Every brand operates on set norms and standards. While they promise to deliver excellent and consistent customer experience across their stores, there is a need to monitor and assess their execution of brand service standards in each store.
Mystery shopping is among brands’ most established ways of evaluating operational performance. It is a proven tool for getting a complete and unbiased picture of brand performance against the set standards at different locations. Mystery shoppers disguise themselves as a prospective buyer to interact and assess the service based on predetermined criteria. As a result, business operators get a report containing details of physical environments, employee interactions, sales transactions, service quality, and safety standards. The crucial feedbacks help businesses to make informed decisions and improve customer experience.
Why choose a mystery shopping service?
Mystery shopping has been employed as a research method since the 1940s to gauge the performance of businesses. However, its popularity as a service increased in the 1990s as a means of identifying strengths and weaknesses in stores. Feedback based on impartial shopper experiences and observations offers valuable insights that can drive improvements in customer service and create memorable customer experiences.
The mystery shopping service is a boon for brands to fine-tune existing business operations. It is like listening to customer experiences with data on different criteria gathered through exclusive observation and interaction. Here are 4 benefits of the mystery shopping program:
1. Evaluate the execution of brand standards and norms
Every brand develops a set of standard operating procedures necessary to meet the expectation of their customers. Their trained staff tries to deliver a consistent experience across all stores, but there is always room for human error. When brands covertly assess the execution of these standards, they get visibility on how each location or store operates and how well operational and safety guidelines are implemented. Brands also get to know the hidden voices of secret shoppers disguised as customers, which is the cherry on top.
2. Reveal employees’ training needs
Mystery shoppers analyze staff behavior and performance on the floor. When an audit report is prepared, it reveals employees’ skill gaps and training needs so they can serve their customers better. Then business operators can initiate employee training based on the audit report, which can equip employees with the skills and knowledge to build lasting relationships with the customer. Remember, customers always appreciate proactive staff who assist and enquire about their needs without a need to call out. It becomes a basis of favorable customer experience inside the store.
3. Assess the multi-channel experience of customers
Covert shoppers can report on the multi-channel experience if your business has multiple customer touchpoints. Remember that consistency is the key regardless of how customers interact with your business. In the case of a restaurant, it could be a dine-in, take-out, curbside pick, or delivery. Mystery shopping goes beyond measuring onsite customer experience; it also covers virtual interactions via phone or website.
4. Evaluate your competition
Keep your friends close and enemies closer. This can be possible by evaluating your competition. But, guesswork is not a wise decision in evaluating competitors. Secret shoppers can analyze competition and report on what set your brand apart from others from customer experience standpoint. The real-time intelligence from covert shoppers help to position your brand and out-perform competitors.
Hiring professional mystery shoppers can be revolutionary in identifying potential issues that hinder business operations and customer experience, such as service quality, store ambiance, and product layout. In addition, the mystery audit brings consumers’ perspectives and expectations in decision-making to get favorable results.