How Mystery shopping service can help your business?
Mystery shopping service is a type of market research used since the 1940s to measure employees’ integrity. The mystery shopping service now can be used beyond that, it helps business owners to satisfy their customers, compare themselves to their rivals, gaining insights from their customers and set their training programs for their employees also evaluate their employees and discover who is not following standards and training of customer service and find out the real reasons why their business might lose their current customers, there are many reasons businesses should get mystery shopping services.
The service is done through a Mystery shopper; an anonymous person who is hired and well trained according to the industry under inspection, and given a questionnaire or a checklist to fill with information extracted out of his/her mystery shopping experience putting themselves in the customers’ shoes.
Nearly all industries can benefit from the mystery shopping services; retail stores, malls, hotels, banks, restaurants, fast-food chains, gas stations, beauty centers, health club, medical services providers and many more. But of course we can never treat all industries the same way or through monitoring the same specs, each industry has its own type of customers and each type of customer has their pain points and needs.
We’ll go deeply into four of these countless industries and learn how mystery shopping services work? And how it can help your business thrive?
- Hotels and hospitality
- Retail stores
Hotels and hospitality
Mystery shopping services are mandatory in multinational hotels. Multinational five stars and above hotels discovered the importance of mystery shopping service is for meeting their customers’ expectations through testing aspects like
- Customer service within the hotel
- Quality of food
- Convenience of rooms
- Room service
- Making sure that their clients are receiving the same customer experience in all of their branches and chains also in the franchised ones.
The mystery shopper is given a checklist which covers all the aspects a customer would look for inside the hotel, the mystery shopper is normally anonymous to the staff inside the hotel to receive a normal client’s experience and treatment. They go through the checklist and write their comments whether the services and facilities satisfy him from the eye of a customer or not, in some cases a mystery shopper is asked to fabricate a problem and see how the staff react and how they will solve the problem.
Business owners can use this valuable information received from the mystery shopping service to maintain their customers’ loyalty and ensure that they come back to the hotel through enhancing the quality of service through having insights on how the employees follow the customer service and cleanliness KPIs put by management, also they can use the information for updating the training of the employees to enhance the customer experience and perfect the customer’s journey inside the hotel as customer needs are always changing due to technological changes and competitors’ innovations and avoid the common management issues and always be ready with a solution to any problem and be ahead of their customers’ expectations.
A loyal customer is a very important asset to any restaurant. A restaurant’s loyal customers will visit at least 4 times a month and will recommend the restaurant to their friends. But for a restaurant to attract a customer and make him/her loyal, there are aspects beyond food a customer would take into consideration
- The personnel working inside the place; how they treat clients and how they make the journey inside the restaurant a better one.
- The cleanliness of the entire place (dining area, facilities, and kitchen) is extremely important for any place that is serving food if a customer feels it’s not clear they will never come again.
- How does the quality of food, its presentation, and portions fit the target customers’ tastes
- Atmosphere of the restaurant and how it matches the mood and type of customers.
But how will a restaurant owner know what really happens around the restaurant when they are not around? And whether the vision of the owner is applied within the place? And if customers are treated in a way that would make them come again and recommend to others?
Mystery shopper service is able to gain loyal customer to your restaurant, a mystery shopper who is anonymous to the restaurant’s staff goes in dealing with your personnel, try the dishes and checks the cleanliness of the facility, this action is not done only once, but different mystery shoppers visit the restaurant during the different shifts of the day, and during different days of the week, to check if the performance of the employees is similar during heavy and light flow of customers and to make sure the customer’s journey is unified within the place, especially in restaurants that have many branches, chains and franchised. The mystery shopper who is also called a secret shopper can be the eye of the restaurant owner and the customer all at the same time. That’s why business owners/managers can take actions relying on the reports given by a mystery shopper.
Mystery shopping services can improve the banking sector and be the best solution to all external and internal audits to make sure all levels of clients are receiving the best quality of service. Hiring a team of mystery shoppers to help the banks’ management collect information about all their services and facilities is very important and can help the bank deliver the best quality of service and make sure all the banks’ plans are running as they should.
