Mystery shopping is a practice utilized by many retailers, hotels, restaurants and banks to measure and receive feedback on the customer experience. “Secret shoppers” are hired to mirror consumer behavior and document their experiences. While not commonly deployed at that scale by small business owners, the concept validates the importance of fact-checking the actual customer experience against the perception or assumption of that experience.
In the era of gathering many 5-star reviews to make your insurance agency stand out, are you also finding opportunities to gather critical feedback to evaluate actual performance and identify areas of improvement? Sources of honest, constructive feedback can include:
Clients. Asking your clients, especially those who best represent the clients you want more of, for honest feedback on how well you meet their needs, or how you could be of better service to them may provide the best clues available. Consider finding opportunities to push beyond a “You guys did great” answer to get to those areas of improvement affecting client retention and cross-selling.
Staff. Is your agency a work environment that welcomes open dialogue and suggestions on how things could be done better? Communicating flaws in behaviors, processes and procedures is the first step to taking the necessary corrective actions. Developing a mutual trust between you and your staff to give and receive honest feedback will pay off in the long run.
Mystery shopper (even your own version). As the value of customer experience becomes more widely recognized as a critical success factor, mystery shopper services have responded with products and services that specialize in nearly every vertical, including insurance. Can’t afford a customer experience consultant? Leaning on a mentor or business professional you trust to help assess simple phone interactions or the quoting process could be helpful in evaluating how your agency responds to different client exchanges.
The difference between mediocrity and excellence usually comes from a desire to continuously raise standards of performance. Soliciting critical feedback can help your agency shine a light on areas to focus.