Is Valuable Customer Insight Hiding in your Spreadsheets?

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Jul 28, 2011 by Confero Inc.

If your company collects customer feedback, comment cards, store visit or field audit report information in spreadsheets, you may be missing out on the information’s maximum value. Comparisons and correlations of the data collected provide key insights that you may miss if the information is hidden inside multiple spreadsheets managed by multiple people.  Here’s a prime example:

One of our mystery shopping clients was concerned that the mystery shopping report scores were very low compared to the district manager audit information.

Turns out, the district manager audit reports were housed inside a spreadsheet maintained in operations.  An administrator would collect handwritten audit reports and key report information into a spreadsheet.  A monthly summary of the spreadsheet results was produced to show an overall audit score for each store visited that month.

At monthly operations meetings, senior management would review reporting from various reporting sources: customer feedback surveys, field audit reports, mystery shops, etc.   Meetings were long and multiple directives resulted, asking different departments and administrators for more data because some things just did not make sense. This client decided to give our store audit reporting feature a try.

Instead of hand-writing reports and sending them to headquarters’ administrator for data entry, district managers now enter their store audit reports online or via Smartphone.   Headquarters receives results more quickly and in the correct format.  The results are automatically compiled with the company’s cache of field information and are housed with mystery shopping reports.  District managers love the process; it’s much easier to enter a report online or via Smartphone than to handwrite reports and fax them.

The big winner, however, was our client.  Once management viewed information side by side in one reporting system, they could see the clear disconnect between audit and mystery shop scores.  The client’s district managers were required to revisit any store scoring less than 80% within three days of the audit.  In this economy, district managers are typically stretched pretty thin as they are managing more and more units.  There was a natural inclination to make sure a store scored 80% or moreso that a revisit would not be required.  Obviously, this violated the intention of the 80% rule.   The client now requires repeats based on combinations of specific deficiencies, rather than on an arbitrary overall score.  They manage field reporting in real time, rather than waiting for compiled month end reports. Senior managers can log in anytime to monitor store visit reports, mystery shopping reports and customer feedback all in one place. The result is increased speed toward improved performance.

Many companies have similar processes that may need improvement, especially those involving spreadsheets and multiple reporting vehicles.  With online reporting, greater efficiencies result. What valuable information may be lurking inside your company’s spreadsheet reports?

Tagged: customer experience, secret shopping, customer service, mystery shopper, confero, mystery shopping, secret shopper, customer surveys, reporting, reports & insights,

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