An Introduction To Mystery Shopping And Secret ShoppingAn Introduction To Mystery Shopping And Secret Shopping

Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping also known as secret shopping is one of the best tools a company can use to measure the quality of their products and customer service.

The use of a mystery shopper first occurred in the 1940's. Banks sent in a secret shopper to help prevent employee thief by observing their honesty and the way they treated account holders. Secret shopping soon appeared in the retail section.

A secret shopper is someone who enjoys shopping and making money while doing it. As well as shopping, having a night out at the movies or dinner for two is a common day's work. They are given forms that reflect the type of business. The mystery shopper spends money while rating the quality of customer service, the cleanness of the premises and the ease of finding products. They are paid and often get to keep the product.

The secret shopper will ask questions, make complaints and note the responses of employees.

Mystery Shopping is now the practice of major and local retail stores, hotels, restaurants, movie chains, apartment complexes, schools and even police departments. Any company that deals with the public will benefit from having a mystery shopper.

Mystery Shopping is a program that allows companies to learn about their business from the customer's point of view. Both negative and positive aspects are pointed out. They may find that their end-caps do not attract sales or that selves are too high for most customers. Perhaps the number of check-out stations does not match the week-end demand or employees may be rude.

Companies can learn what improvements are needed to improve customer's satisfaction. Customer satisfaction means repeat customers and repeat customers improve the bottom line.

Mystery Shopping can go as deep as analysing product arrangements on a shelf, to see what promotions are running in store in what location and how they are perceived by store visitors up to the dress code and politeness of the staff.
Mystery Shopping is applicable to all types of business. Every business has customers and every businesses customer's service can be measured using secret shopping techniques.

Businesses of all sizes and serving all markets have had tremendous success and gained valuable insights into customer perception from well-structured secret shopping campaigns.

Regular mystery shopping visits are a must. A business must build up a history of feedback on their customer service offering, take on board the feedback and act upon it and then continue to measure on an on-going basis.
Continual but small improvements are what work best.

Secret Shopping may appear to be strange way of going about measuring customer service and improving your business results, but, thousands of businesses have benefited from mystery shopping programmes the world over.

Many mystery shopping or secret shopping companies provide trials of their services. We suggest you take a trial with a reputable provider and see the kind of rich data they can provide on your organisation.

Make sure you act on the feedback and offer your team training in areas they came out weak in. Above all learn from the process and focus on continual improvement. You will see the impact on your business results.
by Roger Conway
References and Bibliography
Roger Conway is a consumer product and customer service information writer. He writes on topics to help consumers make more informed buying decisions and for businesses to make better customer service choices. He writes about about popular topics like Mystery Shopping & Secret Shopping in addition to providing valuable business advice for customer focused businesses.
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