In today’s era of intense competition among digital retailers and marketplaces, providing an exceptional customer experience has emerged as one of the most effective strategies for setting one brand apart. To gauge the effectiveness of a company’s brand promise, mystery shopping has proven to be an excellent method. This research technique involves deploying trained shoppers who engage in and evaluate a meticulously planned shopping experience, whether at a physical store, an online shop, or through a telephone interaction. Their feedback enables businesses to assess how well their brand promise is being delivered.
The mystery shop method offers a versatile approach to achieving various research objectives. It allows you to:
- Gain a Fresh Perspective of Your Brand: It provides a new viewpoint on how your brand is perceived by customers, offering valuable insights
- Understand Customer Satisfaction: By evaluating the shopping experience, mystery shopping helps you gauge customer satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement
- Assess Policy Implementation: It allows you to assess how effectively company policies and procedures are being implemented on the ground
- Evaluate Brand Standards: It enables you to measure the extent to which your brand standards are adhered to across different touchpoints, ensuring consistency
- Identify Gaps in Employee Training: Through mystery shopping, you can uncover areas where employee training may be lacking, helping you address weaknesses and enhance performance.
- Collect Objective Customer Journey Metrics: By utilizing mystery shopping, you can gather unbiased and objective metrics throughout the customer journey, providing valuable data for analysis.
- Evaluate Competition: Mystery shopping can also be used to gather information about your competitors, allowing you to benchmark your brand and make informed strategic decisions.
Mystery shopping can be implemented in any scenario where potential customers engage with your brand. There are several different mystery shopping methods, which can vary across industries. However, some of the most commonly used methods include:
- In-person mystery shopping
This involves sending mystery shoppers to physical locations to evaluate the customer experience, such as retail stores, restaurants, or service establishments
- Telephone mystery shopping
Telephone Mystery Shopping involves individuals contacting a company’s customer service centers or sales lines to evaluate the quality of interactions and overall telephone customer service. It provides insights into the effectiveness of customer service representatives and helps identify areas for improvement in telephone-based customer experience. This approach is particularly beneficial for industries such as call centers, hotels, travel, and tourism, where optimizing telephone customer service is crucial for enhancing customer satisfaction.
- Online mystery shopping
Mystery shoppers evaluate the responsiveness and user-friendliness of a website, as well as how a brand engages on social media platforms. They also initiate email inquiries or interact with your brand through written communication channels to assess customer support or sales responses’ promptness, accuracy, and effectiveness. Additionally, they engage in real-time chat sessions with your brand’s representatives to evaluate the quality of the chat experience, problem-solving abilities, and overall customer service.
- Multiple touchpoints (hybrid)
To accurately measure the overall customer experience, certain businesses may require various types of mystery shopping. This method proves effective in evaluating alternative purchasing methods like curb-side pickup and 3rd party delivery. Hybrid mystery shopping entails secret shoppers tracing the complete customer journey, encompassing online interactions, telephone interactions, and live experiences.
With over 40 years of qualitative and quantitative experience, our extensive network of skilled mystery shoppers successfully visits diverse retail locations such as apparel stores, home improvement stores, cell phone outlets, airports, movie theatres, and outdoor venues, as well as conducts online and telephone shopping tests, provide valuable insights into the quality of retail services and the authentic consumer experience, all on your behalf.
If you’re ready to gain a more in-depth understanding of consumer and customer experiences with your outlets and employees, please get in touch with us! We’d love to help you design a mystery shopping program that’s right for you!