This rather pleasing graph shows how Brakspear have improved their customer experience over the last 7 years. When we started working together they were quite ahead of their time in running a mystery dining programme with tenanted pubs, especially given that it was the middle of the credit crunch. They subsequently won 'Best Tenanted & Leased Pub Company' at the publican awards in 2014.
Contrary to common belief, mystery dining is not actually a tool to beat people with! It's a three stage process which takes time to put together and needs constant monitoring and tweaking as your teams become more sophisticated in their service approach.
1) Awareness: You don't know, what you don't know
Initially you need to know where you are on the graph above and you can only find this out by asking our Silent Customers to tell you things that you are not aware of: For example:
Maybe your customers are trying to book a table but the phone isn't being answered.
Maybe your customers are looking at your Trip Advisor management responses which are putting them off.
Maybe your customers are not returning because they find it to be too cold, too bright, too stark, too dated, too unwelcoming or just, simply, underwhelming?
Your customers will not tell you, to your face, what they would like to be done differently. Silent Customers will tell you, kindly, what your customers are experiencing because they have the advantage of anonymity.
On the other side of the coin and more importantly:
Maybe a team member has delighted a customer who has become a raving advocate and has referred several other customers to you.
Maybe one of your sites has been consistently delighting customers, above the others, but you've not been aware of it.
Constantly pointing out what staff are doing wrong is demoralising. Being able to reward team members for delivering a service experience above and beyond that which is expected, is a very powerful way of motivating change and of employee engagement.
2) Compliance: All singing from the same hymn sheet
Generally, we find that businesses who have an average of under 80% lack systems and procedures. We find that this chaos is usually generated by senior management who, not only keep moving the goal posts, but keep changing the rules of the game so the players all run around like headless chickens and eventually just give up and leave. Putting together a Silent Customer journey creates a game plan that everyone can sit down and agree on, making everyone accountable.
3) Competition: Reward motivates change and raises the benchmark
Whether you are a competitive person or not, we all like recognition when we have done something well or better than before. This has a knock on effect of keeping the standards self-perpetuating in improvement. The more consistently a company achieves 90% the more detailed and sophisticated the customer journey becomes!
So ask your-self honestly; if you plotted your own service graph over 7 years what would it look like?