What mystery shoppers can tell you about your business

Wondering what the experience is liking a customer who is visiting your business is difficult as being a business owner means your staff will be well-behaved when you are around. But what about when you aren’t?

One of the ways to find out how the average customer experiences the services your business provides is through hiring a mystery shopper.

Mystery shoppers are normal people who will visit your business to use your services and/or purchase a product. Upon their visit they will be making observations about the friendliness of your staff and the experience they offer the average customer, the cleanliness of your facilities and how easy it was to get their request attended to, they will proceed to make a report of their findings. It is essentially one of the best ways to view your business through the eyes of the customer.

Below we’ve listed a few of the things mystery shoppers can tell you about your business:

Employee customer service skills

One of the first things mystery shoppers will help you evaluate is the customer service that is provided by your employees and the skills they have. They will make note of how your employees greet them and if the staff are attentive and friendly. The reason your employees customer service skills are of high importance is because they are a face to face representation of your brand.

Efficiency of processes

There may be a business that as recently acquired a new point of sale that is believed to be the appropriate tool for the job. Yet an employee uses it to ring up a purchase a client has made and the machine doesn’t work which could lead to be a time consuming process to sort out; your customer may be getting impatient. A mystery shopper will relay what the experience for the customer is like letting you know whether any systems need to be updated.

What you don’t know

Another benefit of hiring a mystery shopper is the fact they will tell you what most customers will not. There is a high percentage of customers that will not say if they are unhappy with a product or service; they’ll take the easy way out and seek elsewhere. Although, they don’t tell you if they are unhappy with something in particular, the percentage is equally as high that they’ll tell other people, friends and family, essentially leaving a negative review.

First impressions

Mystery shoppers can walk into any store for the first time and notice things that may have been overlooked or ignored by you or employees. They will provide you with a detailed description of their first visit, their impression and right any flaws in the store.

Keep in mind that these are only a few things that mystery shoppers can tell you about your business in order to keep you updated about the service you are providing.

Please visit our website for further information about mystery shopping and our services.

Is mystery shopping a real job?

It is likely that you are aware of mystery shopping, however, many do no know how mystery shopping is keeping costs in check for the average consumer.

Mystery Shopping Jobs
Mystery shopping is keeping costs in check for the average consumer

Branding

A common task that is assigned to mystery shoppers is checking for brand integration. Seen more frequently in businesses that have had a change in ownership.

The idea is for feedback from the shopper will give the chain owners a sense of how the brand’s identity is translating at the customer’s level. This is a way of saving money as it ensures you are getting what you pay for, as an example, you should not be paying the price of a four-star hotel room that displays the branding of a three-star chain.

Customer service

Recently, businesses have started to pay attention to how they treat their customers.
Companies that use mystery shoppers to audit customer care will benefit from that information to tweak their processes so to be more customer friendly, thus, gaining that extra expenditure of 13% consumers are willing to spend because they received great customer service.

The bottom line

Mystery is shopping is much more than the perks of gaining free food and getting paid for shopping.
It’s a tough role as shoppers will need to a detailed eye and note down everything about their experience, the description filling pages – all of this documentation is for the store owners to use for process improvements.
As long as there is a variety of choice in the places to shop, you ultimately can spend the money how you see fit.
Mystery shoppers grant you to stretch the pound by slimming the possible risk any bad experience could happen in the beginning.

Please visit our mystery shopping jobs page if you think you have what it takes to become a mystery shopper, or if you’d like to know more about the role.

Retail Maxim is a mystery shopping company.

Mystery Shopping: FAQ

Mystery shopping provokes many questions: what it is to what the minimum age to become a mystery shopper is.

What is a mystery shopper?
Someone who is considered a mystery shopper will pose as a customer, all the while assessing the customer service they are receiving by the company or organisation.

How can I become a mystery shopper?
To apply for the position of a mystery shopper, you can view our criteria and apply for a position: Mystery Shopper Criteria

What does mystery shopping entail?
The role of a mystery shopper can be done via email, website survey, face to face visit or home visit.
It’s quite a lengthy list.
What about Telephone Mystery Shopping? Or better Video Mystery Shopping?

What type of person has the ability to become a mystery shopper?
The qualities that are sought out for when looking at potential mystery shoppers are exceptional memory skills, observational and writing skills.
Those who desire to be a mystery shopper must be committed to their work, should be flexible, have the ability to meet deadlines but must be enthusiastic and reliable also.

