With Lumiform's free and powerful Mystery Shopper Guide, you can gain valuable information about your business to grow its success and prosperity.
A mystery shopper, or a “secret shopper”, usually works for a third-party company in order to assess a business’ overall service, employee friendliness, the quality of their products, regulatory compliance, and so much more. They can sometimes be used to get information on products in comparison to other competitive products. They can be used by-product or for service-based companies and gastronomic establishments. Many marketing researchers use mystery shoppers to measure the quality of sales and service, employee and product performance, and other specific information.
Mystery shoppers are not employed to give their input into the business or company. They are only employed to assess some areas of a business, document it, and tender their assessment for analysis. This is so the business owner can experience their own company from a customer's point of view. Secret shoppers are employed to go to an establishment, act as a customer, and purchase a good or service to get an accurate reading of how the company treats an every-day customer. This is to ensure employees are acting appropriately and providing goods and services of great quality.
The purpose of mystery shopping is to ensure that customers have good experiences with the company, and are therefore satisfied with the business as a whole. Mystery shopping helps identify where the business is lacking and tackle it. Either the company isn't great at customer service, isn't organized with their orders, or makes avoidable mistakes with their order; these situations all help to note what errors the company is making and how to take the corrective measures to satisfy customers. Sometimes, third-party companies can also employ mystery shoppers to go check out what their competitors are doing and how they treat their customers. This helps the third party know their competitors' customer service level, if they are matching up, and if there's anything they could be doing better.
When employing secret shoppers, most companies look out for great communicators who pay precise attention to details and have excellent writing skills. This will enable the mystery shoppers to communicate with the employee, engage with the business, and also be able to document the encounter succinctly. Mystery shopping started in the 1940s to gauge employees' integrity. Today, mystery shopping is seen as a method of market research to measure the quality of a company's customer service. The aim is to improve the all-round performance of the company.
1. What is a mystery shopper’s role?
2. What are the pros and cons of mystery shopping?
3. What qualities does a successful mystery shopper possess?
4. What industries need mystery shoppers?
5. How could I become a professional mystery shopper in 2022?
Mystery shopping is an incredible way of researching the consumer market and experiencing either your goods or your competitor's goods from the lens of a customer. That means a mystery shopper is employed and picked by the company to test the quality of their product or their competitor's product. What makes them secret shoppers is that they aren't known to anyone in the establishment. They come into the company as a regular customer, so they can get an appraisal of their customer service quality.
A mystery shopper checks a company's quality standards and examines its employee’s level of professionalism. This process is part of a market research strategy so they can understand the shortcomings of their businesses and fix them. There are different types of mystery shopping, which can all be done in different ways such as in-person, over the phone, or online. Regardless of how it is approached, the goal remains the same: to gather information on the product and experience the company’s customer service style. Let's break down these unique styles:
With the advancements in technology, most customers have shifted to online shopping. For companies and businesses who still have walk-ins, it's only right to invest in your business’ physical space to understand what's missing and what could increase your growth, which is where mystery shopping comes in. Let’s explore the pros of mystery shopping:
Now, for the cons of mystery shopping:
Mystery shoppers are evaluators for businesses and need to have some specific qualities in order to do it right. Evaluating companies involves skillfully and intelligently rating a business and its operations. At its most simple description, it could be misinterpreted that anybody could be a secret shopper, but there are some qualities that not everybody possesses that are required in order to be a successful mystery shopper. Some of these qualities include:
As expected, a mystery shopper should have an eye for detail and be curious about the product. They must read the product description, the ingredients list, the manuals, etc. of whatever product the company is hoping to gain feedback on. There are several checklists for secret shoppers to follow, but shoppers that ask questions tend to get more in-depth, useful information. You would need to review these checklists for its specifics and tailor it more to the company or product you’re studying, and then comprehensively jot down your findings. You need to notice things like if the attendant or employee was friendly and helpful or if the counter was dirty or disorganized.
You must know how to communicate your findings and also have a great memory, since you're going in as a “regular customer”, you can't be walking around with a pen and pad. You need to mentally note the important things and then communicate to your superiors when done. If a secret shopper is biased, the whole essence of the process is forfeited. Being unbiased makes your experience as accurate and reliable as possible. Anyone possessing these qualities will do well in the mystery shopping industry.
Some companies have never considered mystery shopping as a way to research the consumer market, as they may presume mystery shoppers are not fit for their industry and are perhaps only suit retail. Mystery shoppers can be used for a wide range of industries such as:
If you're an avid shopper, what could be better than to be paid for it? This is a great side gig as you can choose hours that work for you outside of any other employment you may possess. There are over six-thousand mystery shoppers currently employed in the United States, which means there's a space for you in this thriving industry. This is a flexible job without a lot of crazy requirements. Although the pay varies dramatically per job, most times you are allowed to keep the items bought under the budget you were given.
According to Save Student, some full-time secret shoppers earn between £30,000 – £40,000 (which is equivalent to around $29,000-$39,000 USD) per year. Shoppers that earn that much have worked their way up and have a reputation for doing a fine job.
If you believe you would be a great fit for this role, you can start to scout companies you would like to work for. You can visit Save the Student to learn about some of the best mystery shopping companies to apply to.
The duration of a mystery shop does not usually surpass half an hour in one spot, but you may hit several stores in a row, meaning it could be several hours of shopping depending on the amount of shops you must visit.
The mystery shopper usually uses their own money, but is reimbursed by the company they work for afterwards.
Negative feedback via a mystery shopper results in disciplinary action for the store as an entirety, and if a specific employee is to blame, they could be "written up" by their employer - a write up is kind of like a warning in writing, and after three, an employee is usually let go.
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