Mystery Shopping Techniques

Written by Patricia Skinner
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Mystery shopping is the research of a company's customer service standards by employees posing as ordinary shoppers. There is no other single, more effective strategy for gauging levels of customer satisfaction by a retail business. Considering that dissatisfaction with service is by far the most common reason that a person will switch stores, this is a very important factor if you're trying to improve your business.

There are a number of mystery shopping techniques that can help the mystery shopper provide a client with the maximum information about customer service and other aspects of business. In addition, mystery shopping techniques can give some very useful market research information as an added bonus of the process. In fact, many companies are now using mystery shopping techniques for gathering market research information too.

Common Mystery Shopping Techniques

The most common of all the mystery shopping techniques is where the mystery shopper simply enters a store or business and makes a purchase or transaction in the same way that any ordinary customer would do. Before they begin the assignment a shopper will be given a list of questions that the client wants answered so that the operative can prepare themselves as thoroughly as possible for a successful assignment. Usually, mystery shopping companies have a list of standard questionnaires for different categories of businesses that can be individualized to suit a particular client.

After completion of the assignment, the mystery shopper will complete the questionnaire and may be required to write a report. Nowadays, technology has improved methods of gathering information and often, mystery shopping techniques will include the use of concealed cameras or audio devices. It is essential that the mystery shopper remain anonymous at all times for the assignment to be effective.

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