Automotive Mystery Shopping and Customer Experience Research Case Studies

Telephone Mystery Shopping with Incentives, Rewards on a Budget

An automotive client recently approached Confero for ideas on how to manage reward phone calls to nationwide dealerships. They needed Confero to conduct the telephone mystery shop calls and manage incentives (gift cards) for employees who provided information according to dealer standards.  And they had a finite budget for telephone mystery shops and rewards combined. 

The client trained dealer associates to offer two different promotions to customers calling for information on tires.  Confero developed a program for random mystery shop telephone calls over a specific time period.   The mystery shoppers listened to determine if the employee mentioned the two promotions, and then announced at the end of the call that they had just conducted a mystery shop.

If the associate was successful in suggesting the appropriate promotions, the shopper offered congratulations and gathered the associate’s mailing address for shipping of the gift card. 

Confero secured customized gift cards, mailed inside customized card carriers which reiterated the congratulations and the reason for the award. This reinforced the promotion process with winners and gave our client that second opportunity to recognize positive results.

This was an end to end solution, from telephone mystery shop execution to delivery of gift rewards to winners. The client needed to stay within a tight budget, with calls delivered until the incentive money was used.   To meet this requirement, Confero arranged the program to track daily spending for telephone mystery shops and gift card fees, and gift card amounts.  Mystery shopper accuracy was critical. If the mystery shopper awarded a prize in error, the client’s budget was at stake.  Quick quality review of the mystery shop calls was also important, because if the call was successful, remaining budget dollars needed to be adjusted immediately.  

With careful execution, Confero delivered the calls on time and within budget. The Confero team managed the rewards piece, saving the client time by procuring the customized gift cards and mailers, maintaining the card inventory and coordinating the fulfillment of the rewards to winners as well as tracking card deliveries as needed.   On top of this, easy to use reports showed management how well associates conveyed promotion information and also honed in on call transfers

If you are considering telephone mystery shops or want more insight for your current program, we invite you to read this recent CRM.com article.  In the article, Confero and other mystery shopping providers weigh in on telephone mystery shops, uses and their advantages.  You can also visit our previous blog posts:


Testing your Own Process

As part of an industry that suffers from low public trust, an automotive service company wished to audit its own processes to prove that employees were actually performing all the services expected during routine auto maintenance. In other words, the company wanted to make sure that it was keeping its promises to its customers. Confero secured shoppers who were willing to use their own vehicles as part of a technical test. Confero shoppers visited an ACE certified mechanic, who inspected the condition of the vehicle. Then, a minor part of the vehicle was altered to have a deficiency which would be expected to be found during the company’s routine service. The shoppers then took their vehicles in for routine maintenance and, following that visit, returned to their mechanics, which inspected the vehicles. This series of audits and tests allowed the company to prove its process and perfect it over time.


Testing the Test: POP and Sales Support for New Products

An automaker had partnered with a credit card issuer to create an affinity credit card program for purchasers. Customers had the opportunity to earn points toward price reductions on future vehicles. The auto maker was concerned that multiple offers to purchasers, who may or may not qualify for the credit, would adversely impact card acceptance and usage. A pilot program has begun in which auto purchasers were pre-screened for the credit card offer at the time of purchase. Enter Confero, which dispatched a team of auditor-educators to speak with sales managers of the auto maker’s dealerships in the test area. Auditors explained the program and made sure promotional materials were in place. At program end, acceptance of the card had increased and the partnership between the auto maker and the card issuer was intact.


Unexpected Benefits: Reduced Accidents

A national fast oil change service engaged Confero to conduct periodic mystery shop visits at its units. As part of the program design process, various departments within the company were asked about what they would like to see on the shop survey. As a result, several questions about safety procedures were added to the survey. The assumption was that, while a Confero shopper would be on site anyway, why not ask the shopper to check for several safety-related issues while the shopper is assessing customer service. The mystery shop program was a success, as expected, in that it identified areas of opportunity for customer service improvement. However, a significant side benefit emerged. As store employees realized the emphasis on safety, the required safety measures were apparently undertaken more regularly as they should always have been. The quick reports Confero provided allowed store managers to quickly remediate any safety deficiencies. The company saw a significant decline in the number of accidents as a result of the program. This lead to significant savings for the company.