The areas of application for mystery shopping and mystery shoppers
Mystery shopping application is suitable for all areas where there is regular direct communication between staff and customers. This means not only classic sales situations, for example in retail, but also in banks, insurance companies, hotels, restaurants, pharmacies, dry cleaners, cinemas, and theaters.
Private and municipal providers of complex services such as hospitals, swimming pools, libraries, fitness studios, adult education centers, advice centers, or kindergartens ask for analyzes based on empirical findings from mystery shopping.
In these areas, there are much higher demands on the education and training of the mystery shoppers than with simple test purchases. After all, the mystery shoppers must be able to convincingly fulfill the role of the customer even in demanding situations and be able to competently grasp the essential quality features.
The sales and consulting services that are provided over the Internet or by telephone can also be drawn, recorded, and evaluated with the help of mystery shopping. In mystery shopping, real customer situations that take place on a daily basis should always be recorded.
A distinction must be made, however, which goals are the focus. Not only for franchise companies is the uniform appearance, both of salesrooms and goods presentation as well as of employees, of decisive importance (brand recognition).
Mystery Shopping Areas of Application
- Retail trade
- Swimming pools
- Fitness studios
- Adult education centers
- Counseling center
- Online shops
- Call center
- Service hotlines
Process of the Mystery Shoppers in the Sales Rooms
Mystery shoppers examine sales and service rooms, including the staff working in them, to determine to what extent the specifications are being adhered to. For this purpose, questionnaires are always filled out: It is best, of course, to do this unobtrusively on site. If that is not possible, mystery shoppers fill out the relevant questionnaires from memory immediately after visiting the customer’s store.
Testing and analysis of the staff of mystery shoppers
The sales and service quality can only be measured and assessed in a direct consultation. The Mystery Shopper is there for that as a completely normal customer, but his appearance can also be specified. For example, it is conceivable to have an older, technically unfamiliar woman appear as a customer in a car repair shop in order to analyze the service quality of the employees towards this target group.
In practice, mystery shoppers are also often used in bank advisory meetings, which are intended to specifically convey to the employees of the credit institution that they belong to a certain income bracket or occupational group. For each analysis situation, in cooperation with the customer, we prepare exactly how the mystery shopper should behave and which questions to ask in certain situations.
Reliability and honesty of the employees
Mystery shopping is also preferred when the employer wants to get a reliable picture of the reliability and honesty of his employees in sensitive areas. Whenever employees have access to cash, this requires an extra level of control in order to contain the risk of loss. This applies exactly to waiters and waitresses in bars and restaurants as well as to employees in credit institutions.
In mystery shopping employees are brought into situations in which they could easily commit fraudulent behavior. Experience shows that very few employees actually use such opportunities for cheating or even infidelity on a large scale. But it is definitely worth looking for the black sheep with the help of mystery shopping: not only to put them down before they can cause great damage but also to show all employees that fraud is never worth it.
Mystery Shopping and dealing with your Own Employees
Every client who makes use of mystery shopping wants to get an immediate and unadulterated picture of the real situation that customers experience in their company every day. The aim is not to monitor or even spy on employees; rather, the use of mystery shopping is to identify strengths and weaknesses, from which learning fields and corresponding strategies for processing them can be derived. The employees who provide the services on-site also benefit when they learn how to do their job even better. More positive customer feedback and more job satisfaction are the rewards.
Openly address mystery shopping and benefit directly
There is nothing wrong with openly addressing the use of mystery shoppers in your own company: Since the date and time of the respective entry are not disclosed, no employee can purposefully pretend. Instead, the open communication of mystery shopping creates a willingness among employees to accept the results of these investigations and to actively implement the resulting improvement strategies in day-to-day operations.
Satisfied Employees = Satisfied Customers
(A satisfied employee sells better than a dissatisfied one.)
Training of Employees
The use of video and audiotape recordings has proven to be particularly effective in practice: They enable the objective reproduction of the respective service situation so that every employee can directly observe and evaluate their own behavior. Such training usually brings you and your employees very good results.
Factors need to be considered while dealing with Own employees
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Improvement ideas
- Security / satisfaction
The Method of Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping can use a very extensive range of different recording and evaluation methods. In order for a mystery shopping project to bring the desired results for the client, precise planning is essential. To do this, the knowledge that is to be obtained with the help of mystery shopping must first be defined. The mystery shopping provider and the client then determine the strategy with which these goals are to be achieved.
