What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is a procedure in which a hired person visits a retail store, a restaurant, a branch of a bank or any similar location to evaluate the quality of customer experience offered by the establishments. Many companies have a detailed checklist that has to be evaluated based on the experiences of the mystery shopper at the particular establishment. They include things like how the customer will be greeted, the maximum acceptable wait time, the temperature at the facility and also how many products should be on display.
To make sure that these processes are followed, companies hire a mystery shopping company in order to conduct regular audits at the locations specified. The mystery shopping companies have people who fit the target customer profile and they are provided with a questionnaire for evaluating the different parameters on which the facility will be judged. The mystery shopper visits the location pretending to be a genuine customer and make detailed note of things that they have been asked to measure.
The data collected by the mystery shopper is sent to the mystery shopping company and the company then analyzes the data collected from different locations in order to help the clients evaluate the level of customer service. Based on the report of the mystery shopper, the parent company can take steps to improve the level of customer service and take stock of how the outlet or franchise is performing when it comes to providing top of the line customer service.
Mystery shopping is a vital part of the customer relationship management program for any business that places service and hospitality as key components of the value proposition. Mystery shopping can be one of the most cost-effective and flexible customer relationship management tools available. It can be deployed quickly and inexpensively. Moreover, it is a program that can be modified and tweaked on the fly, giving the client access to very current market research information without expensive set-up costs.
Mystery shopping allows business managers to quickly gather reliable and quality feedback from a customer’s perspective. It is an invaluable tool for businesses seeking to evaluate a team’s customer care performance levels, training budgets and the delivery of company mission statements to its core consumer sector. Five of the most common uses of mystery shopping are: review of customer brand perceptions; analysis of competitors; review of internal procedures and processes; evaluating staff performance; and evaluating point-of-purchase materials and the retail store.