Mystery shopping is a method of operational evaluation through objective covert observation and personal interaction with a service provider. It is used to measure quality of service or gather specific information about products and services.
The ability to discern value at a glimpse, to sift the important out of the ordinary is the great talent of a shopper.
A mystery shop is the most effective and least expensive way to describe reality as it is. An owner or manager of a large organization cannot directly supervise operations 24/7. In-house evaluators are known by fellow employees, and thus experience compromised objectivity. Only a third-party mystery shopper is able to objectively provide necessary information to describe a true customer experience and candid conduct of personnel. In other words, a mystery shop is an unfiltered and unbiased snapshot of reality.
Who needs mystery shops and why?
Businesses can thrive or die based on customer service. In competitive markets it may be the only factor that can distinguish a business from neighboring competitors. Administrators need unbiased information delivered by a third party, avoiding intermediary layers of managers and supervisors. Why “third party?” A third party does not have vested interest in the content of information provided, only in its accuracy, no matter whether it reflects favorably or unfavorably upon the business or its personnel.
Mystery shops yield the following:
- Objective account of current reality
- Customer service quality measurement
- Objective employee conduct evaluations
- Reduction of integrity violations
- Reduction of operational risk
- Corporate and regulatory compliance
- Report deliverance within 48 hours of location visit
- Mystery shops conducted by industry certified professionals
- Digital photos of infractions
- Court/Labor hearing representation
- 24/7 service
- Unlimited report customization
- Unlimited specialized scenarios
- 5-year archiving guarantee
Are mystery shoppers out to only find something negative to report?
A common misconception among employees and managers is that the mystery shopper is “out to get them,” only looking for something negative to report. Quite the contrary, mystery shoppers help upper management celebrate all that is good about an operation as well as identify opportunities for improvement. The ultimate goal is to give clients the information they need in order to make an educated assessment of their operations. Servimer shoppers do not know what the priorities of a client are. They are trained to truthfully and objectively report everything they see or hear regardless whether it appears to be positive or negative. Elite shoppers are provided additional training in covert video operations so that observation can be proven without challenge when our clients need to engage in significant retraining, disciplinary, or court proceedings.
Do shoppers actually provoke company employees in order to elicit negative conduct?
Unless specifically ordered by a client, Servimer shopper are trained to be completely forgettable and look as an average customer can be. It would completely undermine a shopper’s effectiveness to become memorable. Provoking a conflict with a service provider will leave the shopper vulnerable to be memorable which prohibits to continue shops at this location. Often our shoppers are provided with scenarios developed by our clients that present employees with situations that give an opportunity to make decisions that can be used to evaluate personal integrity and corporate compliance, but these are only situations that actual customers would regularly present as well.
Shoppers are not problem solvers or problem makers. They are highly trained messengers! They report observations “as is” and provide photographic and video evidence whenever possible or when instructed.
Why are shoppers so judgmental?
They aren’t. Only business management judges or evaluates what is reported. Servimer shoppers only report. Their judgment is not permitted in descriptions. If a cashier offers no greeting, does not smile, simply states the price and give change with no expression of thanks or words of farewell, the shopper does not state that the cashier was rude or unfriendly. The shopper simply states that the cashier offered no greeting, did not smile, stated the price and gave change, and offered no expression of thanks or words of farewell. It is up to client management to judge whether that was polite or rude, acceptable or unacceptable.