Imagine being able to get an inside scoop on your business’s operations from the perspective of a regular customer. It would allow you to see how your employees are doing and if they are meeting customer expectations. Luckily, such a tool exists and it’s called mystery shopping. This market research technique is designed to evaluate the customer experience without anyone knowing.
Here’s how it works: a professional shopper, who is usually an independent contractor from a mystery shopping agency, is hired to act as a regular customer. This person visits your business, interacts with your employees, and evaluates the quality of service they receive. Since the process is completely anonymous, no one gets to know.
Mystery shopping is a great way to identify areas of your business that may need improvement, such as customer service or employee performance. By providing you with unbiased feedback, mystery shopping can help you develop strategies to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. It can also help you see if your existing strategies are working, or if they need to be adjusted.
By utilizing a mystery shopping program, you can get an honest and objective assessment of your business’s operations. This information can help you make informed decisions about how to improve your business and provide better customer experiences.
Different Types of Mystery Shopping One Should Know About
If you’re looking for a way to evaluate your business’s performance and improve customer loyalty, mystery shopping might just be the perfect solution for you. Here are some mystery shopping types.
1. In-Person Mystery Shopping
One of the most widely used forms of mystery shopping is in-person mystery shopping. With this service, a mystery shopper anonymously visits a business, posing as a regular customer, and evaluates the performance and customer journey using predetermined guidelines.
The objective of in-person mystery shopping is to conduct the evaluation without raising suspicion from staff, allowing the shopper to obtain the most accurate information possible. By not knowing they are being evaluated, staff are more likely to act normally, providing an all-around experience of the customer journey in the store. The length of the visit varies depending on the type of indicators, the purpose of the mystery shopping, or the type of sphere being evaluated. Some common examples include restaurant inspection, retail store mystery shopping, etc.
2. Phone Call Mystery Shopping
This type of mystery shopping is an effective way to assess the telephonic performance of your employees, particularly for businesses that operate call centers or offer services over the phone. In this type, the mystery shoppers make a call to your company and then judge the service quality that they get.
The evaluation covers a range of factors, including the ease of contacting your business, the speed of answer, the employee’s greeting, their product knowledge, telephone manner and professionalism, willingness to help, and problem-solving skills. Phone-based mystery shopping is widely used across several industries, such as travel, hospitality, consulting, sales, insurance, healthcare, and financial services.
3. Website Mystery Shopping
To succeed in the digital age, businesses need a strong online presence. With people searching for nearby businesses and checking online reviews on their phones, a negative online image can be detrimental. Website Mystery Shopping, also known as virtual or internet mystery shopping, is just as vital for online retailers as it is for on-site establishments. A secret shopper will assess your business’s online responsiveness, website navigation, employee competence and product knowledge, and interactions with customers on social media and the website. Sectors such as travel, e-commerce, insurance, real estate, etc. commonly use this type of mystery shopping.
4. Hybrid Mystery Shopping
It is also known as multiple touchpoints mystery shopping and is commonly used by larger businesses that require multiple evaluations. By employing in-person, telephonic, and online mystery shoppers, accurate information and insights can be gathered on all aspects of the business. This method allows for a comprehensive assessment of the customer journey, providing a better understanding of the customer’s experience from start to finish. With the ability to assess all spheres of the business, hybrid mystery shopping provides actionable insights that can be used to improve the overall customer experience.
When it comes to mystery shopping services, not all businesses are the same. The type of mystery shopping that is most suitable for your business will depend on your industry and business model. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different types of mystery shopping, you can select the one that is most likely to help you achieve your objectives and improve your customer experience.