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.
Mystery shopping; for the seasoned shopped, the profession may seem to been around for an exceedingly fair amount of time.
Yet, the mention of mystery shopping in casual conversion could raise a few eyebrows as the majority of the public is unaware of any mystery shopping companies that do exist.
We’re delving deep into history to find some of the earliest signs of mystery shopping.
During the 1940s, a research company named WilMark decided to hire private investigators to visit retail shops and banks undercover to spot any internal theft. The practice proved successful and from then on WilMarks’ client base grew and they announced the service as mystery shopping.
The ’50s was the time of the World War II recovery leading to mystery shopping falling behind in popularity, however, the service remained available on a smaller scale.
Throughout the ’60s and ’70s mystery shopping bloomed. With the influx of entrepreneurs paired with the thirst of controlling the bottom line, businesses had to compete against other companies. Thus they sought ways to remain profitable and ahead of their competitors which is where mystery shopping came to rise again, enabling businesses to measure the competitions’ strengths and weaknesses and locate which areas of their brand needed improvement.
The ’80s saw mystery shopping companies becoming more widespread, although it wasn’t the same story at the beginning of the decade. Fax machines were sparse which meant that reports and shoppers’ receipts were would have been sent back and forth between through the USPS, along with payment checks. Many of the assignments’ details were given over the phone which lead to a number of instances of miscommunication.
Today, mystery shopping has increased in popularity and continues to flourish with businesses choosing to investigate the work performance of their employees, as well as research into another companies’ strategy. The internet proves a great platform to access and submit reports online and receive paid transactions online.
Businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their customer service.
For a business to grow and excel in customer satisfaction, it is important to measure the customer buying experience in an objective manner.
Key elements to success
Mystery shopping is something that allows businesses to acquire feedback on their service from the perspective of the customer. It’s a handy tool that can evaluate the performance of a work team’s customer care, their performance level, training budgets and company mission statements delivery to the core customer sector.
Mystery shopping can be utilised for analysing your competitors as potential buyers, essential for well-established companies. Mystery shopping also allows you to gain better knowledge of your competitors, along with their pricing structure and their U.S.P.
It is possible to identify a niche market that may not be occupied by any of your competitors.
Review internal processes and procedures
You will be able to view your customer’s buying experience and the services can offer you the help of documenting a step by step process of purchasing your business’s services and/or products.
It also enables you to detect any issues and make changes to your customer care charter for the benefit of your customers.
While mystery shopping is mainly beneficial for customer service, it can also be used as a training aid for your employees. It will expose their professionalism, helpfulness, integrity and knowledge of the business during the buying process.
Customers are not only purchasing your services, they are also purchasing your team and credibility.
Mystery shopping is effective at analysing and evaluating your business’s approach to customers.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mystery Shoppers, for bigger corporations and retailers these mystery shoppers serve a massive purpose when it comes to finding out how much they really do value their customers. With great customer service becoming an absolute key these mystery shoppers are everyday looking employed people who come in-store and grade each store with ratings of their customer service.
How to become a Mystery Shopper
Becoming a mystery shopper isn’t as complex as you may think, in fact Retail Maxim specialises in mystery shopping and customer experience services. Throughout the UK thousands of individuals are required to help mystery shop in many outlets and they get paid to shop.. yes that’s right!
Here’s just a key factors we look for in people:
Having a good memory
Access to a camera device/scanner
Mystery Shoppers: The Benefits to Businesses
With customer service becoming a must in today’s retail sector the benefits to businesses are massive! Mystery shoppers are used to collect useful information and data across as many stores as required helping businesses gather a clear view on how their staff have been trained to aid any customers and their enquiries in the correct manor.
If you’re a business and you wish to find out how mystery shoppers and other services dedicated to providing you information on your company’s customer relations then head over to Retail Maxim for more information.