A Mystery Shopper study is a market research tool based on simulating buying actions or requesting information about a service in order to verify the quality parameters evaluated by a company’s management.
This tool is highly beneficial for market research as it measures the quality of customer service. The most commonly used methods include evaluating standards, customer service processes, and the service provided at various points of sale.
What does a Mystery Shopper do?
A Mystery Shopper plays a vital role in assessing and evaluating various aspects of a business. Their primary objective is to gather insights into the customer experience by posing as a regular customer. Here’s a breakdown of what a Mystery Shopper does within a study:
- Evaluating Customer Experience: Mystery Shoppers receive specialized training and possess experience in observing and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a business. They focus on assessing the quality of service and the overall customer experience.
- Conducting Store Visits: Mystery Shoppers visit stores or establishments under the guise of being regular customers. They interact with employees, ask questions, make purchases, and sometimes even return items. By doing so, they can assess the service they receive firsthand.
- Observing Service Parameters: During their visits, Mystery Shoppers pay close attention to specific service parameters predetermined by the study objectives. This can include factors like employee behavior, product knowledge, response times, cleanliness, and adherence to company standards.
- Documenting Observations: After each visit, Mystery Shoppers compile detailed reports with their observations and specific details about their experience. These reports often highlight areas of improvement, exceptional service, and any issues encountered during the visit.
- Providing Feedback and Recommendations: Mystery Shoppers share their reports with the company conducting the study. They provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses observed, along with recommendations for enhancing the customer experience and addressing any identified issues.
- Ensuring Anonymity: An essential aspect of Mystery Shopping studies is maintaining anonymity. Mystery Shoppers act as regular customers, discreetly observing and evaluating the service. This allows them to provide unbiased feedback without influencing the behavior of employees or the business.
By assuming the role of a Mystery Shopper, individuals contribute valuable insights to the study, helping businesses identify areas for improvement, enhance customer satisfaction, and deliver exceptional experiences.
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You may also check out this guide to learn how to build your own Customer Journey Map.
What does a Mystery Shopper study involve?
The study involves the Mystery Shopper visiting stores as a “regular customer,” asking questions, making purchases, and sometimes making returns. However, their objective is to analyze the service they receive.
Subsequently, the Mystery Shopper submits a report to the company with observations and details of what occurred during their visit, along with an evaluation of customer satisfaction.
The application of Mystery Shopper studies must be discreet and anonymous. The Mystery Shopper must pretend to be a regular consumer of the product. Most people engage in Mystery Shopping for the benefits it provides.
Mystery Shopping offers a valuable service by identifying potential problems that business owners can address before they occur and cause significant damage.
Advantages of Conducting a Mystery Shopper Study
The Mystery Shopper study is perfect for any job involving employee and competitor supervision with the goal of:
- Assisting in tracking business strategies.
- Understanding customer perception of the company’s products and services.
- Enhancing service quality.
- Ideal for improving employee efficiency.
- Motivating employees to improve.
- Encouraging communication and best service practices.
- Helping identify if promotions are being applied correctly.
Disadvantages of the Mystery Shopper Study
Although this method has many favorable characteristics, it is important to consider the negative aspects when analyzing and drawing conclusions:
- It can be a costly process.
- A significant portion of the target audience may fall outside the study’s scope.
- Subjective conclusions may be reached.
- Workers may feel pressured due to constant supervision.
Learn more about why understanding your Customer Journey transforms your CX program.
Why do companies need the Mystery Shopper Study?
Customer satisfaction encompasses various elements that contribute to a company’s success. Studies demonstrate that a satisfied customer will share their positive experience with three additional people, whereas an unsatisfied customer will share it with ten. They rarely report it to the manager or supervisor.
Stores, companies, franchises, or restaurants must ensure that every point of sale provides the same level of attention, image, and service. Without this consistency, they are likely to lose customers.
The actions of employees can either contribute to the destruction of a company or brand or make it uncompetitive if they fail to meet service expectations.
The Mystery Shopper study is a crucial tool for companies aiming to elevate customer satisfaction levels or improve customer experiences when interacting with the company.
If you own a business, remember that you should treat every customer as if they were part of a Mystery Shopper study. At QuestionPro, we can assist you in conducting Mystery Shopper surveys to help you improve the service you offer. Start with your free account today!