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The Covert World Of Mystery Shopping

Dec 6, 2007
Have you ever been a member of a crack commando unit? Have you ever been sent to prison for a crime you didn't commit? Have you subsequently escaped from a maximum security stockade and taken residence in the Los Angeles underground? If you are a soldier of fortune and you think you can help then maybe you could be a member of the mystery shopping team.

Mystery shopping is a technique employed by an enormous range of companies that want to evaluate their staff and the services they offer. It is part of a company's market research strategy in which a covert team of mystery shoppers are recruited and trained to evaluate the performance of the company's customer service.

These mystery shoppers might be equipped with a video camera and will often be instructed to write a report on their experiences. It is the perfect option if you've always wanted to be a spy but don't want to learn Arabic or how to handle a gun. It will also suit you if you value high levels of customer service.
A mystery shopper will generally work for an agency that dispatches the individual to different organisations depending on their age, sex, and socio-economic grouping to test the services offered by a company. The shopper will typically enter the store or workplace and without revealing that they are conducting research they will make a purchase or use a service as a normal customer would. They will then provide a written report on the quality and effectiveness of the staff they encountered. There are numerous roles that mystery shoppers play:

Covert Video Shoppers

Covert video shoppers are recruited and trained to record the performance of staff in an enormous range of different businesses. The mystery shopper is equipped with a small camera which they hide on their person. They then enter the businesses area of work as a customer and record the process. These types of shoppers are utilised in an enormous variety of situations including car salesrooms, high street shops, banks, offices and public services. In conjunction with the video footage the shopper will also provide a written report.

Report Only Mystery Shoppers

Report only mystery shoppers conduct a series of predetermined tasks at the place they are evaluating. They then complete a written questionnaire which will typically include both qualitative and quantitative data. They are often delivered instantly via email so that the client can immediately analyse the results and take action to rectify any problems they encounter quickly.

Postal monitor

A postal monitor secret shopper receives mail on behalf of the company and monitors the speed and accuracy of correspondence with the company. The mystery shopper receives a payment for the information they provide and all expenses are covered by the company.

Email mystery shopper

Email shoppers work in similar ways to postal monitors in that they monitor information sent by a business to their email account. They will report on the speed and accuracy of correspondence and they then report their findings back to the company.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been involved in the process of market research for many leading companies. He offers advice to businesses that want to utilise mystery shopping.
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