Mystery Shopping Process
The process of mystery shopping usually begins with a set of goals. This set of goals outlines what is expected from the mystery shopper. For example, the area of the business they are examining (customer service, cleanliness, product quality, etc.) is clearly outlined before beginning. A time line is assessed when the shop should be completed as well as the method of shopping that should be used to best achieve these goals. Goals are important for the mystery shopper because they help outline what exactly is expected out of their shopping experience. These details are important to the client as well and are ultimately used to ensure the best experience and results for both parties.
There are several categories that are almost always included in a mystery shopping evaluation. Because a regular shopping experience is the most common (one where a person enters the store, purchases the product and leaves) it makes sense for more than just customer service to be evaluated. After all, if you are sending someone into the store, it’s best to know as much information about the experience as possible. The following is a list of common areas that are evaluated as a part of the mystery shopper’s experience.
- Was there a phone call made before visiting the store?
- If so, how were you greeted over the phone?
- Was the employee helpful?
- The time and date of the phone call
- The name of the store
- The date the shopper visited the store
- The general appearance of the store
- How many employees were working
- If the shopper was greeted
- How the shopper was greeted and how quickly they were greeted
- An assessment of how the employees presented themselves
- How they were dressed
- If the employees acted in a professional manner
- If they were helpful and knowledgeable about the product
- An evaluation on the product
- If they were asked back by employees
- An overall assessment on the shopping experience as a whole
It is important for a shopper to be consistent during shopping evaluations. To always undergo the same demeanor, ask the same product questions and to be as objective as possible between stores. This makes their evaluations more trustworthy for the client.
As you can see, even through a simple shopping experience a great deal can be determined about a company. These evaluations ultimately help companies make important decisions about their products, employees and business plans.
After a shop is completed, the mystery shopper relays information back to the client. This is usually done via questionnaire or through a report, which outlines the details of the mystery shopping experience. Sometimes mystery shoppers speak directly over the phone to the client, but this is becoming less and less common. Relaying information back to the client correctly is almost as important as the shop itself, and mystery shoppers must do their best to accurately relay information about their experience efficiently and correctly.