Mystery shopping is the process of recruiting and paying individuals to provide feedback on company protocols, services and products. Pre-qualified customers go to a store location, purchase products, services or interact with employees. After the transaction is complete, mystery shoppers log the feedback into the company system by reporting on the quality of the service, products, or compliance with regulation. They also perform certain tasks such as purchasing products, asking questions, registering complaints, or behaving in a certain way. This allows a company to identify how well it is delivering on brand promises by using the customer experience. In addition, mystery shopping allows deficiencies to be identified and resolved.
As the world becomes more and more connected to real time data, mystery shopping is fast becoming a more viable option for evaluating services. Of the three customer research tools, customer satisfactions surveys, mystery shopping and customer intercepts, mystery shopping is the most revealing and actionable. Shoppers are required to enter their feedback within 24 hours of visiting a company. Most usually log the feedback directly after the visit. This feedback can be used to improve the customer experience and allow for competitive analysis. By so doing, companies can target their resources and understand the customers’ point of view more effectively.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of mystery shopping lies not in the customer feedback but in helping employees. However, using this research tool shouldn’t be about getting employees in trouble, but rather about letting employees show off their skills. When used correctly, it can help identify training needs, make employees aware of what is important in serving customers, and promoting the customer-employee relationship. Mystery shopping is a good way to keep employees on their toes. For example, Five Guys burgers and fries releases mystery shoppers every two weeks. In addition, the owners often frequent locations around the country. Their belief is that training employees to 100% means nothing if the managers they work for don’t hold that standard.
Our expert, unbiased mystery shoppers offer a complete, unvarnished, and unemotional view of the quality and consistency of the customer experiences at the ground level across all business channels. This provides the information and insights needed to protect the brand, continually improve customer interactions, and correct problems before they impact business. Mystery shopping offers a great way to measure CX effectiveness. It also offers a uniquely potent source of competitive intelligence. By collecting unbiased, emotion-free intelligence about both your own organization and your competitors, you can identify competitive strengths and weaknesses and quickly make adjustments to gain the advantage. Our mystery shopping teams understand your industry, including specific customer triggers, performance benchmarks, and other channel nuances. As a result, they know how to collect the deep, meaningful insights that enable you to make concrete, measurable CX improvements.