Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping Tips

Mystery shopping is one of the modern survey strategies used by companies to get feedback about their operations and products. The customer experience journey starts with building strong internal employee engagements. At the mention of mystery shopping, what comes to the minds of many is suspiciously dressed person circling around the discount rack and service centres in an attempt to observe frontline business operations.

But this is further from the truth. Mystery shopping is a contemporary tool used in market research with the objective of collecting real-time observations of interaction with sale person before, during and even after the transaction. It is more focussed on collecting actual unbiased information gathered during the course of the interaction as opposed to customer satisfaction with trails the experience of the client in the course of the interaction.

This service has widely developed in Northern Ireland such that there are now many registered companies that exclusively offer mystery shopping services. These companies do not only serve Belfast city but also in the UK and across Europe and other parts of the globe. They are established in the retail sector, Hospitality, Sport and leisure, Universities, travel, and even law. The shoppers provide an all-around 360° customer feedback which is captured in the in-house well-developed systems that are well designed to meet the specific needs of the customers.

Purposes of Mystery Shopping

Presently, mystery shopping has grown in leaps and bounds and become a widespread shopping tool across the globe. It has now been adopted by top brands like Bushmills in Northern Ireland and even by start-ups trying to roll out their new products into the market. So prominent has it become that companies, consumers rights groups and government watchdogs are adopting it in monitoring company operations.

Mystery shopping skills come in handy in observing whether companies comply with the sets rules and standards of operations i.e. on the treatment of employees, occupational safety and health policy guidelines, manufacturing standards, and employee level of knowledge about the product they sell among many others.

Today, thousands of individuals who have mastered the art of going underground and collecting the much-needed information by companies eke a living from mystery shopping. Online sites have even popped up offering training skills on mystery shopping and some adverting related opportunities. These skilled persons provide impartial customer feedback to companies from their first-hand experience which is vital for policy-making purposes, re-strategizing, production of in-demand products, and exploration into new or underserved market niches.

Customer Satisfaction And Experience

From the companies end, the customer is always a hard nut to crack, since they easily cannot tell what they think about their products unless they decide to probe them. Right from when the customer walks into a store, go through the shopping process, and leave with the purchased products, they remain a mystery to the company. Mystery shopping, however, provides these companies with a sneak peek into the consumers’ experience and provide an avenue for them to gauge their level of satisfaction. Their reports are very indispensable when trying to create new innovative ways to nurture a company’s customer base. The reports from the mystery shoppers are thus very informative.

Audit Of Company’s Employees

Mystery shopping also provides important insight into the employees’ engagement and knowledge of the products. Despite the many rules and regulations, code of conduct, systems and standards, and processes and systems, companies are still at a loss on how to monitor the service delivery skills of their employees. This void is filled by mystery shoppers who can be tasked with interacting with specific employees and submitting feedback to the management on their interaction. This ensures that employees are always on their toes in offering best customer service and familiarizing themselves with the products and system of the company.

Future Employees And Training

Besides, mystery shopping also identifies the gaps in employees’ knowledge base and help build up the required skills and qualifications for future employees. It can also inform the revision of job descriptions, promotions and demotions, motivation programs like monetary rewards, leave allowances etc. Furthermore, the received information can inform the training needs of employees so as to boost their skills and competencies.