Mastering Your Telephone Sales Mystery Shopping Program
By Doug Kennedy
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
With most hotels and call centers seeing an increase in inquiry calls as demand rebounds in markets, it is more important than ever for your frontline sales representatives to maximize their call conversions and total revenue sold vs. goal. Depending on the type of lodging operation or call center, and of course your targeted market segments, this might include group sales managers, reservations agents, or even front desk staff.
One great tool for maximizing your team’s overall sales effectiveness is to implement an ongoing mystery shopping assessment and coaching program. When properly ...view middle of the document...
Over the years KTN and other mystery shopping providers have taken steps such as these to minimize this from happening:
* Use a variety of mystery shopping callers to avoid voice detection.
* Use mystery shopping callers of various ages, genders, and with a diversity of accents.
* Prepare in advance with caller profiles that match your market segment. For example, if you have primarily a drive market, mystery shoppers should most often indicate they are calling from nearby regions.
* Prepare call stories that match the real reasons guests travel to your hotel.
* Block caller ID if necessary.
Even with the best effort to avoid detection sometimes a good agent will still be able to figure it out before the call ends. This is especially true when shopping corporate hotel salespeople, who often ask for company names and check line while they are on the phone. In these cases when everything else has been done to minimize detection, just remind the salespeople that this is their chance to shine and to show how well they can use the sales strategies. Encourage them to view it as a role playing opportunity.
* “Real callers wouldn’t ask that.” Another frequent complaint of agents is that their real callers don’t ask questions; they don’t want all of that information; most of them just want the price.” Again this is often a legitimate issue, especially with untrained mystery callers who ask too many questions, or questions that are obviously ridiculous. Yet once again it seems the agents who score the lowest often raise this as an issue. On the other hand, I have frequently heard stories where a salesperson “just knew” they were being mystery shopped because someone was asking a lot of strange questions, but then it later turned out to be a real booking. To minimize this as a challenge, make sure your mystery shopping provider takes time to learn about what real callers are asking in today’s world of over-informed, multitasking callers who have more often than not researched online before calling.
It should be noted that many organizations are increasingly implementing call recording systems, which then solves the above two pitfalls and instead allows for real calls from real callers to be used for assessment and coaching purposes. Call centers have numerous systems such as NICE, WITNESS, and OAISYS, all of which are becoming more affordable as a capital investment, especially when they can also be used for guest honesty verification. Even individual hotels and resorts can now use inexpensive, web-based recording systems that require no additional equipment; instead calls are recorded directly from your inbound 800 numbers running through their systems. Hotels can secure it directly from providers such as Guest Direct or eStara
* “You didn’t reach all my agents.” Depending on the size of your staff and your telephone configurations, this is often the biggest “non controllable” mystery shoppers encounter. It’s a bit...