What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery Shopping first appeared in 1940 in order to prevent unwanted thefts from the employees. It didn’t take long until people realised the power of this testing, and it soon became a marketing instrument. Nowadays, regardless of the industry, a lot of companies all around the world use it.

What is the process?

The first step is the selection of the mystery shoppers. Once this is completed, they will visit the location subjected to testing and will have to simulate some scenarios and pretend to be a customer, in order to carefully observe how the employees are behaving. In the end, they will have an objective image over the customer experience.

What will you measure?

Mystery Shopping can help you measure the quality of your employee’s work from each sales location. It can also help you understand what can areas can be improved in the serving process and can provide the necessary insight for you to decide whether further investments in training are needed.

Such a study can give you the ability to compare your own performance with that of your competitors and transform the customer-oriented  vision into a sales oriented one. Also, another benefit of the Mystery Shopping survey is that, in the end, questions can also be used to measure the quality of othe interactions with the employees, via phone or chat.

How do you do it?

First of all, objectives need to be established. It is very important to correctly formulate the questions you currently seek answers to and to know in advance what you want to find out from this testing. Then, based on what it has been decided, you will have to build the study. Once you've built the scenarios, you'll have to choose a sample. Here you can take into account the number of locations, the frequency of evaluations, the number of visits per point of sale, and the time and financial effort you are willing to allocate to this program. 

Moving forward, you will have to select the mystery shoppers. Their profile needs to match the profile of your targeted consumer and it is preferable to have several mystery shoppers, to make sure the employees don’t recognise them. After the selection phase, they will have to be trained and informed of how to behave. In order to run this process smoothly, the scenarios and the purpose of the study need to be very well explained.

In the end, each mystery shopper will have to  complete a survey, answer the questions, and provide a brief description of how the visits went during their testing. It is mandatory for this step to be completed within 24 hours of the visit to ensure that the information is still fresh. 

How do you analyse the data? 

Once you have gathered all the information from the mystery shoppers, the obtained data has to be analysed. You'll need to enter the data into a spreadsheet, set performance ranges, calculate mystery shopping scores, and eventually create dashboards.

Our suggestion is to use the conclusions of this testing in a constructive way. Another advice is not to inform the employees about the ongoing investigation or to use the investigation as a punishment tool. This program is built to encourage and reward good behaviors, and to promote them as models.

Remember that there is always room for improvement and that with each survey you can set new goals and new customer approaches. We wish you great success in your Mystery Shopping experiences!