Throughout 2020 we’ve experienced a drastic rise in interactions and experiences going virtual. We saw anincrease in online shopping as well as many businesses transitioning their staff to working remotely – and our operational audit programs are no exception.
Concerns about employee safety and social distancing have seen an increased demand for mystery shopping and audit programs to go virtual. We recently shared ourdo’s and don’ts of virtual mystery shopping, but what about operational audits? Whether you’re new to the concept of virtual audits or simply looking to refine your program, here we’ll share the top 5 tips from our Customer Success Team.
But first, what are we talking about when we refer to audits? Whereas a mystery shopper can covertly pose as a regular customer, auditors are overt and they can either pre-arrange their visits or perform unannounced visits . Because their identity and reason for the visit are known to staff, auditors can often collect more detailed findings such as taking pictures of the location or actively counting and recording item quantities.
The focus of audits are often to ensure employee compliance to a company’s standard operating procedures. In having the freedom to act in ways an everyday customer simply wouldn’t, auditors are able to ask specific, interview-like questions of staff as well as access areas of a location that would otherwise be off limits to customers.
Since the logistics of conducting virtual audits are different from in-person audits, here are our top tips to ensure your program’s success:
1. Be Consistent
Choose one video conferencing solution and stick with it. While there is a wide variety of software available, being consistent across your organization helps staff get comfortable with the ins and outs of using it and allows for coworkers to easily collaborate if any issues pop up.
2. Enable smooth communication
Company email accounts can sometimes have default settings that don’t allow users to receive attachments or external links. It is essential that all parties involved are able to receive and access these as, once an audit is scheduled, an authorization letter and meeting link will be provided. These are important because the meeting link will be how the auditor and staff connect and the authorization letter confirms the auditor is who they claim to be and have the authority to conduct the audit.
3. Set reminders
We get it. Everyone’s busy. It’s easy to forget that the audit you scheduled a couple weeks ago is coming up tomorrow! Setting friendly reminders so that all team members remember to sign into the conference call in time for the virtual audit makes the whole process more efficient.
4. Plan for success
It can be tempting to conduct surprise audits so as not to give a location advanced notice to prepare. While these types of audits certainly have their place, the logistics involved with virtual audits can make this approach messy. Virtual audits run smoothest when site managers and auditors are both properly prepared. Keeping the first contact to a simple, logistical conversation to set up a time and date in the future is a much better experience for all involved.
5. Go straight to the source
As much as district or regional managers may want to help by scheduling audits for all their locations, we highly recommend they be scheduled by direct contact with managers at the target locations. This will greatly reduce the risk of the time or date disrupting ongoing work at that location and make the process easier for both the staff on site and the auditor.
If you’d like to learn more about our audit programs, you can read about themhere or contact email@example.com.
Intouch is trusted by over 300 of North America's most-loved brands for our mystery shopping, operational and compliance audits, customer surveys, mobile forms, and Customer Experience Management software. Intouch has completed over 3 million mystery shops and counting.