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What Is Mystery Shopping?

May 6, 2008
Mystery shopping is a method used by companies to analyse the levels of customer service delivered by their staff. The company will employ people to act like regular customers and these mystery shoppers then compile a report based on the service that they have received. These mystery shoppers are usually carefully instructed to perform specific tasks that have been decided by the people that want to analyse performance.

They might ask for a specific type of drink in a bar or purchase a particular item of clothing in a shop. The shopper then delivers a report that answers questions that are specific to their experience. This means that the company conducting the report can get information that is useful to them. It is also a great way of getting reliable and impartial information about the levels of customer service that a company offers.

A mystery shopper will usually operate on behalf of and be employed by an agency. These agencies are approached by businesses to provide reports on the levels of customer service that they offer. It is often the case that the business or company that want a mystery shopper request people with a strong preference for their age, sex and socio economic grouping.

This means that the company can pick people that are likely to represent their target audience. So if a company was looking to analyse the performance of their high end hotel then they would appreciate the feedback of middle aged wealthy people as opposed to a young individual. This also means that the mystery shopper is less noticeable. There are a few different types of mystery shopper that perform different roles. Some of these are as follows:

Covert Video Shoppers

The covert video shopper is trained to film the interaction that they have with the staff members in the place which they are performing a report on. They are equipped with a video camera which is hidden on their person and which films everything that happens in the shop. These types of mystery shoppers are used for a number of different scenarios and they are excellent for providing an accurate indication of the level of service that the company offers.

This type of technology has been widely used by TV programmes that want to reveal poor levels of customer service. These are very popular for car showrooms, banks, high street shops, offices and for reviewing public services. The mystery shopper supplies the company with footage of their trip to the chosen workplace and they also fill out a questionnaire so that the people that need the analysis get a full report on the state of their customer service levels.

Email Mystery Shoppers

There is an increasing demand for email mystery shopper. These types of mystery shopper deliver reports about the level of customer service that they receive through email correspondence with a company. This is an increasingly important issue that is faced by businesses these days.

As a result there are more and more people that are being employed to replicate real customers in order to analyse the level of customer service. It is important that companies take time to train their staff to ensure that they get a high level of service regularly. The mystery shopper will perform a task and write a report which notes their findings.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has worked in the customer service training industry and is an expert on mystery shopping
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