Clandestine Tools of Mystery Shopping
Written by Charles Charles Moore
These days, mystery shopping is being increasingly used by most brand conscious companies. Mystery shopping also referred to as Secret Shopping is opted for to ensure the highest standards of customer service. It also helps the company do a reality check on whether the brand communication of their products is in sync with the pre-decided vision and corporate strategy of the company or not.
This technique implies the use of an undercover agent who visits the retail premises or certain other customer interface areas of a company in the guise of a prospective buyer for a particular product or service. There, he/she fills up a questionnaire or a response sheet giving out general estimations and remarks. These reports are, thereafter handed over to the quality assurance departments who analyze them further to determine the requirements of retraining, rehiring, or motivational sessions to improve upon the existing levels of customer satisfaction.
Which All Are the Potential Grounds for Undisclosed Shopping?
Each and every service industry that has customer service at its core like retail sales or tele-marketing benefit from secret shopping. Experts believe that a mere announcement of secret shoppers' usage enhances both sales interaction and productivity.
This is why the management needs to deal with the Mystery Shopping reports very carefully. The recorded facts or conversation needs to be shared very sensitively with the team members. The latter may benefit from these reports and their key findings only if they are taken into confidence right from the very beginning of the analysis process. This would rule out all the pessimistic thoughts in their minds and they would consider this process to be an advanced tool of quality assurance rather than an enterprise against them. They would participate in it willingly considering this shopping to be beneficial for the entire company and teams as a whole.
Why Undercover Agents Are Needed?
Irrespective of the method, one can never determine real employee behavior putting an insider to adjudge it. Human psychology requires everyone to be at their best after knowing that they are under behavioral surveillance.
Moreover, internal people are observed more often than not, having developed blind spots to the slipups and weak areas of their company. As a contrast, research professionals posing to be mystery shoppers would not only answer the questions of the report, but also would proffer unbiased opinions along with open ended feedback as well.
Helps Study Competitive Trends
Another major advantage of this shopping method is that it helps the service professionals study the competitive trends and behavior very closely. This is because undercover agents are treated as neutral observers. They are thus provided with all the information that a potential buyer would get. The employees of a particular company whereas, would never be able to get this information from a competitive brand for they would be easily identified.
Mystery shopping is a process that may greatly help every business. It can open up a host of opportunities for a business house by -
* Helping them identify customer service issues,
* Determining gaps affecting customer relations,
* Suggesting interventions like training and motivation,
* Enhancing brand loyalty in customers,
* Creating walking brands who would bring home world of mouth publicity,
* Improving the sale of the product/service, and so on.
With quality becoming too negotiable for the consumers, they naturally have started expecting it by default. This naturally gives birth to an ever-increasing demand for strong quality assurance measures and perfect customer service. And the only means of keeping tab in this case is Mystery Shopping.