You can find lots of mystery shopping providers via online with so many options available. But figuring out how to choose the right mystery shopping provider for your business can be more overwhelming than you think.
If you choose the right one, there are plenty of benefits that you stand to gain from hiring them.
In this article, we will provide the 7 pro tips that would narrow down in hiring the potential mystery shopping providers to ensure their services align with your business needs.
1. Research company background
Just as there are plenty of mystery shopping providers available, there can also be scam providers. You shouldn’t trust every online advertisement trying to sell you mystery shopping services. You should start your research by simply checking out the website like the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, which is designed to protect from the infinite number of scams out there. You can find out plenty about them just by visiting the trusted website like that.
2. Stop by in Person
Although this is not a must do, it is better if you can check the legitimacy of a company by simply stopping by its office. Legitimate providers have a business address listed somewhere on their page which you can check by the address.
3. Check their Profession
If you are sure that they are not the scam one, then check whether they have years of experience and success designing mystery shopping programs for companies in your industry. It is really important in hiring mystery shopping provider. You can ask for their list of references and peruse the list of past clients that have used them before. It will give you a clear review whether they are reliable for your business.
4. Look forward to their support
We suggest to work with a provider that has an in-house review team. Review teams will assess the results of your program and make sure all the information provided by shoppers is accurate and complete before it gets delivered to you. This ensures you receive a quality report.
5. Review selection of mystery shoppers
Depending on your goals, your shop may require lengthy interactions with your staff or detailed shopper responses. In these cases, you want to make sure the selected shoppers are the right fit for the job. Most of experienced providers have access to a large database of certified shoppers and have the ability to pick shoppers based on their rating.
6. Check feedback system
Feedbacks are really important. They will not only help you measure the right aspects of your businesses performance, but also provide actionable results through high-quality data analysis and reporting. This helps you create a program that will empower you to improve customer experience. That’s why look for experienced companies who can develop both a questionnaire and data and then uncover your specific needs.
7. Don’t be cheap
Remember you always got what you pay for. The cheaper the charges, the more likely it is a scam in some capacity.
Providing positive experiences for customer can dramatically impact your business growth. Nowadays, customer service can often take a back seat to the daily demands of running your business. Therefore, keeping a customer happy and satisfied has become more important. Around 60% of businesses consider customer service as the top priority for their businesses. Here are some important reasons why customer service is always vital to the success of your business.
Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition in fact. Ultimately, investing in customer service can decrease your churn rate, the amount you must spend on acquiring new customers, and the overall CAC as great customer service will result in maximum customer retention.
Your Brand Image, Mission, and Values
An idea of what brand you represent is essential for your business. Your customers will make assumptions depending on your social media presence, advertisements, content, and other external marketing. However, your customer service team is your main connection to your customers. A marketer’s duty does not actually end once a deal is closed. The customer service team has bigger responsibility of representing your brand to them as they can help influence customers and convince them of your strengths over competitors.
Therefore, great customer service programs should focus on the treating customers very well, answering their questions, and exceeding their expectations to get customer satisfaction and trouble free journey for your customers. Your ethics, values, and history can help you win more customers in your future while retaining your existing customer base.
Higher Conversion Rate
The conversion rate of your business is definitely affected by the type of service that you provide to the customers as this is vital in generating business for your brand. If your brand was unable to deliver good customer service in time, your customers might take it to the Internet to rant and give negative comments about your service which can make your sales crashing down. If customers are happy and satisfied with your service, they leave positive comments and feedback on your social media profiles that can create a positive effect on your sales.
Able to Prevent Business Failure
About 96 percent of some businesses have been closed their doors within 10 years. The main fact of contributing problems is less focus on the customer service. The customers become frustrated over small problems, which are not addressed like unclear communication, poor follow up on questions, or ignored their requests.
Reduces Employee Turnover
Most employees desire to work for businesses which value and appreciate their worker contributions, encourage new ideas, and treat customers fairly. If people work for an employer who provides excellent customer service, they can be more engaged in their work and then, become an advocate for the business as they are more willing to stick with the company through the business challenges and the economic changes.
Every business is valuable to offer something to their customers like educating to the customer about a product or service not to face any problems.
If your company is interested in assessing and identifying the quality of your customer service, conducting a customer satisfaction audit could prove quite beneficial. The customer experience may be the most important aspect of your business’s operations in the coming years.
A customer experience audit is a critical step in the process of customer experience management. The audit maps out the journey of your customer through multiple channels. The results of the analysis can serve as the foundation for development of a concrete action program. It can be used to increase your organization's level of customer satisfaction as well.
Performing a customer experience audit helps you understand the breadth of touch-points that affect customer experience and loyalty, establish medium- to long-term customer experience management (CEM) strategies that can help you to implement a sustainable, cross-departmental CEM program, and identify high-priority areas for improvement as well as which values are most important at which points in the customer journey.
The mapping process can be started by defining the behavioral stages a typical customer will go through, and developing outline specific touch-points through each stage and channel. First you need to try to understand your customers and their behaviors and identify ways to align your journey more closely with their stated desires and create a detailed recommendations report.
By performing a customer experience audit, you can identify:
There are other types of audit you can perform to allow you gain knowledge of what areas you need to improve.