Can mystery shopping be a full-time profession?
It has yet to be done to make a full living out of a mystery shopper role, as assignments vary with locations and many clients can be specific, as an example, a client may require a female between the ages of 18 and 26 to go to a retail store.
Mystery shopping is perfect for someone who is looking for a side job earning them money.

Are there any disadvantages of becoming a mystery shopper?
There aren’t any disadvantages per say, although once as assignment has been set, it must by all means be seen through from start to finish, within the applied deadline.
Work must be done effectively and efficiently – it should never be revealed that you are a mystery shopper if you are suspected to be one.

Is there a minimum age of becoming a mystery shopper?
There is no official age limit for becoming a mystery shopper, although if you are given an assignment and you are under 18, permission will be required from a parent or guardian.

Do I need qualifications to become a mystery shopper?
To become a mystery shopper, you must be able to speak, read and write in English competently and must have exceptional grammar and punctuation skills for reports that will need to be written.
It is also quite beneficial for you to have access to a computer/laptop with internet and email.

For further information on mystery shopping and our services, do not hesitate to visit our website!

Mystery shoppers: the benefits

Times has evolved from surveys and questionnaires of rating customer experience, mystery shoppers are the new method to extract customer satisfaction.

Below we explore the benefits of employing a mystery shopper within your organisation:

New experience
Some mystery shoppers you have employed may have already visited your company prior employment, but others will be experiencing something entirely new, which means no biased opinions that will affect their view of your business.
This is an opportunity to learn what the experience is like from someone who is trained to give your feedback, similar to the way a real customer would view the sales process.

Customer satisfaction
Mystery shoppers are specifically trained to evaluate customer service, which will give you an insight into the satisfaction of your customers.
You’ll be able to find out if any of your employees are behaving unpleasantly towards customers, which inevitably it leading to low satisfaction scores, and you’ll also be able to see how your employees work when you’re out of the office.

Low cost
Depending on the company and the shopper, mystery shopper services do tend to be at a low cost. It’s something that doesn’t require much investment, to get the sort of feedback you’re receiving.

Keep employees on their toes
Employees that are aware that a mystery shopper may be visiting their store, will be more likely to excel in providing excellent customer service to every customer, knowing that they may be being evaluated.

For more information on mystery shopping, visit our website!

Why is using a mystery shopping service important?

What importance does mystery shopping hold today?

As we all know, mystery shopping is process of going into a physical store and evaluating the overall performance of the employees. The mystery shopper goes in pretending to be a simple shopper, visiting the store for the purpose of purchasing an item. This shopper is either employed by the store or an external company, assessing the employee performance and submitting a report.

There’s no specific requirements essential to become a mystery shopper, as you don’t need to hold a certain appearance, qualification or manner, you’re simply blending in with all of the other shoppers. Those who hold a massive flair and passion for the field will enhance the levels of customer service in the store and these people are requested highly in the service.

Although being a mystery shopper is incredibly fun, it’s good to remember that mystery shopping is still a serious business, one that’s clearly structured to aid the service of stores around the world. It’s important to hold a few traits in order to deal with the mystery shopping process, like reliability, professionalism and levels of trust you can offer a company. Apart from these traits, you should remember that shoppers should have a way of transportation, literate skills and good memory.

Mystery shoppers don't require specific traits
Mystery shoppers don’t require specific traits

The stores that use mystery shopping are using this to massively boost their sales by improving their levels of customer satisfaction through improved customer service. Mystery shoppers are hired in order to increase the sales of the store by giving employees pointers on how to improve their performance. The service is not only useful for evaluating the performance of the staff, it’s also vital for checking the service available to customers from their business rivals. You can compare the two levels of customer service to find areas that need improvement or changing. This allows the problems to be rectified faster than usual, increasing the number of customers visiting the store through word of mouth recommendations, boosting the sales massively for businesses nationwide.

Before considering hiring a mystery shopping service, you should take a look at the existing level of service that’s already in place at the business. This will give you an insight into what needs boosting in your business, so doing your own research is good preparation for the shopping service. If you conduct an audit of the employees, you’ll be sure to receive a look into their work performance, but don’t tell them about the incoming mystery shopper service. Doing so will affect the results, as they’ll be extra alert in their service, causing inaccuracies in the findings.

So, what do you think? Would you be interested in a mystery shopping service?

If you are, please visit our website here or call us on 0844 875 5505 for more info!

Mystery shoppers’ wanted by Thames Valley Police

Thames Valley Police are calling for hundreds of “mystery shoppers” to go undercover and test the service it provides to the public. Volunteers are being asked to go incognito and quiz policing staff regarding matters like missing pets and asking for directions.

