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Effective Coaching Is Critical To Mystery Shopping

Use these best practices to create an unparalleled brand experience for members.

Many credit unions use mystery shopping to measure sales and service performance, but few invest in the proper training and guidance necessary maximize return from these efforts.A MemberShoppers.com study examined 33 client credit unions that used a proprietary mystery shopping system over a 3-year period in order to determine what gains were made in servicedelivery and what factors were driving them.

Among all credit unions surveyed that utilized mystery shopping, the median member service score improved significantly to around 9%. But top performers were able to improve scores by more than5% in 90 days, or over 13% in three years. When it came to sales, the gap between the median and top performers grew even more pronounced, with top performers improved their sales scores by 21% in three years.

Improvement In Member Service Scores Over 3 Years
Source: MemberShoppers.com.

In a follow-up survey among these top performers, it was revealed that coaching and accountability were the most cited reasons for their dramatic improvement when compared to their peers.

Best Practices In Coaching

Simply putting a standard shop report in front of a team member and asking him or her to review it is a mistake. This leads to a focus on the score rather than a focus on the behaviors that create improved service. A better strategy for coaches is toprepare ahead of time for a conversation. MemberShoppers.com users, for example, download a coaching guide with each shop that includes a planning worksheet and focuses the conversation on performance improvement.

Start With The Positive

Don’t use results just to show what the employee is doing wrong. Focusing exclusively on areas where that team member got a low score can lead to feelings of underappreciation or discouragement.

Keep It Conversational

If a doctor told a patient that their blood pressure was high, but didn’t tell them what they could do about it, they’d be frustrated. The same is true for team members. Never share shop results with a team member unless you have time tohold a coaching session and explain how they can improve.

Look For One Thing To Improve

Sometimes a team member scores poorly on a number of behaviors. Rather than making a laundry list of improvements, focus on the one thing that would lead to the greatest improvement in the person’s next shop.

For example, a person who does not smile or make eye contact with members would see great improvement in the score just by changing those two behaviors. By focusing on a single area, credit unions can show employees that they have the power to improve their own performance in even a short period of time.

Ask Good Coaching Questions

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment. The best way to challenge employees is to ask good coaching questions.

Examples of questions to ask include:

  • What led to your improvement in this area?
  • What specific behaviors can you adopt that will make members feel more appreciated?
  • What can you do to make sure you remember to use the member’s name every time?

Follow Through

When credit union leadership notices a team member exhibiting the agreed-upon behavior, they should let them know. If they see them neglecting to use the behavior, they should provide immediate correction. Don’t wait until the next shop to tellthe individual they are not doing something right. If the only feedback team members get is from the shoppers, they will focus more on their assessment and less on providing great service every time.

For credit unions who want to learn more about how top performers coach for sales and service results, join Constance Anderson, president of MemberShoppers.com, for a presentation on effective coaching measures. Learn how to use positive reinforcement,daily one-minute coaching, and effective coaching conversations with anyone your credit union employees.

Complimentary Webinar

Effective Coaching Using Sales and Service Measures
June 13, 2012, at 9 a.m. Pacific/Noon Eastern
Click here to learn more and toregister.

MemberShoppers.com is a leading mystery shopping provider to credit unions in the U.S. and Canada. Their mission is to help every credit union create a legendary brandthrough comprehensive measurement of the touchpoints that comprise the member experience and development of consistent coaching to achieve brand standards.

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
May 27, 2014

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