How Franchised Company Owners Protect their Brand with Mystery Shopping Programs

Franchise companies often find the mystery shopping programs we offer at Mystery Shopper Services such as On-site Mystery Shops, Telephone Mystery Shops, Web-Mystery Shopping, Price Audits, and Compliance Audits the most cost effective and positive way to protect their brand.

We spoke with Joel Brenner, Marketing Director for 101 Mobility, a rapidly growing mobility and accessibility equipment company, about how 101 Mobility has used mystery shopping programs to help develop effective compliance programs and training tools for their independent franchisees.

Why did 101 Mobility seek out Mystery Shopper Services?

In 2008 when we first started, there was a lot of flexibility in how we did things. But now with 54 owners and growing, it’s important to have consistency across our brand nationally.

We wanted a way to share our philosophy as well as methods to increase profitability without coming across as punitive with our franchisees.

We want them to self-mange to our standards but without sounding parental or nit picky.

The feedback mechanisms available through Mystery Shopper Services and the reporting dashboards they have developed enable us to encourage consistency with all of our franchisees.

They take ownership of the improvement opportunities, once they see the benefits.

How does 101 Mobility use a mystery shopping program, like internal audits and secret shops, to help independent owners see needed improvements for themselves?

As our company grew, we saw a pattern of success for those who practiced some simple steps, such as spending an hour in the home visiting with clients, quoting the job on-the-spot, and other personal touch elements.

We knew that making a true connection with customers and understanding their needs before starting a job made a huge difference.

There were other key ingredients to success that we’d learned but may not be intuitive to new owners. For example, we believe that how offices are laid out and the color of paint, standardized uniforms, consistent email signatures, and other small details lead to success.

Internal audits and secret shops enable us to share this learning with our independent owners in a positive fashion. It’s not us telling them what to do, but showing them through the feedback what works.

Many of these “details” show up in the secret shops as important. When they get marked down by a shopper, it appears in the report. The owners see it for themselves and understand better the importance of compliance.

Can you provide some examples of money saving and revenue earning opportunities generated through your mystery shopping program?

We created a brand measurement program called “Five Star” for our owners. It’s part of a compliance program based on scores received from internal audit and secret shop parameters. The goal is really to help every location become five star.

We’ve included a wide range of scoring parameters such as the color of paint in the offices, uniforms, how the phones are answered, and face-to- face customer interactions.

As with many growing businesses, much of our working capital is invested back into the business. It would be too expensive to measure manually all of these factors and protect our brand by ourselves. Mystery Shopper Services offers cost effective ways to help us communicate better with our franchisees.

It means we satisfactorily serve our customers and each other.