Does Your Mystery Shopping Company Practice What They Preach?
By Ron Welty, Founder & Chief Client Officer
The ultimate goal of a mystery shopping company is to improve customer experience. Consider the irony: While your mystery shopping company may, in fact, help improve the experience of your customers, you, as their customer, have a poor experience working with the mystery shopping company.
A mystery shopping company with a bad customer experience is like a double-edged sword. They preach about the importance of creating good customer experiences, but don’t have a solid mission or strong enough practices to deliver the same excellent experiences to their own customers.
In order to see a positive return on your investment, it’s important that your mystery shopping company practices what they preach. Here’s what you should look for in a mystery shopping company.
Think about your customer journey. Would you expect your customer to wait a long time to receive your services or struggle with the ordering process? Neither should you.
A long or complicated onboarding process is one of the first red flags when working with a mystery shopping. If you have a poor experience right from the get-go, it’s often a clear indication as to how the rest of your partnership will go. The process from “let’s go” to launch should be quick (think somewhere around two weeks) and easy, relieving you from as much of the work as possible.
Mystery shopping companies often tout the importance of personalizing the customer experience. (After all, your customers expect you to know their name and preferences and provide personalized recommendations.) Yet, many offer a one-size-fits-all mystery shopping program.
Every business is different—even those in the same industry. It’s important for your mystery shopping company to be flexible and innovative when designing and implementing your unique mystery shopping program. A good mystery shopping company will take the time to understand the branded initiatives you want to test and the metrics that matter most to you.
Mystery Shop Services
You want to partner with a mystery shopping company because, well, you want a mystery shopping program. But consider this: Have you ever gone to a restaurant for dinner, saw the dessert cart roll by, and now suddenly, you’re eating a decadent chocolate cake?
The point is, you want a mystery shopping company that can offer what you need—and what you didn’t even know you needed for a holistic view of your customer experience. Just as you would want your associates to upsell your products to offer your customers the best experience possible, you also want your mystery shopping company to inform and teach you about the breadth of services they offer. Whether it’s video mystery shopping, compliance audits, or voice of the customer tools, these different services can help you gain the different perspectives you need.
Mystery Shopper Quality
When hiring associates, you likely wouldn’t hire just anyone off the streets. No, you’d take the time to get to know their qualifications and who they are as people. Even for “gig jobs” like mystery shopping, the same hiring strategy should apply.
Not everyone is cut out to be a mystery shopper and not every mystery shopper is cut out for every assignment. Inquire about how mystery shoppers are vetted and selected. It’s important that the mystery shoppers are not only reliable and knowledgeable for each assignment, but that they also meet your customer demographic. After all, the same mystery shopper likely wouldn’t be the right fit for assignments at a luxury car dealership and a fast food restaurant.
It’s one thing to have data; it’s another thing to know what to do with it. Too often, mystery shopping companies will conduct their shops and dump the data at their customers’ doorsteps. It’s like selling your customers a piece of furniture, and not providing instructions for how to build it. Similarly, not providing next steps with your data isn’t helpful to you, the customer, as you attempt to improve your own customer experience and measure ROI.
It’s important that your mystery shopping company provides you with detailed, story-like reports as if you were actually there. Beyond that, your company should also help you understand what the mystery shop reports mean and how to use the feedback to improve customer experience.
When choosing a mystery shopping company, IntelliShop understands what it means to create exceptional customer experiences. We don’t just “talk the talk;” we also “walk the walk” by putting you, the customer, first and going above and beyond to get the results your business needs to succeed. Our mystery shopping programs will tell you exactly how customers interact with your brand at each touchpoint to help your customer experience go from good to great. By tracking the entire customer journey, we present our findings to you in a detailed, actionable InSite™ report to create a strategy that will improve customer experience at your organization. Just ask our clients—there’s a reason we’ve never lost a customer.
Contact us today to explore what a mystery shopping partnership with your business could like.