Many people see mystery shopping as a way for individuals to earn extra income. However, mystery shopping is a large part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. It is a marketing research effort that companies use to gain first-hand knowledge about how their company is performing. It’s a way for them to assess various parts of their business operations and make changes accordingly.
If you’ve thought about adding mystery shopping to your company’s marketing research efforts, below is more information on how mystery shopping works and how it can benefit your business.
Assessment and Evaluation Tool
Mystery shopping can be used as a means to assess and evaluate different aspects of your business to help you evaluate where improvements need to be made. For example, if you are concerned about certain areas of your business operations, such as
-general customer service,
-the quality of your products and services,
-the behavior of your staff while interacting directly with customers or
-how long it takes to complete a transaction
then mystery shopping may be very beneficial to you.
Once this type of information has been obtained, companies can make the necessary changes to improve many aspects of their business.
- Identifying Data That Needs to be Evaluated
The best way for clients to assess various parts of their business is to have a discussion with a professional research agency. They can assist with identifying what areas to measure.
- Setting Goals and Creating Timelines
To obtain an accurate assessment of various processes, the entire mystery shopping process should be mapped out so that it’s easier to identify areas of your business that have been overlooked, neglected or not handled properly.
To that end, timelines should also be set to determine how long the evaluation should be as well as the best time to perform the evaluation. For example, if a company receives more customer complaints during peak hours of their operation, then having a mystery shopper shop during those hours will help you better identify certain causes of that particular problem.
- Evaluating Employee’s Knowledge to Improve Performance
Some companies may have concerns about how much knowledge their staff has about their product or service, or even about some of their company‘s policies. If this is a concern to you, then developing a mystery shopping scenario that allows employee’s knowledge to be tested in certain areas is critical.
This will allow you to determine whether or not you are in need of additional employee leadership training programs, updated employee handbooks or other ways that you can provide training to your staff to improve their overall performance.
- Evaluation and Assessment Reports
Part of the mystery shopping process also involves the development of evaluation and assessment reports. This is what is used to let clients know what took place during the mystery shopping and evaluation process. The information that has been gathered is submitted to the client through a series of questions or a detailed report that explains all aspects of the evaluation in detail.
If clients are looking for specific areas to evaluate, it’s important to include that information in the evaluation. For example, if a business has launched a new product that requires its employees to promote or answer questions about the product, a well-crafted scenario should be developed by the marketing research expert. This ensures that the right methodologies are addressed.
- Developing Evaluations Methods Beforehand
Because most clients are interested in gathering information about a specific function of their business, it’s important to make sure that a well-crafted scenario and methodology that the shopper should follow is put in place beforehand. This is extremely important to ensure the mystery shopper captures the information needed for the company to make the right evaluation and measure performances accordingly.
- The Use of Different Evaluation Methods
Some companies may have different ways that they provide products and services to their customers. For example, brick and mortar businesses may interact with customers directly on their premises, whereas others may interact by phone or through online procedures. It’s important for companies to have systems in place to evaluate each of these areas to better determine if improvements are needed.
- Evaluating Outcomes
After various aspects of your company’s procedures have been evaluated, then it’s important for clients to thoroughly review and evaluate the outcome of the report.
It’s important for businesses to keep in mind that the reports are designed to confirm which part of their business is not being implemented properly as per their policies and guidelines. Mystery shoppers make this information available in their final report.
- Using Evaluation Reports to Make Adjustments to Your Business
Most companies are amazed at the information gathered during a mystery shopping evaluation. However, when the outcome indicates that changes need to be made, clients can improve various parts of their procedures. This may require major or minor changes, such as
-The purchase of new equipment that enhances production
-updating employee handbooks or videos to re-train employees
-hiring additional staff during peak hours and so forth.
- Use Mystery Shopping to Make On-going Improvements to Your Business
The use of mystery shopping has proven to allow companies to get much-needed insight into how their company is actually performing as opposed to how they think it’s performing. It also allows them to make improvements in areas that are difficult to identify without the use of mystery shoppers.
- The Use of a Third Party Marketing Company
When developing market research plans, many customers first consult with a qualified marketing agency that can assist them with developing the right mystery shopping method that best evaluates their core areas of concern.
The use of a mystery shopping company such as Scout Market Intelligence can assist companies to identify and measure areas that need to be improved on an ongoing basis.
Third-party mystery shopping companies add great value to the overall marketing research process. They can assist with areas that many business owners are unable to address. Most companies find the information received after a mystery shopping evaluation has been completed invaluable.
If you want to learn more about how a mystery shopping program can benefit your company, please contact us for more information.