A Brand Audit enables you to identify your brand’s strengths and weaknesses together with opportunities for innovation and growth. Brands are like living entities with life cycles. A brand audit health check helps you monitor this cycle so you can keep your brand fresh and relevant. A brand audit also enables you to identify new areas for innovation and growth.
The primary function of a Retail Merchandiser is to perform an in-store audit, both standard Retail Audits, and Trade Compliance Audits. Retail Audits are typically performed on a periodic basis. They are used to make sure that products are displayed in an ensuring way for customers to find the products in the most appealing ways.
Compliance Audits are performed to coincide with special promotions that a manufacturer negotiates with retailers and to ensure that the product is being promoted as agreed both in displaying and pricing.
An Internal Audit is an important component to ensuring optimal performance of a quality management system. Internal audits can lead to a variety of benefits for your company if you utilize the results in an effective way. The goal of an internal audit is to gather information about the effectiveness of the quality system. The internal audit report will provide a summary of the investigation and offer key observations in which your company can improve from.
The duty of a mystery shopper involves performing visits, telephone calls, web-based inquiries, or accessing other means of services of the client’s businesses, acting as a typical customer. If you are a mystery shopper, you’ll act as a real-life customer in order to give feedback and reports about the service and the overall customer experience. Then, your client company will receive an analysis report, created by all collected information, and make effective changes in their customer experience platform.
To become a successful mystery shopper, you need to be good at a few different things. Improving your mystery shopping skills will help you get more jobs and earn more money in the future. The following is a list of 8 must-have characteristics of an awesome mystery shopper.
1. Follow the directions
The first thing to do as a mystery shopper is to follow directions. You should evaluate the information exactly what the client wants. Follow their instructions and perform what they want you to do within the correct amount of time to get a good report on time.
2. Eye for detail
Aware all the provided instructions before you go out for shopping. When you start your mission, make sure to notice if the customer service person is smiling, if the counter is clean, and be cognizant of anything else the client is interested in. Your report also needs to be clear and specific.
3. Dress appropriately and act as a normal shopper
Don’t show any signs of being a mystery shopper. Dress naturally as an average consumer and present yourself like that. If you are noticeable as a mystery shopper, you’ll be treated differently by the employees, which will ruin the integrity of the data.
4. Be reliable
The ability to perform and submit assignments promptly on time is a must because most companies have deadlines. A good mystery shopper arrives at the needed time and do correctly. So, if you fail to complete in time, the data collected by the mystery shopping vendor will be affected and that will also hurt your own chances.
5. Be honest
Honesty is paramount for mystery shoppers because it is an important trait of great mystery shoppers as well as the core criterion relationship between mystery shopper and vendor. As the company is paying you for your honest report, try to evaluate ones.
6. Good memory skills
You can’t work without taking notes for your report, yet it’ll be too strange or obvious if you walk around with a pen and notepad inside the shop. So, take mental notes first and then you can write the report straight away after you leave the shop.
7. Be good at writing
Every mystery shopper has to write reports. As being specific is important, write the information clearly and make sure to point out the details. Edit your report before submitting and look for common language errors.
8. Be organized
As there’s so much data being collected, being organized in reporting can provide insurance for you.
Mystery Shopping is a process of visiting a retail store, restaurant, bank branch, or any such location by a person with the objective of measuring the quality of customer experience, usually used by organizations and businesses to evaluate their employee performance, to confirm compliance in the workplace, to collect the information to improve the quality of products and services and also to identify areas for improvement to obtain an edge over competitors.
Mystery shoppers are usually freelancers. They visit the location by pretending like a customer and note the things they have been asked to measure. Then, they report the data to the mystery shopping company, called mystery shopping agency, who compiles and analyzes the data gathered from the different locations to help their clients. Mystery shoppers can help businesses in the following aspects:
Customer satisfaction and experience
All businesses want to know what customers think when they walk into stores, how to go through the purchasing process, and how they leave with the items they purchased. This is extremely important while they are trying to find the ways to innovate and grow the customer base of the company. Without the reports, companies can’t find out on the important information and ideas about their business.
Audit of company's employees
Mystery shopping can also provide the insight into how employees are interacting with customers. When a manager or supervisor is not around, it can be difficult to know how employees engage with the customers. Since mystery shoppers are tasked with interacting and provide the names of the people they interacted with, it can help to ensure that employees of store are conducting themselves correctly and giving customers the best experience.
Future employees and training
Mystery shopping can give not only information about current employees, but also an insight as to what the company should look for in the future employees. By identifying areas where employees usually lack, either skills or competencies, the information received can help companies improve their training processes.
Pros and Cons of Mystery Shopping
There are many pros of mystery shopping.
Customer feedback: Through a mystery shopper, customer perspective can be noted, such as the establishment’s ambiance, the kind of service that customers get, the overall cleanliness of the place, and how employees present themselves, which are some invaluable information.
Reinforce and verify policies: Verification is needed if different branches or departments follow newly cascaded policies and if those rolled out directives are effective across the board.
Check on your competitors: Comparing the services and products that you can provide by the competition on which areas you can improve on to gain an edge over your competitors.
There are also cons in mystery shopping.
Insufficient data: A reliable checklist, which the secret shopper can depend on, can provide directions to observe or to look out for.
Personal bias: With the biases, mystery shopper can be influenced by circumstances of the day.
Upset employees: The secrecy surrounding mystery shopping can make uncomfortable and may cause anxiety to the employees.
HS Brands Team