8 Reasons why Retailers should Employ Mystery Shoppers

- Leadership - Dec 22, 2014

As customer experience becomes an ever-important factor for consumers’ decisions to purchase or not purchase from a business, the value of genuine and controlled feedback from mystery shoppers is rising.

With this in mind, Amber Arch, provider of trained secret shoppers, gives eight reasons why your business should consider taking on this form of evaluation.

1. Monitoring staff performance

Auditing the performance of your customer service teams is extremely important, but staff are on their best behaviour when upper management are around or inspections are due. This can give a skewed impression of everyday performance.

2. Gathering unbiased information

Customer feedback can be helpful, but doesn’t always supply the information you need and may be biased. You need someone impartial who knows what they’re looking for, without setting off employees’ alarm bells.

That’s where mystery shopping comes in. Third-party companies like Amber Arch will send a trained secret shopper to your premises, who will perform an evaluation according to your requirements. As they’re a stranger to your staff, they’ll be able to report on an authentic customer experience.

3. Identifying a need for development

The results can be used to benefit your business in a number of ways. Perhaps most importantly, you will learn of any malpractice. Are staff failing to wear hair nets when preparing food? Are clothing displays untidy? Do staff have adequate knowledge about a product on sale?

If the answer to any questions like these is no, you’ve identified a training opportunity. You’ll be able to channel your budget into development that will have a real impact on the customer journey — and therefore on brand image and sales.

4. A great tool to help make informed business decisions

Mystery shopping is a fantastic diagnostic tool. For a small investment, you can get insight into why a store is underperforming or discover areas for improvement — a new, unbiased perspective can really do wonders. The insight will allow you to make justified and informed business decisions.

But don’t just draft secret shoppers in when a problem arises. Knowing that they could be assessed at any time, staff will be more motivated to deliver the best possible service to each and every customer. You should see performance levels improve dramatically.

5. A means to recognise staff and boost morale

It’s recommended that you complement a mystery shopping programme with an incentive scheme, rewarding employees who achieve positive reviews to help keep morale high. For managers that don’t work directly with their team, it’s a great way to ensure there’s recognition for good work.

6. To help realise the impact of change within your business

Regular mystery shopping reports will also help you monitor progress and recognise the impact of changes within the business. How have customer service levels been progressing since a training session? How quickly are staff adopting new processes? Have staffing changes resulted in extended queueing times?

7. Quick feedback, to allow quick reactions

With data and comments from secret shoppers, you can get answers quickly and rectify issues before they cause considerable damage — or identify measures having a positive effect, and quickly roll them out to other branches in confidence.

8. To gain a competitive edge

Mystery shopping visits can be tailored to suit your organisation and goals, so you always receive valuable, relevant information. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to gain intelligence that gives your organisation a competitive edge.

To find out more about Amber Arch, click here

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