What is Mystery Shopping?
And how does it work?
In this guide, we'll give you the INs and OUTs of Mystery Shopping. You'll learn why it is used as a strategic business improvement tool, to deliver measurable performance improvements.
We'll explain how Mystery Shopping works, who uses Mystery Shopping, and what exactly it is used to measure in your business.
And as well as the 5 biggest benefits from Mystery Shopping, we'll also explain exactly what the process is and what results can look like.
Click the dice below to jump to each key section, or just read on.
Mystery Shopping is a cost-effective, real world measurement tool, which enables you to assess your current sales, service and customer experience performance. And all seen through the eyes of your customers!
Mystery Shopping can provide detailed measurement and assessment of EVERY stage of your customer journeys, to uncover actionable insights which you can turn into business growth.
Mystery Shopping allows a business to collect both independent, objective customer service data based on precise process measurements, and also an unbiased, subjective layer of experience data based upon an individual's reported customer experience.
A professional Mystery Shopper will interact with your business in line with a pre-agreed brief, documenting their entire experience with video, audio and written reporting, and also assessing the experience against a pre-defined list of best practice sales and service criteria.
All of this provides you with hugely valuable insights into what you do well, so motivating your staff, but also what you can do better which will have a direct impact on revenue growth and profitability, and put you one step ahead of your competition.
Read our blog how psychology is a big part of improving customer service
Companies in almost every industry sector, both B2B and B2C, use Mystery Shopping to assess their sales performance.
Benchmarking their sales approach against best practice criteria, and measuring actual performance against intended process, enables a laser like focus on constant improvement.
Here are just a few examples of businesses that now rely on Mystery Shopping:
Mystery Shopping services can measure any interaction a customer might have with a business across one or multiple communication channels, depending on your particular requirements.
Each interaction or communication channel enables the production of specialist output reports, in different formats suited to the channel.
Read the blog on Measuring New Normals
Shoppers pose as potential customers, using a variety of different scenarios. Measure a mix of sales compliance and customer experience metrics.
Observe first-hand face to face or virtual online interactions between staff and customers, in branch or home visits, plus follow-up communications
Most Mystery Shopping activity can be completed within 4-6 weeks of commission, adapted and customised to suit your business sector, and specific measurement goals.
That may be specific processes, branches or staff. Whatever you want to assess can be targeted through custom briefs and scenarios.
Click each step on the typical timeline below, to see what each step entails:
DISCUSS OBJECTIVES, BUDGET, SCOPE AND TIME-FRAMES
DESIGN QUESTIONNAIRES, CREATE SCENARIOS/BRIEF, GATHER OPERATIONAL DETAILS
Questionnaire content is fully customisable and normally includes a mix of objective closed questions requiring a YES/NO answer, scaled questions and open text comments.
SHOPPERS ASSIGNED, CALLS, EMAIL OR VISITS CARRIED OUT
Suitable shoppers are selected from our extensive database, and given a detailed scenario and brief as agreed with the client. Scenarios can cover all possible customer situations.
DATA AND REPORTS VERIFIED AND SENT TO CLIENT
Reports are carefully checked before final materials are made available to the client, along with any bespoke analysis requested.
You might like to take a look at our 'Multiplier Effect' Paper, which explains how doing 3 key things in your Mystery Shopping, you will turbo-charge your business' ability to improve rapidly, and grow sales:
Questionnaires are extremely flexible, so you can focus on the areas most important to you. Consider what these are, and the scoring of key questions can be weighted accordingly.
Mystery shops are typically scored on 2 key assessment areas:
Different types of question are deployed, to ensure the delivery of robust, quantitative data as well as detailed qualitative findings within one assessment framework:
Reporting options include:
Mystery shopping is a unique methodology to see your company through the eyes of your customers.
It allows a business to collect objective customer service data through an independent third-party. It is free from internal bias, and created by professionals who focus on best practice behaviours which will improve your business performance.
Conducting regular high-quality, bespoke mystery shopping programmes offers an extensive list of benefits:
Allows sales managers to monitor how well staff interact with customers in terms of showcasing their services or products
Check how consistently staff remember to ask the right questions, collect relevant information and cross-sell related products and services
Regular measurement helps staff internalise all aspects of the sales process facilitating a confident and convincing sales pitch
Measuring sales process at each of its component stages shines a targeted light on areas that still need work. Crucial when bedding in new processes and behaviours
Actionable insights improve training programmes, enable testing, and ensure all staff benefit from shared best practice to achieve new levels of performance
The structured report framework guides individual and collective appraisal. Celebrate the highest performers with prizes or peer recognition programmes
Measure how well staff are presenting your company, and observe customer response
Ensure your staff are explaining what makes your company special
Test delivery and reaction to marketing, promotions and brand messages
Increase likelihood to recommend and gain repeat business revenue
Reinforce brand value with best-in-class customer service
Keep an eye on how your key rivals are selling themselves to the market
Benchmark your competition to maintain or achieve a competitive edge
Collect first-hand knowledge of competitor offerings, strengths and weaknesses
Be as well-informed as your customers on the options available
Innovate and improve your sales approach to stay ahead of the game
Monitor speed, quality and consistency of response across all channels at every point of the customer journey
Measure multi-stage processes to deliver a seamless customer experience however complex and long the journey
Fine-tune the creation of personalised and relevant content suited to each customer’s preferred communication channel(s) and circumstances
Optimise the individual's customer experience however they choose to interact
Click here to Schedule a Chat about your own analysis requirements.
Keep a copy of this page in our handy guide to Mystery Shopping