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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3 ways to prevent poor customer service

What determines the true cost of poor customer service? The short answer is that there isn’t an equation to help determine how much you are losing by poor customer service.

No two customers or businesses are the same but the negative impact of producing poor customer service can be similar, if not the same.

For each customer that is lost from poor customer service, you lose new customers that could have been referred to you. Along with that, your brand’s reputation could be damaged and brand loyalty. This will further negatively impact your performance and profits.

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How mystery shopping can improve customer service

Mystery shopping is a popular tool used by many businesses to measure the quality of their services or product delivery from a consumer perspective.

Many times the actual delivery at the retail outlet is not up to par with the company’s policies and claims and mystery shoppers can help the company pick out whether their frontline staff is providing customers the standard of service expected of them.

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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 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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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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Using the correct type of mystery shopping for better results

Mystery shopping is, unbeknownst to many, a wide term. There are many different types of mystery shopping and if you are able to utilise them correctly, you will obtain better results.

Effective mystery shopping programmes will be able to address customer touch-points and reflect how the customer interacts with you.

Below, we’ve listed a few of the basic types of mystery shopping and where they are best applied:

In-person mystery shopping

In-person mystery shopping is the most common type of mystery shopping and the most frequently used. It entails a single mystery shopper visiting a specific location and forming an assessment of the performance in accordance to pre-defined metrics. Varying on the nature of the metrics, along with the purpose of the shop and type of industry, a shop could take between a few minutes to a couple hours to finish.

The most common in-person shops are in industries including:

  • Automotive
  • Banking
  • Convenience
  • Fitness
  • Gas Stations
  • Healthcare
  • Hotels
  • Restaurant
  • Retail
  • Wireless

Telephone mystery shopping

Call centers are most likely to adopt this type of mystery shopping, along with industries where the telephone is an integral part of the customer experience. Telephone mystery shops are typically conducted through a mystery shopping company’s call center.

A company may record a phone call and use it as a coaching tool.

Telephone mystery shopping is typically used for industries such as:

  • Call centers
  • Healthcare
  • Hotels
  • IT
  • Telecommunications
  • Tourism
  • Travel

Internet mystery shopping

This particular type of mystery shopping is used when the mystery shopper is attempting to deduce how responsive a company is when interacting with them through the company website or on social media.

Internet mystery shopping is commonly found in the following industries:

  • Automotive
  • eCommerce
  • Real estate
  • Telecommunications
  • Travel

Hybrid mystery shopping

Hybrid mystery shopping, also known as multiple touchpoint mystery shopping, will entail a mystery shopper following a full customer journey, integrating the basic types of mystery shopping from online, to the telephone, and then in-store.

Hybrid mystery shopping is commonly found in industries such as:

  • Automotive
  • Banking
  • Healthcare
  • Hotel
  • Real estate
  • Travel

Do you think you have what it takes to become a mystery shopper? Find out more about mystery shopping on our website!