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Common Mystery Shopping Misconceptions

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shopping is the process by which businesses use a faux customer to measure, test, or analyze specific parts of the company without employees knowing that they are pre-recruited and pre-qualified. Mystery shopper are usually recruited through third-party sources and trained on how to shop, what to look for, and what to do. These shoppers are given specific details on what tasks need testing and what service level they should expect.

Often, mystery shopping involves a specific task or assignment. For example, the shopper may be asked to confront an employee about an issue and record the level of customer service they receive. This information is then compiled in a report and given to managers to see how their employees are doing in real life situations.

Myths and Misconceptions

While mystery shopping is certainly valuable and useful for many companies, there are some common myths and misconceptions floating around the internet that don’t do mystery shopping justice. Here are a few of those:

  • Mystery shopping is the primary means for measuring customer satisfaction. Mystery shopping is certainly valuable and effective, but it should not be your only form of measuring customer satisfaction. Mystery shoppers are often reporting on small, isolated events and cannot be asked to provide big picture views of total customer service. You should complement mystery shopping with surveys, studies, audits, and focus groups.
  • Mystery shopping just gets employees fired. While an extremely bad report could certainly necessitate the need for taking action against an employee, mystery shopping is not a means for firing employees. Most mystery shopping trips focus on the store environment as a whole, as opposed to a specific employee. The goal of mystery shopping is to improve your store’s performance, not justify firing a single individual.
  • My store is too small for mystery shopping. Again, this is false. Mystery shopping can take place at any business, regardless of size. The goal is to provide the manager or owner with a clear view of how customers perceive the day-to-day operations of the business. Whether you have 5 or 500 employees, mystery shopping can be of value.
  • Mystery shopping is only for restaurants and retailers. For some reason, people believe that mystery shopping is only for restaurants and retailers. This is completely false, as some of the most effective mystery shops are conducted in hotels, banks, salons, and other service industries.

The Consumer Insight

At The Consumer Insight, we are a full-service customer experience management provider that focuses on connecting clients with valuable consumer insights. We do this by providing services like mystery shopping, customer surveys, compliance audits, competitive intelligence, and instant rewards. For more information on how we can help your company improve its customer service and engagement, please contact us today.