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Why Everyone Is Talking About Mystery Shopping

May 6, 2008
Mystery shopping is one of those jobs that sounds incredibly alluring. It sounds like a cross between fully blown spy and shopping. Perfect for those wanna be bond girls that were sadly overlooked by the recent casting team. Okay so perhaps I am getting a little carried away but it is definitely the case that operating as a mystery shopper is exciting.

It is the role of a mystery shopper to enter a place of work and observe the levels of customer service that they receive. This includes being given a list of tasks that must be completed in the place of work. These tasks are often created by the company themselves to analyse the performance of their own staff and these tasks often target a specific area of customer service that the company want to analyse.

A typical example of this is in a bar situation. Often a mystery shopper will be told to order a specific list of drinks and they will provide a report as to how well the drinks were delivered and whether they were to the standard that was expected. This can be making note of whether or not they got ice and lemon in their coke. This is the basic premise of mystery shopping but there are a number of ways in which the information that the mystery shopper collects is collected and also collated.

Covert Video Shoppers

These types of mystery shoppers enter the place of work that they are analysing with the intention of performing a task that they have been told to. Unlike traditional mystery shoppers covert video shoppers are equipped with a video camera which is hidden on their person. This camera is not visible to people that don't know it is there and it secretly records the interaction that takes place between the mystery shopper and members of staff in the workplace that they film.

This can be extremely effective at delivering precise results to the company that are conducting the research and is a very effective tool nevertheless it is more expensive than other forms of mystery shopping. The covert mystery shopper provides the video evidence of their experiences and also provides a written report on the experiences that they had in the place they are reporting on.

Report Only Mystery Shoppers

These types of mystery shoppers provide reports on the workplace that they have been dispatched to through written reports. These reports provide a number of questions that ask for quantitative data and they also have sections in which they can submit qualitative feedback. This provides the people conducting the research data that can be collated in charts and compared over long periods of time and also data which can give a more human response to the experiences. These results can be very useful for measuring the success of work based training and can quantify the effect of extra training for the staff in the future.

Postal Monitor and Email Mystery Shopper

These branches of mystery shopping deal with the correspondence that people receive from a company through the post or through an email. These mystery shoppers will typically pose as customers and interact with the staff at the company as if they are a genuine client. This can give feedback on the quality of the communication that a company offer. These mystery shoppers often provide their results through a written report with both quantitative and qualitative data.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has worked in the customer service training industry and is an expert on mystery shopping
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