Written by KBA Director, Colin Wilson

Let’s face it. Competition is becoming tougher and tougher. The world appears to be getting smaller with digital technology offering shop fronts that make it hard for the average consumer to decipher who’s who.

Everyone is after your business, grabbing your clients. No longer is it the local competition, it is global. With smarter digital technology – the hunters are out there, stalking your clientele. But do they offer the whole suite of end to end value, service or ongoing support? Start-up businesses do have a competitive edge because they are in growth mode with newer systems and technology. They have nothing to lose, their clientele is low and they’ll go to any lengths to build it up. Meanwhile, businesses that have been in it for the longer term are feeling the pinch. Outdated systems, larger wage obligations and overall higher operating costs puts huge pressure on the business owner, especially if margins become tighter. So, what’s the one common equaliser in today’s world?

Customer service.

To stay competitive, you need to be regularly mystery shopping your own business’s performance from a customer experience perspective, as well as your competitor’s. You need to always be working at this for that competitive edge. This process is not about price, but perceived value and client experience. There is a saying, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer’. This has never been truer than in business. Stay tuned to what is coming through and move with the market. Our Taxi industry is a great example with the emergence of the unexpected – Uber.

Companies with staff and multiple departments need to ensure that as a team you are delivering with consistency. You need to make sure that dealing with your organisation is easy for your customers – be there when they need you!

Here are the important things to look for when mystery shopping your business:

  • Incoming phone calls answered within 3 rings in a cheerful, positive voice;
  • Transferring a customer – minimal wait time;
  • On entering your business, a customer is greeted in a positive and friendly matter;
  • Staff engaging with every type of customer, treating them as number one (think very first customer arriving on opening day);
  • Thorough staff knowledgeable of products and services;
  • Getting the best outcomes for the customer in the most effective way;
  • Staff taking ownership and responsibility – not redirecting any blame to suppliers or team members;
  • Delivering on what’s promised and then exceeding expectations; and
  • Thanking the customer – asking: is anything else you can do for them

You put systems in place for a reason. Make sure your staff use them 100%, so if something does go wrong, you can fix it internally through your processes and continue to function as an effective team.

Once you are satisfied you have all of this in place, benchmark it against some of your competitors to find out their strengths and weaknesses.

In business, we never bag competitors, but knowing what they are doing today and may do tomorrow – helps our own business stay competitive. Losing a client to a competitor is always a hard knock, but when that client comes back to you, you know you have done everything right. That’s because you have benchmarked yourself. You have listened to what your customers want and taken pride in what your company delivers.

Larger organisations or franchisees commonly use a rating system on customer experience to measure client satisfaction. Consumers are always encouraged or pushed to fill in a customer survey online after the event of dealing with that company. There is a proven product in the world that many organisations use, called NPS.

The Net Promoter System (NPS), enables a company’s customers to provide feedback and rate their satisfaction level. NPS is based on a total satisfaction level and not just a one-off experience with a customer. NPS is a simple questionnaire to measure, track and support a company’s progress in building advocacy and performance against its competitors. Through NPS, each company can determine where the positives and negatives may be – what areas of the company customers are happy with and not unhappy with. NPS allows the total level of satisfaction with the company, to be measured. NPS is scored from 1 – 10 and the following are what customer scores reflect:

0-6 Classified as Detractors, customers who are not satisfied with the service they have been provided.

7-8 Classified as Passive, meaning customers are only satisfied, but would not promote the company.

9-10 Puts customers in the Advocate field, meaning not only are customers satisfied with the service, but will more than likely promote the company and remain with the company.

Mystery Shop Article Image


In a smaller business, an NPS System could prove cost-prohibitive, but there are other ways to monitor what your company delivers. The closer you are on your delivery the better you can fix it, by knowing what you need to do you can better control the outcomes. I believe in today’s world, really knowing how your business is performing against your competitors is key for survival. Using your staff to mystery shop or compare things with your competitors helps to improve employee engagement of what your business is trying to achieve through your Mission, Vision and Values.

You need to teach your whole company about the value of your customers and why it’s so important to look after them. Download our 10 Steps to Excellent Customer Service below. If you would like more information about this article, or help in mystery shopping your business, please contact us. I hope the above has helped you with some valuable advice and ideas.

If you need help in building your business – contact Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE

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    About The Author

    Colin Wilson

    Director and founder, Colin Wilson drives Key Business Advisors with determination, passion, and motivation.

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