When Should You Look For A New Mystery Shopping Provider?

By Paul Bell, Director of Business Development, on June 19, 2017

If you’ve been mystery shopping your locations for some time and your results seem a little stale, or you aren’t happy with your services - it could be time for a change. Changing mystery shopping companies may sound daunting; but, in reality it could be just what you need to execute a successful mystery shopping program and improve the delivery of your standards.

Look for a new mystery shopping provider

Change is not something to be afraid of. Technology is always evolving and you don’t want to get left behind when your competitors are leveraging technology to gain a competitive advantage. If your mystery shopping provider isn’t delivering the following services/features, then it’s time to take your business elsewhere:

  1. How you measure
  2. In-depth reporting
  3. Mobile technology

How you measure

A lot of the critical aspects of your mystery shopping program are created and perfected with the help of client managers and the teams assigned to your account. Leveraging these experts is crucial to your program’s success. Trust in a mystery shopping provider who’s a leader in the industry and has years of experience because you want and need someone capable of creating the best program for your locations. 

It’s important to remember that mystery shopping does not measure emotion or perception - that’s something that is done through customer satisfaction surveys. Understanding this is the kind of knowledge that your client manager should have when helping you to create the perfect program for your locations.

Example: Asking the right questions can make a difference in the legitimacy of the data you collect. When coming up with what you’re measuring it’s not always as easy as it seems to put into words. You might want to ask was the cashier was polite? The problem is that 'polite' could mean something different to different people. At your locations, your definition of polite might be whether or not cashiers are thanking customers for their purchase. So instead, client managers should be advising you to ask were you thanked for your purchase? This ensures that you're asking measurable questions that reflect your standards. 

The goal is to replicate a normal customer experience. This means having shoppers go in and answer a series of questions that will accurately reflect a customer’s perspective. Your client managers should be reminding you to update your program every so often to ensure the legitimacy of your results.

Example: If you run a cell phone store with various offerings and multiple locations, but someone is consistently coming in and only asking about accessories - that might tip off your employees that they're being mystery shopped. That's because this doesn't represent a typical customer experience. Client managers should be suggesting you switch up your program and have shoppers ask about something different in order not to draw unwanted attention. 

In-depth reporting

Mystery shopping provides insight into operations, and when what’s being collected isn’t providing you with the proper next steps to act on, then that information isn’t sufficient. When you’re in that measurement frame of mind, you want to ensure that you're collecting actionable data that's easily visible to key members of your organization.  

Dashboards based on roles or location are a great way to display information that pertain to the right people. From there, being able to filter through your data in an efficient and timely manner is essential when you want to evaluate your results right away. Viewing results in real-time allows management to make decisions quickly and accurately draw conclusions from their mystery shops. 

Mobile technology

One of the new and improved ways of completing shops and collecting more accurate information is by using a mobile app. Mystery shoppers are now able to complete assignments more efficiently and collect richer data by using their personal cell phones. Shoppers no longer need to wait until they get home to fill out their reports because everything is completed through an easy-to-use mobile app - which means shoppers are recording data promptly and easily in a shorter time period since the shop was completed. This process reduces room for error or any bias that might take place after the fact.   

Conclusion

Don’t let bad timing force you to inherit a vendor that isn’t right for you. It’s important to see what else is out there and ensure that the provider you’re selecting has the means and the resources to administer proper mystery shopping services, and is also able to solve your specific business problems.

Find out more about your customer experience. 
Explore IntouchShop mystery shopping programs.
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