Mystery Shopping - the most simple and effective method of motivation and an important part of service design

What is "Mystery Shopping"?

Mystery shopping is a technique commonly used by retailers, market research, and consumer watchdogs to measure the quality of customer service in bricks-and-mortar environments and to collect information about products and service delivery. 

Mystery Shopping is our service process in which a person visits a retail store, restaurant, bank branch, or any such location with the objective of measuring the quality of customer experience.

Many companies define detailed processes and parameters to ensure that customers will have a good experience in their sales locations.

Some examples are:

  • How customers will be greeted
  • What is the maximum acceptable waiting time
  • What should be the temperature of the facility
  • How many products should be on display etc?

To ensure that these processes are followed, HIRE PROFI hires Mystery Shoppers to conduct regular audits on their locations.

Where Are Mystery Shoppers Sent?

Shoppers are sent to a wide variety of service-based businesses including stores, restaurants, banks, apartment complexes — potentially anywhere customers are served or serviced.

What Does a Mystery Shopper Do?

Independent or third-party vendors hire consumers to make retail transactions and provide a detailed record of the experience.

Mystery Shoppers purchase items, eat at restaurants, make inquiries, or return items.

Mystery Shoppers are not hired to give opinions but are hired to assess a business and its employees from the customer experience perspective.

Some of the data mystery shoppers collect and report (usually by completing a survey) include "normal" observations as a casual observer, but mystery shoppers may also be retained to ask specific questions or be "difficult" customers.

You may be asked to relay information on:

The number of employees that were on duty (or on the floor) when the mystery shopper entered;
If you are greeted, how long does it take, by whom, and was the greeting friendly and or helpful?
Name(s) of employee(s) that you interacted with or observed;
Type of products shown to you, and the sales pitch you were given including whether there were any additional items suggested for you to purchase;
If you were invited to return to the store or offered sign-up for mailing lists, credit accounts, etc.
How fast you received service and if the service was satisfactory.

Other things mystery shoppers may be required to observe and note include:

Cleanliness of the store or facility;
The personal grooming and appearance of the employees (were they properly dressed, were uniforms clean, etc.) and if employees adhered to any store dress codes.

How Much Do Mystery Shoppers Get Paid?

Most mystery shoppers are paid by the job and not by the hour. Shoppers may up to €50, €100, €200, or more. In some cases, they are not paid but will be reimbursed for certain expenses.

Do You Have to Pay for Purchases?

If a purchase is required, yes. But in many cases, you may be reimbursed. For example, if you are required to eat at a restaurant, you might not be paid for your time but would likely be reimbursed for the cost of your meal.

Some retail stores include a small purchase allowance but expect only a few €.

Other places that typically reimburse you for services include beauty salons, dry cleaners, or even car maintenance. Still, others may offer you freebies include hotel stays or free tickets to movies and theme parks.



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