Mystery Shopping and Customer Loyalty

The mystery shopping report is long established as the objective tool for measuring performance of your onsite leasing personnel… BUT in giving you that glimpse into an interaction with a potential customer you can also see behaviors that contribute to engaging and building the kind of trusting relationship that leads to loyal customers as well.

If you have a shopping program in place or are interested in starting one, consider the following:

  • Does the mystery shopping report allow for the shopper to comment openly on their experience rather than just answering a number of Yes/No questions?
  • Do you utilize audio and video recordings to observe the interactions between the mystery shopper (AKA customer) and leasing professional?
  • Are you asking the “right” type of questions about the customer interaction?  A successful sales approach includes technical and emotional components.  Do your questions gauge the level of engagement by the customer?   Do your questions identify if and how the relationship between a customer and leasing professional is unfolding?  What about the “technique”?  Are these “technique” questions direct and focused on ensuring the leasing professional is taking specific action as part of the sales presentation?

The sales approach is about balance – balance in the sense of directing and persuading the customer to do business with you while also establishing the beginning of what is hopefully a long term relationship.  Just think, if the customer does not enjoy their experience, connect with the leasing professional,  or understand the value of living at this community, you probably ALSO lost their recommendation to a friend or family member!

Should I ask a mystery shopper for this kind of feedback – or – should I ask a real customer?

The answer is BOTH!

Your real customers may be inclined to give you their brief feedback on a limited number of touch-points, provided they don’t feel their time is wasted. The best practice is to keep things SIMPLE for them if you want to elicit their buy-in, and hence their support, to provide you with valuable information about their experience.

With a mystery shopper, you don’t have to worry about those considerations. You are paying for this service, and the shopper must provide you with all the information you request. With a shopping report built to mirror your internal sales training, the shopper can address whether or not your onsite staff are delivering according to company protocol and expectations to your telephone, onsite, and even Internet customers.

When you ask the shopper to share their feedback and accept their perspective as you would the real customer– embracing the shopping report as an opportunity to improve – then you get not only a tool to measure against your established training program and company expectations, but you gain insight from an objective and non-emotional perspective.  While the shopping report captures a moment in time, it allows a deeper understanding of how the sales process is being delivered to potential customers.

For almost three decades, Ellis has been the premier mystery shopping company for the multifamily industry, offering an array of shopping products that can be customized to fit your specific needs, and providing you with training and other references to help you build the best onsite leasing team possible. We also offer a resident feedback program that goes far beyond traditional surveys – helping you understand who your customer is, where you can improve at the property level to increase the perceived value of those customers, and ultimately increase retention and profitability.

Ellis wants to be your partner in success!