4 Keys to Designing a Successful Secret-Shopper Strategy
// By Lisa D. Ellis //
It’s no coincidence that people who like the Apple brand tend to be loyal customers, keeping all of their technology purchases within the Apple family. This is because Apple goes to great lengths to ensure its customers always have a very positive, consistent experience in stores, online, and by phone, according to Steven Maskell, chief client officer and partner at SeeLevel HX, a customer experience organization based in Atlanta that serves a range of clients, including those in health care.
So how does Apple do it? The secrets to Apple’s success — and that of so many other popular brands — are many, but they share one common element that can apply to health care organizations looking to maximize their potential.
The Path to Successful Customer Service
Companies like Apple typically employ a well-designed secret-shopping program (also called mystery shopping) to ensure that products and experiences continually live up to customers’ expectations, keeping them coming back for more. These programs allow companies to hear the customer’s voice and see things from the customer’s perspective. That’s why SeeLevel uses mystery-shopping programs as part of its approach to help businesses and organizations gain more traction in the marketplace.
Maskell says health care organizations that want to achieve similar results can use secret shoppers to constantly monitor their performance and find out how to make improvements to keep people within the system. He points out that satisfied customers refer family and friends, which means providing consistently good customer service also helps grow more business.
“About 30 to 40 percent of new business or growth typically comes from existing customers, so organizations need to ask what they are doing to leverage that and to promote positive word of mouth,” Maskell says.
There’s no such thing as a canned secret-shopping program. Every organization is different. That means your plan has to be nuanced to meet your specific needs. Read on to learn how to get started with a secret-shopper program at your health care organization, or how to refresh an existing program to make sure it provides the positive outcomes you expect.
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