Copywriter: Aqsa Muzaffar, Freelance Editor
When it comes to cuddling up with your favourite thing in the world, brands want it to be something that they sell. An American Express study revealed that 70% of shoppers spend 13% more with businesses that provide exceptional customer service. Every company wishes to have an increase in revenue but how does one know the value of the customer service provided by their business? Mystery shopping companies send unbiased individuals into stores to provide feedback on key areas of the customer shopping experience.
These can include:
– Interaction of staff with shoppers
– Types of products shown
– Types of services offered
– Speed of service
– Store features such as security, cleanliness, store location or ease of access.
– Opening and closing of the sale and compliance with company standards.
Inspect what you expect
Mystery shoppers behave in a certain way to gather information. These are known as “scenarios.” For instance, a mystery shopper at a jewellery store may enquire about different bridal bands being sold as part of an upcoming proposal e.g. type of gold and style. After the visit the shopper submits the results collected to the mystery shopping agency, who analyse the information to provide statistical data. This allows brands to compare against previously defined criteria.
Sainsbury’s, John Lewis and the Post office all use the mystery shopping tool to analyse their stores. This helps to set staff bonuses and highlight any training issues. Jill Spencer a spokeswoman for ABa states “each day mystery shoppers spend up to 8 hours visiting 5 to 10 stores, plus another hour or 2 filling in detailed reports on every aspect of their visit.” They can take home up to £155 a day and are reimbursed for petrol and hotel stays. Shoppers are repaid any money they spend and as a bonus may be allowed to keep the products they purchase.
A different perspective through the eyes of a customer.
With the data analysed and appropriate action taken, brands can see numerous benefits from mystery shopping:
– Increased customer satisfaction
– Increased sales/profits
– Employee satisfaction. Once an employee acknowledges their role in helping create a happy customer they can benefit from a morale boost. A new-found sense of confidence will make going the extra mile second nature.
– Any deficiencies in the customer experience can be resolved before they are seen by actual customers.
– Reduction in the cost of advertising.
Want to use mystery shopping as a marketing tool for your business?
This is a short article, but if the benefits we’ve listed give thought to creating a mystery shopping programme, here is what you need to do. Speak with an agency (preferably us) to gain an idea of process and plans. Find out which mystery shopping service fits well with your requirements and budget.
When you are ready to begin, inform employees of your intention and the ins and outs of mystery shopping (no one would enjoy being blindsided after the campaign takes place). Identify your key reasons for starting this initiative. What do you wish to achieve? Having benchmarks will also allow you to monitor the effectiveness of the programme to your company.
Mystery shopping can be used as one of the best ways to identify your current quality of customer service available to your audience. A professional in the world of mystery shopping can give your company guidance on raising standards of your employees resulting in a win-win situation for all. Then there are the SEO benefits from having more positive feedback said about your brand on Google. Ultimately the best way to judge the benefits of mystery shopping is to try it out yourself.
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Required reference: YouCom Direct News Article, Mar 2017, London, ‘Mystery Shopping’.