Explaining Mystery Shopping
There are several different types of mystery shopping that can be used to measure aspects of your business. An effective mystery shopper programme, when incorporated into the customer service elements of your business, can help you pinpoint your business’ weakness, as well as its strengths.
In-Person Mystery Shopping
The first and most common type of mystery shopping happens when a single shopper visits an establishment. During their visit they’re trained to ask very specific questions, and act a certain way. They might make a purchase, and if they do, they may be back several hours later to return it.
The purpose of this type of mystery shop is to assess how an establishment (whether that is a retail store, restaurant, etc.) deals with a particular situation. The mystery shopper can receive their assignment from third party companies, or the companythemselves.
These types of visits are usually quite quick for retail businesses, but for more complex services, say a restaurant or spa, they may take several hours. These types of mystery shops are perfect for businesses looking for a little more insight into how well they’ve trained their staff, and how their day-to-day staff members deal with difficult customers.
Telephone Mystery Shopping
The next most common form of mystery shopping is done via telephone. Mystery shoppers will call up businesses and, like mystery shopping in person, ask a set of specific questions, or enquire about items or services.
This type of mystery shopping often happens in call centres, where people are employed to call lists of businesses daily. The purpose is to assess the level of service any given business gives to their clients over the phone, and they’re more common with hotels, rather than retail stores.
The benefits of telephone mystery shopping are that most employees who answer phones do so regularly, so they won’t be caught off guard by any questions. It’s also beneficial to the mystery shopping, as they can read from a script without having to make an appearance in person.
Internet Mystery Shopping
Internet mystery shopping assess how well, and how quickly, a company responds regarding their online services. Mystery shoppers often browse websites, and make notes on how easy it is to find what they’ve been asked to look for.
Internet mystery shopping also takes social media into account. All forms of social media have become powerful tools for businesses to gain more clients, so it’s vital that anyone responsible for replying on your business social media accounts are as responsive as possible to new and enquiring customers.
The best thing about internet mystery shopping, is that, like telephone mystery shopping, there are no in person appearances, and it’s a lot quicker to mystery shop online than visiting the store.
Bear in mind that many companies, whether they are third party or the company themselves, often use a combination of these common mystery shopping styles. This is to test out all aspects of a business, and ensure that customer service excellence is as high as it can be.