Using mystery shopping services can have many benefits from your business. A mystery shop basically involves someone visiting your business, posing as a customer, and asking questions to see whether or not staff are responding in the right way; attention can also be paid by a mystery shopper to the general layout of your business and the ease by which they can find stock. However, once you’ve built up feedback from mystery shoppers, how should you then use it?
The kind of feedback that you ask for will largely determine how effective it is; this means making sure that you start a mystery shopping project with a clear idea about how you want information given back to you, and what it should cover. This might take the form of a written report that goes into detail about different parts of a mystery shop, or it might be a range of documents and graphs sent to you online through a dashboard and file sharing service.
You can also choose to vary the kind of feedback you receive by ordering a mystery shopping service that includes video and audio recordings; this can be an effective way to get an unbiased view of what happened during a mystery shop, and can be combined with a written report so that you can better understand the context that a mystery shopper was working with when they were responding to your business and staff.
In terms of actually using the feedback from a mystery shop, you want to review it to see what some of the major strengths and weaknesses identified were. These may or may not align with your expectations, so you should take the time to compare previous mystery shopper reports and your own staff performance reviews to see whether there are any consistent patterns that can be identified over a significant period of time.
Be critical, though, with the feedback that you receive, so that you know what you’d like a mystery shopping service to focus on in the future. Putting a copy of a mystery shopper report up on your staff room wall can also enable employees to find out where they can improve their work; this can then be combined with staff training sessions that go through the different points of a report and how you can improve on existing trends.
It’s important to set up some kind of system for mystery shopping services so that you can best use the information you receive; work with mystery shopping agencies to create a clear dialogue over what you expect from them, and the form that you want feedback to take. Project managers and client support managers from mystery shopper services can help you to tailor the whole mystery shopping process to your individual business needs.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Shlomi Fish