After buying a product or trying a service, there’s no doubt that a customer would try to evaluate his or her experience about it; and through mystery shopping, this could be used to measure the quality of the said product. For those who aren’t aware, ‘mystery shoppers’ are independent contractors hired as ‘posers,’ and their main job is to evaluate and assess the business operations. Also, they’re charged of specific tasks, such as purchasing a product or service, taking photographs, registering complaints, returning a product, and asking several questions to the sales rep.
Read on to discover the proper way on how to conduct a successful mystery shopping program.
The Importance of a Mystery Shopper Program
* To see your business through the eyes of the customer
Mystery shoppers would allow you to gather the feedback you need in order to make your business more successful.
* Evaluate the accuracy of your training program
It’s a given that you must teach your employees on how to greet the customers during the training program, and hiring someone to conduct a mystery shopping, would help you assess if your employees are really following your rules and instructions.
* Helps the company to focus on areas that need improvement
Oftentimes, there will be instances where changes in a certain area must be conducted in order to make the business more successful, and customer feedback would allow you to focus on those areas that would help you keep your customers.
Rules on Conducting a Mystery Shopping Program
* Hiring the Shoppers
If you’re not aware, this could either break or make the program. For those who aren’t familiar with this, conducting a successful mystery shopping program could be an arduous task. Thus, it’s important for financial institutions to hire a mystery shopper who has an extensive experience, especially in the financial services industry. Also, most people believe that it’s better to hire friends and family, because it gives them the privilege to save more. However, truth be told, it’s better to hire people whom you don’t know if you want to receive unbiased feedback.
* Using Existing Customers
For a few years, most businesses recruit existing customers to conduct mystery shopping for them. This could be relatively cheaper as compared to hiring a mystery shopping vendor, but it also has some drawbacks. For instance, there’s a chance that the customer could be biased, because he’s already familiar with the services being offered by that business.
* Prepare Your Inquires
Before anything else, it’s important to determine the set of questions that would help you learn the needed steps to be carried out, in order to improve your company. Likewise, this would also help you come up with strategic decisions in regard with your company’s future. However, keep in mind that it’s not ideal to have a questionnaire that’s too long, because your mystery shopper would usually have a limited time to complete the task.
* Come up with Questions about Cleanliness
It’s ideal to write a question about the cleanliness of the parking area or lot outside the business. Aside from that, you should also include a question talking about the walking path of the business, and ask if it has deep puddles or potholes during the rainy season. Additionally, don’t forget to ask if the painting lines in the parking area are clearly visible for the drivers and if it’s the first thing that they’re going to notice once they arrive in that place. You don’t want your customer to have a negative impression of your business, just because you have a poor parking space.
* Duration and Cost
When it comes to mystery shopping, consistency is the key. However, if you’re planning to save some cash, you could always do this program randomly. Likewise, the pay would often be based on the duration it takes for the shopper to “shop.” Depending on your budget, you could conduct this weekly, monthly, or whenever you want.
Overall, it’s important to be aware that you shouldn’t solely rely on mystery shoppers. It’s not their job to deliver all the information you need about the business, as well as the employees. In fact, if you’re expecting for something like this, you should know that it’s illegal. Likewise, you couldn’t use a mystery shopper to find a reason why you should let your employee go.
Lastly, a mystery shopper program isn’t just about the actual ‘shopping’ alone, but it helps you obtain the information you need in order to improve your business.