Mystery Shopping Myths: Debunked!

It is incredibly exciting to become a mystery shopper and receive your first assignment.

The world of mystery shopping, although beneficial in many many ways, is frequently misunderstood.

We’re looking into some common myths about mystery shopping and debunking them along the way!

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Beginner’s guide to Mystery Shopping!

We have all heard about Mystery Shopping, but can we really use it to make extra cash and how can we go about it? Here are some tips and suggestions to shop for free:

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Working as a mystery shopper

It is possible that in some point of your life you’ve been standing in a queue at a retail store next to a mystery shopper.

They’ll be hard to spot, seemingly shopping for a night out for essentials, but what they are doing is taking mental notes of the stores’ appearance, cleanliness, and service of the store.

There are roughly 50,000 mystery shopping trips carried out every month in the UK, as stated by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), and as more and more spending takes place online, the demand for mystery shoppers is increasing.

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How you can improve your brand experience using mystery shopping

Ensuring that your customers are receiving a consistent experience across all channels is important for them to form a positive connection with your brand.

A great brand experience is ultimately down your customer’s satisfaction with each channel of you brand, including your website, branding, employee interaction and atmosphere but bad experience with any one of those channels has the possibility to ruin the customer’s view of your brand as a whole.

It is easier on some channels that others to control the experience the customer will have. As your website, app and marketing will be entirely under your control and are offering lots of data and feedback opportunities, you can make sure that your customers are receiving great interactions on those channels. It can be difficult, however, to keep up that same consistency in physical stores.

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How to become a mystery shopper

Companies in the market research sector hire mystery shoppers to visit retail businesses and evaluate the quality of service.

Many directories listing mystery shopping opportunities have been discovered to be scams by charging shoppers to join without providing any work.

To become a mystery shopper, it is important that you follow the below steps and do your research.

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Pros of Becoming a Mystery Shopper

Mystery shoppers provide customer service feedback to a business while posing as customers.

A mystery shopper may be asked to visit a hotel, banks, restaurants, cinemas, shops, and other businesses to pose as a regular customer while they are taking mental notes on the location’s cleanliness, staff courtesy, and any other issues that concern the business owner.

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How Mystery Shopping Can Tell You More Than a Customer Survey

Gathering effective feedback about your business can take many forms, including conducting a customer survey.

Although customer surveys are the popular choice for many businesses, mystery shopping is proving to be the more effective option, and here’s why:

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Mystery Shoppers Can Improve Customer Service

From a study involving a team of over 100 mystery shoppers, it has been noted that customer experiences have been improved through the help of mystery shopping.

But what is a mystery shopper?

Essentially, mystery shoppers go into a predetermined store and will talk to assistants, buy products, and them write up a report about the level of service that was received.

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Mystery shopping uncover ‘basic errors’ at post offices

It has been reported that a recent mystery shopping investigation has uncovered some basic post office errors.

One of said errors includes an enquiry made asking for advice on whether to send items via second class.

The investigation found that although 75% of shoppers believed the service to be sufficient at local post offices, there were a number of ‘inconsistencies’ uncovered.

Staff had correctly recommended that an item should be posted second class in 39% of cases, coupled with almost 1 in 10 shoppers being unable to withdraw their desired amount of money.

Following a number of visits, peaking over 450, shoppers had commented that the queue times were ‘broadly good’, those immediately being in 60% of cases.

The report continued to state that in 97% of cases, accessibility was good or had seen an improvement.

Chief executive of Citizens Advice – those whom the report belongs to – Gillian Guy, said, “Local post offices are crucial to consumers and businesses so these changes are absolutely vital. They have the potential to ensure the sustainability of the network and protect its role at the heart of communities.

While the principles behind the reforms are right, out investigation has uncovered some inconsistencies with service delivery that quickly need to be put right. Post Office Ltd should urgently iron out these problems to ensure the new service works effectively for all consumers.

In response, Mark Davies Post Office spokesman said: “Our modernisation programme is delivering longer opening hours, greater accessibility for customers and a branch network sustainable for the future. These mystery shopper visits to a number branches at the start of the year show waiting times coming down, with 60% of customers service instantly in local branches, and the vast majority of mystery shoppers being satisfied with staff knowledge on the scenarios tested, as well as with the overall experience of their visit.

This tallies with our on-going research based on customer experiences which consistently shows over 95% customer satisfaction with the Post Office Local model.

There is always room for improvement and we will consider as a business what further steps we can take to improve service for customers, but the findings of this research, if not the narrative which accompanies it, shows positive steps forward in one of the largest transformation programmes in Europe.

Mystery shopping can be vital for a business to be able to consider their customer service and analyse what should be changed and identify what they are doing right and wrong. Have you had any good or bad experiences at your local Post Office?

Advantages of becoming a mystery shopper

Mystery shopping brings about plenty advantages for a business to view how their customer experience is.

However, mystery shopping has advantages to the shopper also. How, you ask? Continue reading to find out.

Becoming a mystery shopper is a brilliant way to earn money for those that enjoy shopping, have good attention to detail, memory and are sociable. Your job will be to go instore and shop, possibly ask questions a regular customer would ask employees and then write a report of your experience.

Among the benefits are the hours you work which can be quite flexible. Many mystery shoppers are able to work the hours which are convenient with them due to the jobs being varied. There is also the option that mystery shoppers do not have to take on a job they feel isn’t suitable for them, although it is good to keep in mind that the more jobs you accept, the superior the choice of assignments will be available to you in the future.

Again, the most attractive advantages of becoming a mystery shopper is being paid for doing something that you would regularly do. It can be an incredibly fun role. You may be asked to visit cafes, banks and retail stores. It’s beneficial for the prospective mystery shopper to include areas of interest when registering along with any particular products or service they would prefer not to try which will aid the company to match assignments appropriate to you.

Your participation in becoming a mystery shopper is advantageous to the business you are visiting to improve their services to customers overall. It is satisfying to know that you have helped make a difference, to those services that you use often too.

Do you think you have what it takes to become a part of the Retail Maxim Mystery Shopping team? You can view the criteria here!

Please visit the website for further information about mystery shopping jobs.