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Mystery Shopping Services Can Improve Your Business in 2021

by ethosplc | April 26th, 2021

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It is important to always deliver the best customer service you can to keep your customers coming back again and again. A business that does not have repeat customers will have a hard time surviving the first few years of operation.

Your customers should be cherished and given the kind of experience they’ll want to use again and recommend to others. But how do you ensure that’s happening without making all your clients complete a survey after each business transaction or watching your frontline staff’s every move? The answer for many companies is mystery shopping.

Mystery shoppers are the unsung heroes of the retail and service industries. Since first being introduced in the 1940s, they have helped countless businesses worldwide improve their customer service and learn from mistakes, boosting profits in the process. It’s a tool commonly used by market research companies and watchdog organizations, and since the feedback is usually completely anonymous, it guarantees accurate, honest results.

The kind of tasks that mystery shoppers perform vary from reviewing product purchases to making complaints and asking predefined questions to measure the quality of responses.  Some may have disabilities or be asked to behave in a certain way in order to analyze how staff responds to those with special needs or difficult customers, both very important areas of customer care.

Unlike the average customer, mystery shoppers are specifically trained to watch out for specific things like availability of certain products and staff behavior. They measure the personal qualities and friendliness of staff and give feedback on how easy and pleasurable they found their shopping experience.

They are a valuable tool for finding out how your business performs for every customer. Is your staff trained to handle “difficult” or disgruntled customers? How would they respond to a customer who is inpatient or hard to satisfy? Does your staff handle their responsibilities while remaining professional and courteous?

A good mystery shopping program can be worth its weight in gold. Most major retailers have a team of consumers on hand called secret shoppers to keep their staff on the ball, but it’s not just shops that should be taking advantage. All sorts of businesses can benefit from a team of undercover reviewers who are willing to provide honest opinions on their experiences. Here are a few ways they could help yours:

How mystery shopping programs can help your Business

A fresh pair of eyes

Even companies that are on top of their customer service targets need a new perspective every now and then. Employing a team of mystery shoppers will allow you to see your company in a new light and gain a real insight into how people view your business from the outside.  Relying on people who work within the company to give you honest feedback will never be as reliable as hearing the truth about your business straight from the horse’s mouth, so grab any opportunity you can to listen to someone impartial.

An opportunity to make positive changes

Gaining a clear overview of how people perceive your customer service efforts will allow you to understand what is and isn’tworking and identify any training needs. When you know where you are going wrong (and even the very best businesses do get it wrong occasionally) you’ll be able to concentrate on putting it right.

A chance to offer real value

A good mystery shopper will give you a real and honest evaluation of your business and tell you what you could have done to improve their experience. As all customers are ultimately looking for great value, working on any pain points will help you give them exactly that.

Mystery shopping is quickly shifting the focus of business to improving the customer experience. Consumer expectations grow and change from day to day. To stay current with these changes, businesses need to stay in step with their customers, changing expectations through a series of tools and resources aimed at providing valuable feedback on what consumers look for when shopping and how you can best serve them.

What Things A Mystery Shopper Evaluates

When consumers are in your store, the ability to find items, the availability of stock, and the cleanliness of the store are things they will find out only after coming to your business. Your business will be evaluated on the customer service provided by your friendly staff, the overall cleanliness of your public areas and restrooms, availability of paper products in the restrooms, popular items on store shelves or in-stock,was your customer greeted when they entered the store, and would they choose your business over a competitor with similar services?

All this information goes a long way towards improving the customer experience and ensuring that they remain loyal customers for years to come. With so many retailers in business in 2021, you need to possess the knowledge of what customers want and how to provide it to retain existing customers and snag new ones from your competitors.

As business owners, we have all experienced some good and bad shopping experiences in our lifetime. Remember how you felt when you come into a business and cannot find things, prices are not listed, and no one seems interested in asking if you need help.

The difference is like night and day when you find a business that just “gets it.” Store shelves are well-stocked, departments are marked with signs to help you find what you’re looking for, prices are clearly marked, and an associate is nearby to help if you need anything.

Remember that friendly, smiling face that greeted you when you entered and said to let them know if you need any help? These are two vastly different shopping experiences, but ones that can be used to train your staff and improve your customer’s satisfaction when visiting your establishment

Mystery shopping is a market research tool that can help you find out your strengths and weaknesses, as well as make improvements to your customer service, and gain new customers from all those customer loyalty promotions you have been running.

To find out more about how your business could benefit from a mystery shopping experience and how to get involved, get in touch with Ethos today.