Calculate Mystery Shopping Tests
Statistical methods are used to calculate the number of mystery shopping tests that are required in order to be able to draw conclusions about the population with sufficient certainty from the test results. The time frame for the investigation must also be determined as early as possible. Customers can not only decide to carry out a one-off mystery shopping campaign, but also implement mystery shopping as a recurring, permanent control of the relationships between the company and its customers.
Development of questionnaires with the customer
Particular care is taken in drawing up the questionnaires: Only if it is clearly described what the mystery shopper is looking for must pay attention, satisfactory results can be achieved. In practice, it has proven useful for complex questions to have a mystery shopping employee carry out an observation in a test run by filling out the questionnaire.
After evaluating this first mystery shopping campaign, corrections can be made if necessary. Both lay mystery shoppers and professionals can be used for mystery shopping. Here, too, the specific service situation decides which type of mystery shopper is best suited.
When it comes to simple everyday business, such as taking and processing orders in a fast-food restaurant, a part-time lay mystery shopper is certainly perfectly suitable. The situation is different with demanding services, the competent provision of which requires extensive previous training.
For example, the advisory services of a pharmaceutical representative (drug seller) can only be competently assessed by medically trained mystery shoppers. The question of whether only employees of the mystery shopping company should be used or whether external personnel should also be answered must also be answered.
Results and consequences of Mystery Shopping
After it has been carried out and collected, the recorded data is compressed and meaningfully summarized in reports. It is particularly beneficial for customers if the results of the examination are made available to them in file form, for example in Excel format, so that they can also carry out their own evaluations. On request, advice on how to improve the deficiencies discovered in mystery shopping is also available Company offered. It has proven to be particularly useful to carry out the mystery shopping investigation again with the same question after a certain time interval. By comparing the results of both mystery shopping surveys, it can then be seen immediately whether the measures that have now been taken to improve the quality of service and service have had the desired success.
The Keys to Success of Mystery shopping methods
- Good planning
- Work out questions
- Creation of questionnaires
- Inform mystery shoppers
- set priorities
- Mystery Shopping Glossary of Terms
- Mystery Shopping Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
- Mystery Shopping Scams and How to avoid?
- Why do businesses use Mystery Shopping?
- Mystery Shopping Areas of Application and Mystery Shoppers
Mystery Shopper / Test Buyer
Behind the mysterious term Mystery Shopper, there is nothing more than a test buyer in the broader sense. On behalf of a mystery shopping company, a mystery shopper examines sales and other services according to very precise specifications. This can be, for example, the presentation of goods in shops, the appearance and communication of sales staff or the quality of the services provided by a car repair shop. It is always characteristic of a mystery shopper that he does not reveal himself as such, but appears as a completely normal customer. Such tests are not only carried out during on-site visits; service-oriented companies that operate over the Internet or by telephone can also be checked by mystery shoppers.
- Different testers
- Different qualifications
- All ages
- Quick grasp
Types of Test Buyer
Briefing of the Mystery Shopper
Of course, the Mystery Shopper is given a detailed briefing before each assignment. He can only carry out his assignment optimally if he understands exactly what the problem is. As a rule, detailed questionnaires are used that the mystery shopper has to fill out. In the case of complex tasks, in addition to fully formulated answers to tick, the mystery shopper’s own explanations are required.
Evaluation of the Mystery Shoppers
The results of the observations of all mystery shoppers who have participated in a project are evaluated, the data then condensed and statistically analyzed so that general statements can be derived from it. Mystery shoppers have a special responsibility because their judgment can have far-reaching consequences for the companies examined. Therefore, you should always strive for the highest possible degree of objectivity, impartiality and fairness.
Tasks of a Test Buyer
The tasks of a mystery shopper can be performed both part-time and full-time. All consumers who have a particularly good power of observation and who enjoy helping to improve customer service and service quality are suitable as mystery shoppers.
Test purchases in local stores or online shops can be carried out as a part-time job without any problems. However, some areas of activity in mystery shopping require certain qualifications. Complex banking services can only be reliably tested by mystery shoppers who have the appropriate expertise in finance.
Because they have to be able to negotiate with the customer advisor on an equal footing and to follow his explanations at all times. In the medical sector, too, the specialist staff is used for mystery shopping projects: if medical consultations are to be assessed, the mystery shopper must have prior medical training. But there are also areas of mystery shopping in the broader sense in which not so much theoretical knowledge, but rather practical experience is required.
The work of a mystery shopper is very complex and always in direct contact with a seller or an online platform. The prerequisites are very different because many different areas can be passed through. Vacancies are often advertised on the Internet or you apply directly to a mystery shopping agency. Try it.