Mystery Shopping is a market research method that gathers information from the customer's point of view and the actual service conditions throughout. But to achieve this information wasn’t only using an anonymous shopper, but also needed to create a Mystery Shopping Checklist to store data.
What is a Mystery Shopping Checklist?
Mystery Shopping Checklist is a questionnaire that shoppers use to provide information after completing a shop inspection. It has a variety of questions mixed into the same questionnaire. The Mystery Shopping service company will collect and process the data from this questionnaire, summarize all the information and report the results of the examination to the client company.
What questions should the Mystery Shopping Checklist have?
The Mystery Shopping questionnaire used for each company is not always the same. Because each customer comes from a different industry, there are different things to check. Even businesses from the same industry may have different audit requirements or details. But we can summarize the important questionnaire categories, frequently encountered, and should be included in the questionnaire as follows:
What are the details of each category? Let's take a look.
The staff's friendliness and dedication
Businesses usually want to check our service personnel because it is a person who interacts with customers directly. The service quality depends on the staff themselves which is often checked including compliance with the given process, uniform and dress, willingness to work, and friendliness that is conveyed by words, tone of voice, or gestures.
The store environment
The next section that is often required to check is the location of services. Such as cleanliness, store organization, product arrangement, or condition of materials and equipment in the shop. This may include the placement of media to stimulate various sales as well because sometimes the customer company wants to check if each branch has a banner to promote new products that have just been sold or placed in a stand-out spot.
In addition to the overall site inspection, product placement checks are also important. Because it affects the sales of the products that are placed. They may check if there is a designated item on the shelf or if the shelf is always full of products. In addition, some customers of the company check the various promotional banners' placement as well.
Ability to handle customers
Sometimes the Mystery Shopping process may require the Shopper to ask questions or report problems to the staff to test the knowledge of the employee or check the readiness to solve immediate problems which are considered an important part of the service.
In this part of the question, many businesses tend to focus on the honesty of their employees. For example, asking if the change was received correctly or not or if the receipt is being delivered. Because employees often have fraudulent behavior in the payment process. But one thing that is often overlooked is checking the process and timing of payments Because it is part that affects customer satisfaction, such as employees taking too long to charge or being unable to pay with the desired payment method, etc.
Impression or overall experience
This section of the question is usually at the end of the questionnaire. It is intended to inquire about your impressions or feelings about the service received from the visit. Note that this section of the question will not be graded. Because it is a subjective question that allows Shoppers to express their feelings freely.
Although this section of the question is not scored. But the information obtained from this section of the question may lead to improvements in service development. Because sometimes you find that the service rating is good, but the Shopper is not impressed with the service they received. Because it lacks something that the shop doesn't have in the review criteria. So this section of the question may be more valuable to you than you might think.
If you are still not sure, Mystery Shopping service companies can provide advice on creating a survey questionnaire. The service standards or questionnaires that you already have can be converted into questionnaires suitable for examination and under your service policy.
Mystery Shopping has long been a way of verifying a business and is still popular today. But why do many businesses use Mystery Shopping to continuously monitor their business processes?
Obtaining audit information that meets the objectives
Doing business requires constant monitoring of different parts of the business such as work process, employee performance, or shop decoration. The Mystery Shopping audits have a clear objective of what they want to be audited for and what information is needed in specific parts.
Check customer satisfaction and experience
The important thing that businesses need to focus on is customer satisfaction and customer experiences of using products or services of customers because it affects the purchasing decision of the customer. The businesses that provide the best and most satisfying experiences, the customers will turn to the services of that business. Mystery Shopping can check both of these areas very well and point out the areas that still need to be improved.
Get information from the customer's point of view
The Shoppers used in Mystery Shopping are all customers who already have experience using the services of a business, so that experience can be used in conjunction with the review to obtain information from the perspective of hard-to-find customers and can be used to improve business development according to the needs of customers.
Compare with competitors
In addition to monitoring your own business, Mystery Shopping can also be used to monitor competitors' businesses. You can check what are the strengths and weaknesses of your business and competitors in the same market, what parts can you develop to outperform competitors, or fix the weaknesses to improve your service.
Evaluate new products or services
Launching a new product or service always carries risks. Therefore, many businesses use Mystery Shopping to check new products and services as well. Because what you expect or set goals may be inconsistent with reality. Mystery Shopping will help you instantly know where your goals are or where the problems that need to be fixed are.
