Mystery shopping also known as secret shopping is one of the best tools a company can use to measure the quality of their products and customer service.
The use of a mystery shopper first occurred in the 1940’s. Banks sent in a secret shopper to help prevent employee thief by observing their honesty and the way they treated account holders. Secret shopping soon appeared in the retail section.
A secret shopper is someone who enjoys shopping and making money while doing it. As well as shopping, having a night out at the movies or dinner for two is a common day’s work. They are given forms that reflect the type of business. The mystery shopper spends money while rating the quality of customer service, the cleanness of the premises and the ease of finding products. They are paid and often get to keep the product.
The secret shopper will ask questions, make complaints and note the responses of employees.
Mystery Shopping is now the practice of major and local retail stores, hotels, restaurants, movie chains, apartment complexes, schools and even police departments. Any company that deals with the public will benefit from having a mystery shopper.
Mystery Shopping is a program that allows companies to learn about their business from the customer’s point of view. Both negative and positive aspects are pointed out. They may find that their end-caps do not attract sales or that selves are too high for most customers. Perhaps the number of check-out stations does not match the week-end demand or employees may be rude.
Companies can learn what improvements are needed to improve customer’s satisfaction. Customer satisfaction means repeat customers and repeat customers improve the bottom line.