Mystery Shopping Services Primer
A bit more detail about what Mystery Shopping is and how it can benefit your business.
If you’ve not used mystery shopping before, you might think it just involves someone buying a product and reporting on how good the sales experience was. You’d expect us to rate customer service, how quickly we were dealt with, and tell you about any issues.
While that’s part of what mystery shopping does, it’s just a small fraction of what a good mystery shopping service will give you. The aim of mystery shopping is simple:
To give you a complete, objective view of how effectively your business works, from the customer’s perspective.
That means everything to do with the customer experience —- branding, signage, marketing, staff, point of sale, product selection, retail location, purchase, customer service, and more. If it affects the customer experience, mystery shopping should tell you about it.
Our mystery shopping services help you better understand your customers and guide you through organizational strategies.
- Cutting edge technology to generate real-time reports and charts
- The best and most qualified mystery shoppers in your area
- An expert team of staff ready to analyze data, generate reports, and create solutions and opportunities to increase your sales
- Customer service and sales audits
- Employee rewards programs
- Website evaluations
“On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.” — White House Office of Consumer Affairs
The Benefits of Mystery Shopping
Now that you know a little more about the practical changes mystery shopping can identify, let’s look at a slightly wider context
— how mystery shopping can set your organization up for success.
Driving a Positive Impact on the Bottom Line
The main reason for hiring a mystery shopping service is to find ways to increase revenue and enhance profits. At a high level, mystery shopping achieves that by:
- Optimizing every part of the customer experience.
- Identifying the small things that make a big difference.
- Ensuring that staff are properly trained on products, services, and customer care.
- Reducing revenue leakage from various areas, including the integrity of the staff.
- Providing actionable insight and solid metrics.
- Understanding trends over time.
“North Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16 (nearly two times more) people about poor experiences.” — American Express Customer Survey
Reducing Revenue Leakage
One of the main challenges for businesses is maintaining profit margins that are continually under pressure. Mystery shopping can help to identify potential revenue leakage in areas like:
- Missed opportunities to up-sell.
- Lost sales due to a lack of attention to customers.
- Long lineups due to inefficient checkout or other processes.
- Empty shelves and inventory issues.
- Unknown advantages held by competitors.
Analyzing and Understanding Competitors
Competitors are a constant threat. Although it’s relatively easy to research online competitors, traditional competitors are more difficult to analyze. Our mystery shoppers can shop your competitors’ stores and provide you with valuable competitor intelligence on things like:
- The level of customer service they provide.
- The end-to-end customer experience.
- Any specific unique selling points, special offers, or customer handling procedures.
- Their branding, marketing, and point of sale experience.
- The physical store environment and how it helps or hinders the shopping experience.
- The level of training, approach, and commitment from staff.
“Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.”
– Kate Zabriskie
Building Trust with Customers
If you want to retain customers, it’s essential to create shopping experiences that build trust. Mystery shopping will help you to
- Identify gaps in the training of your staff and ways to close those gaps.
- Create comfortable, clean, and safe locations that promote customer well being.
- Utilize great marketing and signage that gets customers where they need to be.
- Provide access to relevant and timely information so customers can make an informed decision.
- Offer a delightful, end-to-end customer experience that leaves no doubt as to the value of your products and services.
“It’s very logical: There is proven ROI in doing whatever you can to turn your customers into advocates for your brand or business. The way to create advocates is to offer superior customer service.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”
Keeping Employees Satisfied
The attitude of your employees is crucial to your success. Although training can make a big difference, creating happy employees through a good store and staff management will make a big difference to customers. Mystery shopping can help you assess areas like:
- Working conditions for employees.
- Placement of staff in the store.
- Level of training and expertise.
- Attitude and approach of employees and managers.
- Staffing levels and how that affects customers.
“81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition.” — Peppers & Rogers Group
We Turn Mystery Shopping Insights into Action
Mystery shopping is only powerful if you take all of the insights and reporting we provide and turn it into action. In other words, we give you the map so you can plot the path and make the change. Our mystery shopping services report will give you:
- Hard metrics on areas like the speed of service, the approach of sales associates, length of time to accomplish a specific task, and more.
- Anecdotal evidence on interactions with staff.
- Observations on your location, products, and services.
- Comparisons against the expectations and requirements you provided us with.
- Benchmarking against best business practices and best-case scenarios.
- Suggestions and recommendations for improvement.
You can then take that wealth of information from the mystery shopping report and put it into a customer service improvement plan. You can prioritize changes, create valuable learning opportunities for your managers and staff, and create business initiatives to refine and enhance your processes.
Over time, you will optimize the way your business runs and significantly enhance the customer experience. You can then use our services again to see if the changes are sticking. We’ll also measure trends over time so you get a better context.
“Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn. A lesson here is that companies should not view the absence of feedback as a sign of satisfaction. The true enemy is indifference.” — Esteban Kolsky
Listening to the Voice of the Customer with Mystery Shopping
Ultimately, mystery shopping is an objective way to listen to the voice of your customer. Despite your best efforts, customers won’t reliably tell you what they think
— they will generally only let you know if they really like or really hate your services.
