Case Study

 

A non-intrusive TNA
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (S) Pte. Ltd.
Mystery Shop to Identify Training Gaps Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

“This Customer Experience Evaluation project allowed Coffee Bean to objectively assess the customer service standard at their outlets and make the necessary performance improvements and appropriate staff retraining.”

 

INTERVENTION

 

In the service industry where there is direct frontline customer engagement, mystery shopping is often used to gauge customer experience. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf had embarked on the mystery shopper’s programme since 2002. In the interim of sourcing for an alternative mystery shopper provider, STADA had approached the company on this initiative of a student practicum. They decided to embark on this journey with STADA for the student to assess the service standards from a fresh perspective. This will enable mystery shopping as an intervention to effectively being accountable to their customers.

 

SOLUTION

 

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf F&B company embarked on a Customer Experience Evaluation exercise in March 2010 to assess the overall customer experience and identify the gaps in customer engagement. As part of their practicum project under STADA’s Professional Diploma in Training and Development (PDTD) and with the guidance of a mentor, a project team of four students identified and assessed the key customer touch points making up the service cycle map of the overall customer experience and engagement. 

 

The PDTD programme prepares professionals with the knowledge and orientation skills of training and development to meet the human capital development needs of business across all industries. The last module is a practicum for students to apply acquired classroom knowledge in real world application and the mystery shopping service audit is a non-instrument training needs assessment to identify service gaps and provide training solutions. 

 

The project team posed as mystery shoppers to experience Coffee Bean’s customer service quality first hand at all of their 45 F&B outlets. The evaluation data was then collated, analysed and the results tabulated. Based on the scores, the top and bottom three performing outlets were identified. The exercise highlighted certain service gaps in the overall customer experience. Appropriate staff training and non-training recommendations to close these service gaps were proposed to the management while a training programme outline was also developed. 

 

These findings were communicated to the district managers and outlet managers. Based on interim customer feedback, performance improvements have been made in certain sectors. The mystery shopper project served as a baseline report of the service audit. Another team is currently conducting comparative study against this result to assess the effectiveness of the training interventions instituted. With the effectiveness of this service evaluation exercise, Coffee Bean has requested that the next mystery shopping project include a competitive study to help them assess the effectiveness of their intervention following the first mystery shopper audit done in March 2010. 

 

SUMMARY

 

This Customer Experience Evaluation project allowed Coffee Bean to objectively assess the customer service standard at their outlets and make the necessary performance improvements and appropriate staff retraining. 

 

KEY LEARNING

 

  • For the service industry, mystery shopping as an evaluation tool provides a good insight into customer experience and engagement standards.

  • It helps companies identify and rectify service gaps and improve service standards.

  • Mystery shopping is an effective service audit and non-intrusive training analysis tool for the service industry.

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