Mystery shopping is a research tool that business operators used to evaluate customer experience over the years. Businesses collaborate with mystery shopping providers to gain actionable insights from customers’ lens and employ them in ongoing customer service improvements.
But, a regular shopping program may not meet your expectations. So there is a need to develop a mystery shopping program with customized questions and objectives to meet your end goals. Much like fine cuisine, a mystery shopping program succeeds when step-by-step processes are followed diligently. Both art and science are necessary to customize the program and evaluate particular aspects of your business. Moreover, it is essential to know how does mystery shopping work to develop your next program. Let us look at 5 main steps critical to developing a mystery shopping program:
The design phase calls for the collaboration of businesses with a proficient service provider. There is a need to identify critical assessment areas such as customer service, cleanliness, billings, and refunds, and soon in the evaluation process.
Other significant inputs necessary in designing the program include determining the purpose and how to utilize mystery shopping outcomes. Business operators should also share what operational and behavioral elements drive their business. All this information helps the service provider to design mystery shopping questionnaires that evaluate the points of the customer journey inside the store.
In this step, anonymous shoppers are assigned to visit stores and interact with employees to gather objective data. Shoppers observe and record all business operations and employee behavior identified as critical to the company’s success. Shoppers can secretly evaluate all touchpoints – onsite, curb-side, online, or virtual – critical for your business.
The review step is done for quality assurance of the mystery shopping process and not for driving insights. Developing an impactful mystery shopping program is impossible without reliable and accurate data. That is why the Quality Assurance team reviews all data collected from the stores before entering into the platform for analysis. It is also the responsibility of the Quality Assurance team to ensure data is collected with due procedures with no derogatory or contradictory comments from locations. With correct data in hand, you can move to analysis to get your valuable insights.
Data analysis is one of the crucial tasks in the mystery shopping process. Analyzing data on a traditional spreadsheet is boring and not easy to understand. But the mystery shopping software has customized customer experience platforms to be easy to visualize CX data aligning with your business. Software like Intouch Platform brings all mystery shopping data and key CX metrics to allow a holistic analysis by business operators. Moreover, this software makes analysis simple with centralized data to compare results and trending issues and identify the performances of teams by locations.
5. Act and Repeat
An efficient mystery shopping program brings a lot of actionable and competitive intelligence to businesses. But insights from this program won’t be of any use without taking action. Use the insights to improve your ongoing customer experience improvements by honing on strengths and overcoming weaknesses. In this way, you can improve brand and employee performance on the floor.
The mystery shopping process is an ongoing research tool that enables businesses to get insights into customers’ preferences and expectations. These insights are helpful to drive continuous improvement to the customer service experience. However, the expectations and preferences of consumers change constantly, so there is a need to customize mystery shopping programs accordingly. The right way to do this is to listen to customers.