Industries that use mystery shoppers are mostly from the retail sector. Restaurants and brick-and-mortar shops are the usual clients, but there are also those that come from the hospitality industry like hotels and similar service-oriented businesses.
But why do companies use mystery shoppers? The answer lies in the capability of these secret shoppers to assess business elements on the ground level with utmost professionalism and objectivity. They don’t have any ties with clients that can alter their observations to lean more on the favorable side of things. Companies that use mystery shoppers observe their own businesses through the eyes of professional shoppers who see and judge circumstances according to the way they are instructed.
Here are more advantages of mystery shopping that your company can benefit from when you decide to utilize our secret shopping programs:
1. Evaluate how your staff is doing.
You’ve trained your staff to complete various steps as their SOP for certain situations. How will you know if they’re actually doing what you’ve told them to do? Will you wait for an irate customer to report something wrong before you take action?
By using a mystery shopper, you can assess staff performance and see if they’re communicating the brand promise you want your company to promote. Identifying whether the problem lies with the staff, the management or an individual initiative itself is crucial to improving business performance.
One of the advantages of using mystery shopping is the insight it gives regarding staff behavior. Knowing who among the staff members is delinquent and who is performing beyond expectations can be discreetly observed by mystery shoppers without interfering with the natural flow of the shopping experience.
Detecting staff problems caused by a lack of skills or training is vital to service delivery. The earlier this kind of issue is identified, the faster the management can work on remedies to improve customer service.
2. Examine the competition.
Knowing how your business is doing compared to the competition is a smart move to determine how you should play your cards.
One of the advantages of using mystery shopping is being able to assess your competitors. Getting a glimpse of their daily operations, the behavior of their staff and how people respond to their brand can help you adapt better to the situation and avoid getting left behind by your peers. New entrants in the industry benefit greatly from this service, as do players who have been around for quite some time and are looking for a competitive advantage.
Knowing the weaknesses of your competition can be used to your advantage. For example, perhaps you learn through competitive intelligence that a competitor regularly has a short supply of a certain product – or that people keep asking about a food item that’s not on their menu. Because you know this, you can fill these gaps by putting extra stock of the in-demand item in your inventory or by presenting the menu item that people are looking for.
3. Review internal procedures.
Why use mystery shoppers when you can utilize your own employees for feedback and reports? While this may sound appealing, employees pretending to be customers have biases that hinder their abilities to see areas that need improvement. They know that pointing out elements that require correction entails more work for them. Therefore, when employees pretend to be customers, they act in ways that will generate positive responses and that will require the least amount of change to their current operating procedures.
The biggest advantage of using mystery shopping is being able to see your business from the perspective of a customer. Customers don’t know the staff protocols and will not hesitate to offer feedback, whether constructive or negative. Mystery shoppers are able to objectively document the way you do business from a customer’s unbiased perspective.
4. Assess new products or protocols.
Have you ever had a great business idea that’s expected to boost your sales in a matter of weeks? And yet, after months of implementing it, the numbers are saying otherwise?
There are many possible reasons why the plan failed. Maybe your employees are not doing as they are directed or not executing the plan as described. It’s also possible that the customers expect something different and the market didn’t really need your idea yet. Either way, the initiative didn’t pan out as expected.
Knowing what caused the failure is the best thing you can extract from the situation. Companies that use mystery shoppers are able to identify where things went wrong. It’s even better if you’re conducting the mystery shopping program with a company like SeeLevel HX. We are equipped with the proper tools that can diagnose where the plan failed. Better yet, we’ll provide you with expert recommendations on how to help your business move forward and create better programs for the future.
5. Drive compliance.
Organizations must ensure that all employees adhere to the set protocols to mitigate risks and make performance measurements easier to complete.
Complying with business procedures has a more profound effect than just having the rules obeyed. It has something to do with branding consistency, which can affect your company’s overall public image.
One of the advantages of using a mystery shopping service is that it enables you to monitor compliance across your organization. You may have a small understanding of what’s happening in each of your stores, but feedback from someone who has actually been in the area is more reliable and informative.
Something as simple as a dress code or communication ethics must be followed if you want to enforce consistency in business values. Failure to keep your employees in line sends out a negative message that the business has varying standards and that you don’t take your craft seriously.
Selecting a Mystery Shopping Company
The best mystery shopping companies don’t just crunch the numbers and hand the report to you. Agencies like SeeLevel HX do better by providing actionable insights you can readily use for making business decisions.
A key factor in choosing the right mystery shopping agency is their shopper population. Diversity is important in order to mimic the natural shopping experience when conducting a mystery shopping program. Mystery shoppers should be able to act as genuine customers from various demographics to realistically recreate the full shopping experience.
The way a mystery shopping company handles and processes data is another vital element to consider in choosing the best agency. They should use a mix of quantitative and qualitative data to create a holistic report that speaks to the root of customer experience issues.
The biggest advantage of using mystery shopping services provided by SeeLevel HX is that you will receive a report that contains more than just summarized data. We also include actionable insights and recommendations that can enhance the way you deliver customer experience.
A closer look at mystery shopping reveals the numerous benefits it brings to the table for companies who are willing to go to great lengths to improve customer experience. The best programs help organizations to shift their perspectives and put them in the shoes of the customer. Only then will they be ready to enjoy the advantages of using mystery shopping to improve their overall operations.