Our mystery shopping services remove that issue by looking at everything through the eyes of a customer but combining that with an objective, analytical
approach that gives you actionable insight. Turn that insight into action, and you’ll directly impact your business success.
Sometimes though, you’ll want feedback from genuine shoppers, and we can help there too. We carry out extensive market research, interview and survey your real customers, and
consolidate all of that into detailed reports you can use to further drive change. Our expert researchers will get to the heart of the matter and help you identify exactly what you need to improve.
“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.” — Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business”
Why Should You Outsource Your Mystery Shopping?
You might be wondering if there are advantages to outsourcing your mystery shopping, versus completing it in-house. Outsourcing your mystery shopping provides you with several advantages:
- A more objective view of your business — an in-house team already understands how you do things, and has ideas on how to improve, but that understanding is subjective and might not always lead to the best course of action. Outsourcing ensures true objectivity.
- A greater breadth of experience — an outsourced mystery shopping service business has exposure to a wider variety of industries and niches. They will use that experience when making recommendations.
- Optimized processes and reporting — a specialized mystery shopping agency has a variety of techniques and tools to help you properly understand your business and customers.
- Effective cost control and ROI — you only need to engage a specialized agency on an “as needed” basis, rather than paying for an ongoing function that may not deliver ongoing value.
About Our Mystery Shoppers
- We use only the best and most qualified mystery shoppers in Canada and the US.
- Our shopper's complete various skill certifications
- We only invite those with a proven track record of success to shop for us
- We have access to 350,000 qualified mystery shoppers and secret shoppers.
Are You Ready to Maximize Customer Experience?
Whatever industry you’re in, it’s clear that maximizing positive customer experiences is key to your survival. With our combination of deep insight, wide experience,
and a laser-focus on your needs, our mystery shopping services are ideally placed to ensure your success and growth.
Contact us today and see how we can help you.
FAQ About Mystery Shopping Services
WHAT CAN MYSTERY SHOPPING DO FOR MY BUSINESS?
Mystery shopping services can provide you with an insightful look at what is really happening on your front lines of your business. Gain a better understanding of your customers perspective, experiences and see an increase in revenues, retentions, and overall sales. Mystery shopping services will also allow you to find areas of opportunity and areas to celebrate.
WHAT MAKES SHOPPERS CONFIDENTIAL DIFFERENT THAN OTHER MYSTERY SHOPPING SERVICES?
Shoppers Confidential stands out in the mystery shopping industry because our overall quality, response times and our flexibility to make changes to our mystery shopping programs as per our clients’ requests are second to none. We triple check our work. Our quality control team reviews and communicates with our shoppers to ensure you’re getting the data you are looking for. We vet our shoppers. We don’t use crowdsourcing apps with push notifications to get random people in your business to do a sub-par job. We only use people we have a relationship with, and ones we can communicate with to ensure they know exactly what you, the client, are looking for. Because of our ability to be accommodating to the needs of our clients, we continuously have shock-and-awe reactions from our clients when we say yes to all of their needs.
Customized mystery shopping programs are only as perfect as the day they were created or implemented. The level of ‘perfect’ is forever changing and we make this happen for all of our clients. It is our mission and promise to stay ahead of industry and technology trends, providing only the highest level of customer support for our clients.
HOW QUICKLY CAN SHOPPERS CONFIDENTIAL SET ME UP WITH A MYSTERY SHOPPING PROGRAM?
Shoppers Confidential develops customized and unique mystery shopping programs for each of our clients to meet the needs of individual needs of your business. After careful review and evaluation, we can implement and set your business up with a mystery shopping program in one to two weeks.
HOW WILL THE RESULTS OF MY MYSTERY SHOPPING PROGRAM BE REPORTED TO ME?
At Shoppers Confidential, results are quickly and easily reported. You will receive an email notification when your mystery shop results come in. Accompanying the notification will be a PDF version of the survey. You and your team will also be provided with login credits (based on each security level) to review the data in real time, through a computer or via our mobile app. Our software is very user-friendly and the report generating capabilities are endless, so there is a lot you can do or we can do when your results start to come in.
DOES SHOPPERS CONFIDENTIAL HAVE EXPERIENCE WORKING IN MY INDUSTRY?
Absolutely! At Shoppers Confidential, we work with a wide-range of industries and organizations and we understand the unique mystery shopping needs of each industry. Whether it be the entertainment or hospitality industry, food and beverage, mechanical and service, or finance and government organizations, we have an expert for every industry on our team.
OUR COMPANY IS NORTH AMERICA-WIDE – DO YOU OFFER MYSTERY SHOPPING SERVICES AROUND THE COUNTRY?
At Shoppers Confidential, we offer mystery shopping services to business throughout North-America. Whether you are a one-location entity or a large-scale business with locations throughout Canada and the US, we can provide you with a mystery shopping program that covers any location. We have international partners to help with mystery shopping jobs outside of North America.