The practice of mystery shopping can trace its roots back to research methods in the 1940’s designed to assess operational and behavioral performance. While the core principle of observing and assessing locations and people who are unaware remains just as relevant today, eighty years of advancement and innovation has had a significant impact.
You wouldn’t want to travel back to the 1940’s to have dental surgery would you? So why would you settle for a mystery shopping program that doesn’t leverage the latest trends and technology?
Here we’ll explore 3 essential features of a modern mystery shopping program and how they can take your mystery shopping program to the next level.
Familiarity makes us feel comfortable. It’s why it feels so good to return home after being out and why consumers choose to frequent the same stores. It’s also why multi-location businesses that deliver a consistent experience across all their locations flourish.
But, as your business grows, monitoring that experience becomes increasingly difficult. That’s why our first essential feature of a modern mystery shopping program is its ability to provide a centralized view across all your locations.
Look for a mystery shopping solution designed for multi-location businesses. These will be supported by a platform that allows you to easily review data collected by mystery shoppers across your entire business as well as compare the performance of various locations based on your key metrics. Advanced platforms, such as IntouchShop™, also offer custom dashboards which enable team members to focus on the data that matters most to them and built-in automation that flags necessary follow-ups in real-time.
Delivered by a third-party vendor
How often have you been editing an email or a text only to realize after you’ve sent it that there’s an obvious typo? It’s hard to check your own work. Similarly, when using internal teams to assess your locations their knowledge and experience with your brand will naturally impact their observations.
This is why our second essential feature of a modern mystery shopping program is that they are managed by a third-party vendor. From program design, questionnaire development, mystery shopper recruitment, and quality assurance the right partner provides expertise and objectivity to your program.
Find an experienced vendor that can act as a value added partner. Their expertise will be crucial in tailoring, designing and executing your mystery shopping program and ensuring it aligns with your goals while leveraging current best practices. Your vendor should take on responsibility for the recruitment and assignment of mystery shoppers wherever your locations are. Also, ask about their quality assurance process so you can safely rely on the data being collected.
Integrates with non-mystery shopping programs
Nothing happens in a vacuum. Suppose a mystery shopper reports that the bathroom of a location is cluttered or dirty. How frequently does that location conduct an inspection of their bathrooms? Have customers made similar comments about the same location or is this instance an exception? Connecting your mystery shopping data to data collected from inspection software or consumer surveys can answer these questions.
It’s important to find a solution that fits your business today without hindering your growth tomorrow. That’s why our third essential feature of a modern mystery shopping program is that it doesn’t leave your data disconnected from other initiatives, but rather integrates with metrics being collected from other programs.
The same analytics and reporting software that houses the results for mystery shopping or operational audit programs should easily integrate with other software. This means all your data, whether you start with multiple programs now or add them later, can be shared, analyzed, and actioned from the same portal. Consider which apps integrate with your solution out of the box as well as whether it supports other third party integrations.
The term ‘mystery shopping’ can be applied to all manner of programs but leveraging the most technologically advanced software will take you from scanning disconnected sheets of data to pinpointing actionable insights and delivering on your brand promise across all locations.
Whether you’re launching a new program or looking to take an existing one to the next level, chat with a member of our team to learn the difference we can make together by filling out the form here.