Anybody who signs up and volunteers for the scheme will each be handed a separate task – requesting different things from the police and in turn, filling out a survey which will give vital feedback to the Police on how they perform when dealing with public figures.

A message has been sent out by the Thames Valley branch of the Police, which reads: ““The purpose of the Mystery Shopping Programme is to assess how Thames Valley Police perform (including our strengths and weaknesses) and to identify any areas where we might need to make changes or improvements.”

They later added to the message that they were “not able to offer any incentive or reimburse expenses” of things like petrol used by volunteers in the mystery shopping programme, though this doesn’t come as a major surprise to those interested.

The scheme comes after a newspaper in Oxford (The Oxford Mail) had reported that 12 people had completed questionnaires that were used to measure the impact of cutbacks on Police Station opening hours.

Three years ago, Thames Valley Police brought back the amount of public access hours to their police stations by up to 70 per cent. Though this may seem a considerable number, it’s allowed savings of over £600,000 since its beginning.

Natalie Wallace, Spokeswoman for the Police Force, believes that the scheme will assess the performance of front counter services, allowing the force to identify potential shortcomings in their service. She added that the Police Force were looking for anywhere between 300-500 new volunteers across the Thames Valley area.

She said: “They will be given the task and they will have 28 days to get their results back in so they are able to choose when and to which station they go during that time. They won’t be required to do anything like report crime or stolen property.”

The tasks are set to include asking the front desk for advice when reporting a lost dog/item, or when asking for directions to a building or place in the local area.

The mystery shoppers will supply the Force with general feedback regarding the levels of customer service they received, whether that be from the Front Counter or whether the information they received by information, helpful and friendly.

If you’re interested in helping the Thames Valley Police Force, please visit their website here.

How can mystery shoppers improve your customer service?

Mystery shoppers can give you a service unlike no other, but why use it?

Mystery shoppers are, quite simply, those who carry out the services of improving customer service for companies across the world. Acting as a customer, they test the customer service department as some form of auditor. Mystery shoppers worldwide carry out tasks at the places of business, on a company’s website or simply over the phone.

Unlike most real customers, these mystery shopping professionals are trained to look for specific qualities in the customer service that they’re analysing. They measure the qualities in your customer service representatives, offering feedback on the level of customer service that they receive, giving suggestions that raise the bar on customer satisfaction levels.

With these handy tips below, we help you determine whether mystery shopping is a step in the right direction for your business:

 What are the benefits of mystery shopping?

Before you sign up for a mystery shopping programme, you should consider what the benefits would be to your company. Work out what exactly you’d like to reap from the process. Some of the benefits of mystery shopping vary, but here’s what’s included:

• A different perspective! You’ll gain the ability to view your business through the eyes of the customer, learning just what your clients think of you at first impression. This is the only way to gain this perspective, as trying to gain this from someone within your company won’t convey as effectively.

• An overview of your customer service! A gifted mystery shopper can tell you what exactly works in your customer service programme and what doesn’t, allowing you to make the relevant changes.

• A spot on evaluation of what your customer service offers. Mystery shoppers will display whether your employees offer a valuable customer service experience, allowing your employees to earn the correct skills, providing a positive impression on your clients.

Mystery shoppers can accurately assess the state of your customer service, finding which area of your customer service should be corrected in your customer experience. This allows for you to fine tune any deficiencies that exist in your staff training.

Mystery shopping is of great importance to customer service
Mystery shopping is of great importance to customer service

Starting a mystery shopper program

Given the benefits above sound like something you’d wish to incorporate into your customer service experience, it’s time to start your mystery shopping program! Take these steps in order to get ready for the experience:

• Tell your employees that you are starting the program, just to make sure that they don’t feel blindsided after the program takes place. Tell them it’s not something they’re doing wrong, rather a training tool for could be used to raise the level of service offered by your staff.

• Discover what you want to get out of the mystery shopping service. Setting particular benchmarks will allow for you to monitor just how well your program is going.

• Find out which mystery shopping service will best meet all of your needs and budgets. For example, you can hire a larger company that can operate in a number of outlets nationwide but this isn’t exactly necessary if you have just one store.

Mystery shopping can be used as one of the most effective ways to evaluate your current state of customer service that’s available to your audience. A professional in the mystery shopper service will give your company guidance in ways to raise the standards of your employees, giving you a level of service that pleases all.

For more on mystery shopping programs, please visit our website.