Assess employees realistically
Employee assessments are generally done internally with prior notice. This may cause the working conditions seen at the time of inspection to be inconsistent with reality. But Mystery Shopping can fix this by sending the shoppers an anonymous check which the employees don’t know they're being inspected. This will reveal potential hidden problems.
Identify outstanding branches or employees
By doing Mystery Shopping, you can clearly see the performance of each branch and which branch performs outstandingly or any branch that needs to be improved to be as good as other branches, allowing businesses to quickly recognize and improve the efficiency of inferior branches and can also award prizes to outstanding branches or employees to encourage work and set an example for other branches and employees in the organization as well.
Improve employee performance
Once Mystery Shopping has made us aware of the performance of your employees or branches, you can build upon it by planning the staff development where there are still deficiencies. Such as organizing training seminars, creating a working manual, or arranging training courses according to what needs to be improved appropriately.
If you use Mystery Shopping to develop or validate various sectors of your business, you will take full advantage of the information you receive, which can be used for further improvement or business planning in the future.
Many people may be interested in using Mystery Shopping services for their own business but aren't sure if the service will be worth it or not. Today, we're going to summarize the pros and cons of Mystery Shopping so you can see if it's right for your business.
Advantages of Mystery Shopping
Evaluate the brand's compliance with standards
Every business has a set of work standards for employees to follow. But we can't always keep an eye on whether employees are always up to the standard. Mystery Shopping can help solve this problem because the shopper can be sent for examination anonymously, revealing the real working conditions of employees and whether they comply with the brand's standards.
Improve customer service
By doing Mystery Shopping, we can see some areas of service that can be improved, such as having employees always speak politely, serving food without making any noise, or increasing the speed of service. In addition to the service from the staff, Kiosk services, applications, or after-sales service contacts can also be improved.
Evaluate customer experience
Even if the employees follow the brand's standards or have good service, that doesn't mean the customer experience is good. Because there may be something that can make customers dissatisfied, for example, the product claim process has too many steps, the shop space is cramped and walking is not convenient, or taking too long to apply for membership. Mystery shopping can help identify areas where customers have had a bad experience while entering the service.
Keep employees alert at all time
If we notify employees that Mystery Shopping is used to monitor employee performance, they will be alert and more enthusiastic. Because they don't know which customer is a shopper which makes employees always perform at a high level.
Identify employees with inappropriate behavior
If there is a problem during the inspection, Shopper can tell exactly what's going on and identify which employees are behaving inappropriately. You can notify that employee to improve their behavior quickly.
Get feedback from quality customers
With Mystery Shopping, the shopper will summarize all service access across the board and point out where it did well or create a good impression. Also, the points that should be improved to make the service better and pleasing to customers.
Mystery Shopping is not limited to checking our own business alone, it can also check the work and services of competitors. The examination of competitors will allow us to compare what strengths and weaknesses our business has with competitors in the same industry, where we are better than competitors, and where the competitors are superior. This allows us to use this information to develop our business to be comparable or superior to competitors.
Disadvantages of Mystery Shopping
There is a cost to doing Mystery Shopping. Because it requires preparation time to select and train a qualified shopper that meets the target customer group of a certain business, a charge for products or services, and a quality control process with a summarized report.
Business owners or those involved in the quality of service may misunderstand that Mystery Shopping is free and not prepare a budget.
Employees may become anxious or dissatisfied
When we notify employees of the use of Mystery Shopping services, some may have concerns or dissatisfaction because it may be seen that the company does not trust their work, or feel uncomfortable. After all, they’re constantly being watched by the company. These conflicts often arise in companies that already have trust issues in the organization. And it often occurs in organizations where management or quality supervisors want to use Mystery Shopping to catch employees' mistakes.
Mystery Shopping is a great opportunity to rethink the thought paradigm of executives and improve communication within the organization. If we do not communicate well enough with employees on this matter or use this service to cavil them mainly, it may result in a decrease in the performance of employees.
Information provided by Shoppers may be biased
Since each Shopper has a different background, whether gender, age, occupation, society, or attitude, if they are not trained to understand Shopper's work, it may cause the information that Shopper gives to be misleading or biased. For example, Shoppers may find that the staff did something wrong but feel sympathetic towards them, so they provide information to help that employee.
Companies that specialize in Mystery Shopping recognize the importance of Shopper training and can also advise the brand on what types of questions should not be included in the review.
With all that said, you can see that Mystery Shopping has many advantages that are worth using and some downsides are worth considering too. Now you can decide if Mystery Shopping is right for your business.
HS Brands Team