidelines into the procedures promotes learning and adds value to your investment.

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