If you’re a retailer looking to improve the experience for your customers (as indeed, all retailers should), then you’ll need to know about where you’re going wrong.If you don’t have this knowledge to hand, after all, then you’ll find making improvements decidedly difficult.
Fortunately, there’s a tried-and-true method of getting this information: a mystery shopper.This anonymous person enters your store and performs a shop, all the while collecting data about their experience.This data is tailored in the form of a questionnaire, which allows the business to be specific about the areas of weakness they’re looking to identify.
In order to get the best from your mystery shopping campaign, you’ll need to follow a few basic guidelines.Let’s take a look at some of them.
In order to get the most useful feedback from your mystery shopper, you’ll want to ask them targeted questions about your store.If there are general areas of weakness that you’ve already identified, then a mystery shopper will be able to zoom in on them and see if there’s room for improvement.A classic example of this is name badges on your staff – if they’re not visible, or not present at all, then you’ll be able to see this quickly.It’s something that can be easily noted and quantified, and thus you’ll get a straightforward answer.
At the same time, you’ll also want to offer your mystery shopper the opportunity to be vaguer about what’s going wrong in the store.It might be that there are areas of weakness you haven’t even considered yet – and thus a mystery shopper might help you to avoid confirmation bias, and point you in the right direction.Be aware, however, that a single mystery shopper report isn’t enough to diagnose a problem.If you notice a pattern across several reports, made by different shoppers, which all pinpoint the same weakness, then you’ll know that you really do have cause for concern.
A mystery shopper report is a great way to motivate your staff.If they treat every customer as though they’re a mystery shopper collecting information on the store, then it follows that the general standard of customer service will rise.But it’s important not to use your mystery shopper report as a disincentive, hanging it over your workforce’s head like a guillotine that might at any moment decapitate them; such an approach will invariably lead to stress, which will exacerbate the very customer service problems you’re trying to eradicate.
Be aware of the limitations of mystery shopping
While it’s useful to take advantage of mystery shopping, it’s also worth being aware of the limitations of the practice.The first and most obvious of these is that it’s expensive, especially when compared to other methods like questionnaires.The second is that there’s the possibility for error on the part of the mystery shopper – and if you’ve only got a very limited sample of shopper reports to go by, it’s easy to be led astray.This danger, as we’ll come to, is all the more pressing if the mystery shopping firm is less-than-capable.As a general rule, it’s best to use mystery shopping as part of a varied suite of information-gathering and marketing techniques.You might, for example, use questionnaires and direct customer feedback to identify potential areas of weakness, and then use mystery shopper reports to see that they’ve been addressed consistently.A specialist field marketing firm like Tactical Solutions will be able to offer the service, as well as a host of others.
Use a reputable company
While there are a lot of people out there willing to offer a mystery shopping service, they vary tremendously in terms of quality. There’s no real way of being sure, after all, that your mystery shopper is being honest about their observations, or that the information they’ll provide will be of a high quality. After all, anyone can walk into a shop and critique it. While good information can be invaluable, bad information can lead to bad decision-making, which might cost your business in the long-run.
Mystery shopper reports can form a valuable part of your company’s marketing strategy. With their help, you’ll be able to improve the experience for your customer, and thereby lure them back to your store. The best approach is therefore to stick with a reputable firm like Tactical Solutions. That way, you’ll be able to be sure that your mystery shopper reports are of the highest possible standard.