With an increasing number of U.S. businesses using mystery shopping to measure customer engagement and the behavior of salespeople, it’s hardly surprising that the mystery shopping industry is worth more than a billion dollars. But what is mystery shopping? And how do mystery shoppers help businesses connect with their end users? Here’s all you wanted to know about mystery shopping:
What Is Mystery Shopping?
A secret shopper is paid to interact with a client’s personnel: their salespeople, customer service representatives, etc. The secret shopper assesses employees’ performances based on pre-determined factors the client is trying to measure. These factors could include evaluating customer service skills and employees’ selling skills, as well as checking if employees are complying with mandatory regulations. Secret shoppers will also examine operational elements, including staff politeness, cleanliness and whether or not there is a welcoming atmosphere. The identities of secret shoppers are not revealed to a client’s staff, though staff members are usually given a heads-up about the program in order to eliminate bias.
What Does A Secret Shopper Do?
A typical secret shopping assignment involves visiting a store or restaurant to interact with staff, ask certain questions and buy certain things. Market research agencies can also help businesses maintain a consistent omni-channel presence by testing customer experience on live chats, websites, mobile devices and social media platforms. A secret shopper can also be used to understand a company’s competitors—who they are, what strategies they use to engage with customers, where they need improvement and what threats they pose to your business. All of these observations are meticulously noted on a pre-designed report. The market research agency must ensure this report is designed to target what secret shoppers observe, not what they think. In other words, it must be based solely on facts.
What Industries Use Mystery Shopping Programs?
Any business that values customer feedback and competitive analyses can use mystery shopping. For example, restaurant chains can check if staff are complying with age and ID requirements when serving alcohol. Businesses involved in senior living and in-home care can check if their employees are being polite and courteous to those they’re caring for. Companies involved in financial services must ensure their practices are in compliance with various regulations so huge penalties are avoided. Even quick service restaurants, theaters, auto dealers and banks use mystery shopping programs to improve their operations and customer experiences.
How Does Mystery Shopping Help Businesses?
It Helps You Monitor Customer Engagement
A market research company uses tools to measure how engaged your customers are with your brand. They measure social media interactions, referrals, speed of responses and more.
It Helps You Understand Your Competitors
Mystery shopping helps businesses get a better picture of where their products and services exist on the market, and it also helps businesses improve their methods of operation. Data gathered through mystery shopping can be used to measure the quality of competitors’ products, identify competitors’ target audiences, map out competitor’ store layouts, gauge how competitors’ brands are being received and much more.
It Improves Regulatory Compliance
With mystery shopping, you can monitor agents for lapse in compliance, thereby mitigating the risk of fines and negative public perception that’s based on a perceived lack of compliance. Mystery shopping also helps evaluate where training is needed.
Are you looking to improve your business using mystery shopping services? Call SeeLevel HX—one of the best mystery shopping companies operating in the United States.