Basically most of the banks offer the same kind of services depositing money, money withdrawal, debit cards, credit cards, investments, and loans. A client who is willing to put a large amount of money and deal with all its services or a small investor has its value to a bank. Although banks now are offering elite services for their important clients based on the amount of money in their bank accounts taking bank customer service to a whole new level and doing their best to make sure their important clients are not going anywhere else but also not putting aside other types of customers. To maintain a high level of customer service quality banks need to make consistent and continuous audits to make sure their clients are receiving an outstanding service especially from the bank’s employees and the atmosphere offered in the bank;
- Shorter waiting lines
- Employees are always available at all times of working hours
- Available entertainment and additional services are activated
- The place is clean, the facilities are clean
Another challenge for banks is meeting international banking security standards, also monitoring the quality of service all customers receive on the phone, online, mobile service and ATM machines.
Mystery shopping service can also unveil more serious issues in the financing industry like discrimination.
Mystery shopper reports can give a reliable guideline to improve and discover issues within a bank as no other auditing tool can.
A Mystery shopper takes the role of a client and try to find out how services are done within the bank inside the branch starting from the information desk or the reception until the deal is closed, a secret shopper can act as a new customer or small customer or an important customer and see how the bank’s employees deal with him/her or use them over the phone services or online and chatting services in solving problems, many acts are done and reports are made to make sure all kinds of customers are receiving a high quality of service and the level of integrity employees have, final reports can give insights to management on who is qualified or not, give training guidelines or hints for promotions or in many cases releasing unqualified employees.
Mystery shopping service has tremendous benefits for the retail industry, through mystery shopping service we can test the:
- Store Cleanliness
- Quality of Customer service
- Employees’ behavior
- Store Convenience
A retail business owner eye sometimes is used to the place and cannot pinpoint aspects that might not be comfortable to the customer or efficient for the customers’ journey like the location, size, and cleanliness of the fitting areas, the arrangement of the stock or the attractiveness of the window display.
Also, we can all agree that a big percent of the employees working for a business is not always following the rules, mystery shopping service can test employees integrity, consistency, attitude with customer, ethics and following KPIs through performing different acts of situations that would trigger the areas which need to be tested.
Mystery shopper is trained on different scenarios to perform during the mystery shopping act (normal sale, returns, exchanges, recommendations, complaints, asking for discount … etc.) and asked to evaluate all the aspects given on the evaluation checklist and also is asked to check the cleanliness of the store starting from the display window to inside the store to the fitting rooms and facilities.
If customers easily find what they are looking for in the store, receive a great customer service compared to other rivals and find ease in all the processes they go through in the store and find the store always exceeding their expectations in cleanliness and efficiency, they can easily be loyal customers to your store and your brand.
A shopping mall is considered a place for entertainment for all sorts of customers and it includes retail stores, banks, restaurants, cinemas, play areas and more. Huge efforts are made to always meet customer expectations for shopping malls, and mystery shopping is definitely one of them.
For a shopping mall to attract customers to it, the mall management should make sure that all the facilities that run by the mall along with others that are rented and managed by other businesses follow the mall’s code of conduct and KPIs.
Mystery shopping service can help the mall management gather information about the following aspects and take actions upon customers’ point of view:
- Customer experience
- Customer service
- Customer’s journey
- Commitment of employees and business partners to the mall’s rules and customer service KPIs
- Competitions’ services
A mystery shopper is trained to look at the malls’ facilities from a customer’s point of view by a look that benefits the mall. For example, in the case, a mystery shopper is asked to look for shops’ display windows, cleanliness, and organization rather than taking care of the customer experience inside the store itself. On the other hand, a mystery shopper will take care of the internal processes of the facilities managed and operated by the mall as the cleanliness of the bathrooms, the quality of the customer service of the information desks, the quality of security checks … etc.
The information that is extracted from the mystery shopping research along with other mall management efforts can give the mall management a vision on how to enhance the customer experience and gain customer retention.
Mystery shopping service has huge benefits for all businesses, the service, and the reports and customized to customer needs and type of business. Also, the type of mystery shopper and the training they receive are also customized according to business type and needs. Mystery shopping service should be periodical and planned throughout the year.
Reliable reports are given to business owners or business managers that help in planning and decision making, they can take decisions concern the following:
- Enhance customer experience
- Increase the efficiency
- Discover customers’ pain points
- Plan the customers’ journey
- Give feedback on staff performance
- Planning the training for employees
- Supervising facilities’ cleanliness
- Test and enhance the functionality of internal procedures
- Create motivational programs for employees
- Evaluate competition
All these efforts will definitely lead to customer’s loyalty to the business or brand, and a loyal customer is considered one of the most important assets to any business. It can truly help your business thrive.