The first thing that you need to take into consideration in regards to mystery shopping is just what is it?
There are many people that mistakenly believe that mystery shopping is nothing more than going into a store or a restaurant and getting paid to shop or eat there. While this is true, there is much more work to it.
If you want to make a business out of mystery shopping and you want to earn a decent amount of income off of it, there are certain things that you should keep in mind before getting started.
The first and foremost thing you must understand is the importance of mystery shopping.
What is Mystery shopping?
Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping or covert customer research, is a method of evaluating a company’s customer service by having a trained individual pose as a customer and assess various aspects of the service provided.
The goal of mystery shopping is to provide businesses with an unbiased evaluation of their customer service, which can help identify areas that need improvement, as well as areas that are working well.
Benefits of Mystery Shopping for Companies
There are several potential benefits to using mystery shopping to evaluate customer service, including:
Identifying Training Needs:
Mystery shopping can reveal areas of weakness in customer services, such as employees who lack product knowledge or poor communication skills, which can then be addressed through training and development.
Improving Customer Experience:
Mystery shopping can help a business identify areas of customer service that are impacting the customer experience negatively and make changes to improve it.
Mystery shopping can provide businesses with an objective measure of customer service performance, which can be used to compare the performance of different locations or teams.
Identifying Best Practices:
Mystery shopping can help businesses identify employees who are delivering exceptional customer service, which can then be shared as best practices across the organization.
Mystery shopping can be used as a motivational tool for employees, as good customer service can be rewarded, and poor customer service can be addressed with training.
However, it is also important to note that Mystery shopping is not a panacea and should be used in conjunction with other methods of customer service evaluation such as customer feedback, customer complaints, and customer surveys. It also should be executed with ethics, transparency, and honest reporting in order to maintain the integrity of the program.
Why Is Mystery Shopping Done?
The first thing to take into consideration is why mystery shopping is done. Since you are soon to be a business owner, you can understand this. If you were to be in your place of business all of the time, everyone that worked for you would do their job 100% of the time right. But, what if you could not be there all of the hours that it was open? What if your business got so large that you opened other locations?
The problem is that even those that you trust and put in charge may not do their job as well as you would want them to. Therefore, as a mystery shopper, it is your job to see if those that are running the business are doing so as the owner of the business would like them to.
If that sounds difficult, it does not have to be. But, before you head out for your first mystery shopping experience, it is essential to realize what is at stake here.
What Happens To What I Report?
Once you begin to mystery shop, you will be required to enter locations, take note of specific things, and then be required to report back to the company about what you saw, heard, and experienced there.
This information is very important to those that are running the business. In a sense, you are the eyes and the ears of the company from a customer’s point of view. Therefore, they take what you have to say very seriously.
In some businesses, employees receive additional benefits including prizes or bonuses if in fact they do well based on what the mystery shopper says about them. In other cases, the business owner may punish or subject some sort of negative feedback to the employee that does not do well with his or her shop. But, this should not discourage you from reporting the facts.
In effect, you will not be doing your job or building your mystery shopping business if you do not provide just the facts.
Why it is important to note the facts only?
One of the biggest mistakes new mystery shoppers make that leads them to not get their mystery shopping up and running well is not sticking to the facts.
The problem is that the guidelines for the mystery shop that you are doing are going to be set in stone. That is, they have laid the foundation for the mystery shop. If you are to work with them, you need to take those guidelines, follow them to the T and then report back in the proper manner.
If you use opinion rather than fact, you will not get many shops from this time forward.
Here is why?
What not to Write(Don’t)
If you are to enter a location and determine if the location is clean and you answer with, Although the floors were clean and free from debris, I did not find the promotional material to be beneficial to my tastes. This is in fact an opinion statement and not effective, beneficial, or worth their money to pay you.
What to Write(Do)
Instead, what you should say is something like, The floors in the location were clean and free from debris. I noticed the promotional material for this month’s sale hanging neatly. The windows were clean and smudge-free around the materials hanging there. This is all fact and has nothing to do with what you think, but rather just what is there.
In some cases, the mystery shopping companies will ask you to put in your opinion and then it is just fine and even a very important part of the process. But, also insure that this is what they are asking before you get started.
Why Mystery Shopping Is Vitally Important?
Mystery shopping is fast becoming the way that people get raises, the way they are recognized and the way in which a company gears its next promotion, its customer service needs, and even the way that they will spend their profits. Seeing things from the customer’s point of view is, in short, vitally important to the well-being of the company.
If you are creating a business in which you will be doing mystery shopping for various companies, you will want to insure that your standards are just as high as those that the mystery shopping company is looking for in its people.
We will get into what things you should and should not do when it comes to mystery shopping in just a bit. But, what you need to know is that this is a serious job and it can be quite a profitable business if you invest your time, energy, and dedication into it.
Mystery shopping is sure to be around for many years to come. The company that is looking to invest in hiring people to pose as customers are one company that will be better able to see what the customer sees. Add odd times of the day or night, when the new guy is working or when there is a large rush, they can see just what their customers see and experience.
Here are some things that a mystery shopper will help a business owner to decide based on his or her report about their experience during the mystery shop.
- Did they wait long?
- Did my customers have good service or were the employees rude to them?
- Did my business look good when the customer came in?
- Did we land the sale or did the customer go elsewhere to get it?
- Did my employee follow all of my rules and my policies and did he do his job to the best of his abilities?
- What can my company do better to impress that customer?
- Do I need to use a customer satisfaction program to enhance the way that my employees treat my customers?
- What are my customers thinking, feeling, seeing, and experiencing when they enter?
- Does this employee deserve a raise or promotion?
- Is this store the store that does the best because of its location or because it has great customer service?
- Would I want to be a customer in that store?
All of these things and many more are the foundation of what makes up mystery shopping. In turn, if you plan to be a successful business owner with a mystery shopping business, then it is vitally important for you to invest the time and the skills necessary in making sure that what you see and do allows the business to make these types of decisions.
Now that you know what mystery shopping is, you can begin to create a business for yourself from it. Well, show you how.