Often it is through customer service that your business can develop its greatest competitive advantage. The areas most critical to the customer service experience are those in which your employees directly interact with customers, whether in person or over the phone, but these are not easily evaluated — except by the customers themselves.
This is where mystery shopping — also known as secret shopping — comes into play. Mystery shopping programs allow you to monitor customers' perceptions of service quality and take corrective action when service quality is not up to par.
Normally, mystery shoppers are trained and provided with a list of tasks and observations they must make regarding their customer service experience. This makes them much more useful as an evaluation tool than regular untrained customers, who typically cannot remember enough details to paint a complete picture of the customer experience.
Successful companies known for their customer service have one thing in common — they all include ongoing mystery shopping programs as an integral part of their marketing strategy.
HOW A MYSTERY SHOPPING PROGRAM IS DEVELOPED
The first step in developing a mystery shopping program is to determine which aspects of the customer service experience need most to be evaluated. Often these deal with issues of courtesy, responsiveness, and atmosphere. Then a task list is developed for the shoppers to follow when they are evaluating the service quality of your business.
Next a group of participants — the mystery shoppers — are recruited in accordance with any demographic requirements that may exist. The participants are then trained and tasked with visiting your place of business. Over the next few days or weeks they will shop your business and report back their findings. These findings are consolidated into a report which also highlights areas which need improvement and recommendations for correcting problems.
MYSTERY SHOPPING SERVICES
Power Marketing Research provides a full range of mystery shopping services, including:
- Planning and consultation
- Task list development
- Shopper recruitment
- Shopper training
- Analysis and reporting