Mystery Shopping FAQs

Mystery shopping can be an invaluable tool for businesses looking to make improvements to customer experience and satisfaction, as well as product and service offerings. There are, however, some misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding mystery shopping services.

At Shoppers Confidential, we have proudly been working with businesses and mystery shoppers for nearly fifteen years and are proud to be one of the leading mystery shopping agencies in the country.

We’ve compiled some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding mystery shopping. Whether you’re looking to enroll in a mystery shopping program or are simply interested in pursuing a mystery shopping role yourself, here are the answers to commonly asked mystery shopping questions.

What is a mystery shopping company?

A mystery shopping company is a service used by companies to evaluate and their customer experience and product and service offerings. Mystery shopping companies may also be used for market research purposes to evaluate industry trends or to provide watch-dog organizations with specific information regarding products, services, or the customer experience of specific businesses or industries.

What makes a good mystery shopper?

An ideal mystery shopper will be reliable and follow the mystery shopping brief in order to provide the client with insight into the service or product offering that they are evaluating. A good mystery shopper is friendly, and approachable and will have a keen eye for details. They will also have exceptional writing and communication skills, so that they can easily communicate the details of their mystery shopping visit to the client. And lastly, a good mystery shopper will be able to follow directions and stay focused during their visit, working to address and uncover the insight that clients are truly interested in.

What is the purpose of mystery shopping for businesses?

The purpose of mystery shopping for businesses is to evaluate different areas of a business, in order to determine areas for improvement. Whether it be staff and employees, services provided, user experience, or product offering, companies that enlist the help of mystery shopping companies are then armed with the necessary information to make business improvement measures to improve customer satisfaction, sales and profits.

Why do companies use mystery shoppers?

Mystery shoppers provide businesses with an unbiased review of products or services offered from the perspective of the customer. The information that mystery shoppers provide to businesses is used to improve products, services or to better train staff and employees.

What are the advantages of mystery shoppers?

There are a number of advantages to enrolling in mystery shopping services, they all depend on your business or company goals and objectives for mystery shopping. Those advantages include:

  • Increase company revenue and enhanced profits
  • Identify potential revenue leakage for businesses
  • Understanding, evaluating and analyzing industry competitors
  • Building trust with competitors
  • Keeping employees engaged and satisfied
  • Improve internal procedures and operational components
  • Identifying employee training opportunities
  • Improve customer retention

What do mystery shoppers look for?

Mystery shoppers are hired by businesses, typically businesses dealing with the public who provide goods and services to customers. Depending on the goals, or purpose of a business that is enlisting mystery shopping services, a mystery shopper will look into different areas of concern. This may include:

  • Evaluating the customer service of a business
  • Evaluating the process and procedures while interacting with a business
  • The quality of goods and products sold
  • Evaluating store or commercial space cleanliness, first impressions or areas of improvement
  • Evaluating staff or employee interactions and communication
  • Evaluation of user experience, on-line, by phone or in-person

How often do mystery shoppers come?

The frequency at which mystery shoppers will come around and visit a business will vary significantly between each client and their individual needs. Depending on the goals of the mystery shopping project or assessment, mystery shoppers may visit a store at varying times to provide a more in-depth assessment of the business. Mystery shoppers may visit a store more frequently, depending on staff shifts or to analyze the business at different times of day. More frequent visits will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the business.

Why is mystery shopping important for your business?

Mystery shopping is important for businesses who want to continue to deliver exceptional products and services, to improve their current offerings or enhance customer satisfaction. It can also help with employee engagement or retention. It allows businesses to monitor the quality of service offered in an effort to continuously improve on their customer offerings and make future business plans designed to maintain customer satisfaction levels.

What is included in a good mystery shopping report?

A well-written mystery-shopping report is an essential part of a successful mystery shopping program. It will help to inform the client about the status of their mystery shopping visits and will flag key areas of concern, highlight positive visit attributes as well and provide specific details regarding the visit. Each report may differ, based on the goals and the intent of the visit, however, here’s a look at some essential items to include in a good mystery shopping report include:

The names of staff and products

Including the names of staff that the mystery shopper interacted with, along with details regarding products purchased or services used, is an essential element of a well-written mystery shopping report and will allow the client to understand exactly which items require attention.

Areas for improvement & action items

A well-crafted mystery shopping report will include action items or areas for improvement. These will be action items that clients can easily review and create strategies to resolve the highlighted experience.

Mystery shop visit details

A mystery shopping report should also include information about their visit to the business as a whole. Was it a positive experience? What are the initial thoughts when entering the business? How was the interaction with the staff? What time of day was the visit?

Where are mystery shoppers sent?

When you think of mystery shopping, the initial thought that comes to mind is a retail store visit. Mystery shoppers, however, can be sent to a wide range of business types and industries in order to evaluate customer experience and product and service offerings. Some examples of businesses that mystery shoppers may be sent to include retail stores, automotive businesses, educational facilities such as schools, colleges and universities, banks and financial institutions, government offices and agencies, health and fitness facilities, hotels, motels and spas, as well as bars and restaurants.