In its own mystery shops, Auto Trader found that while 50% of dealers replied to any form of contact from a customer (email, voice mail, telephone call, text etc) within 24 hours, the remainder did not respond at all. However, the increase in measurement in this area is improving response times.
Trevor Mather, Auto Trader chief executive, said: “Improvement is not only down to processes, but the people. The bigger dealer groups are getting the message and are responding to all customer enquiries. But finding and motivating your people are critical.”
Managers must interpret the results correctly
Sergeant admits mystery shops have a reputation for being a nuisance for dealer staff, but he maintains the level of annoyance they cause depends on how managers interpret the results.
Mystery shop results could be used as a stick to beat the sales team with or as an indication of where processes are failing and an opportunity to improve. Good managers will choose the latter, said Sergeant. “Even the worst mystery shops, and I have seen thousands over the years, generally have good parts in them. It’s about using the good parts and seeing where the performance of the staff member can be improved.
“There are various ways of incentivising staff and some of our programmes that are the most effective are where there is an incentive, so the staff member is not losing out financially on a potential sale with the mystery shop. They receive commission if they follow the sales process through and score highly.”
The stigma of using mystery shopping can also be taken away by letting staff score themselves after watching their own mystery shop video.
Employees are usually quite hard on themselves and score themselves lower than the actual mystery shopper.
“By implementing mystery shops that way, it takes away the ‘big brother’ scenario,” said Sargeant.
“It allows the individual to evaluate their own performance and see how they can improve. If all sales executives treated customers like mystery shoppers, then there is no doubt that sales would increase.”