What exactly are Mystery Shopping Services?

Inside a Mystery

Mystery Shopping Services are exactly what they sound like. A person or group of people who are unknown to you or your employees come to your place of business and shop. On the surface, they appear to be just regular paying customers. The truth is that they are actually paid professionals who are looking for flaws in your operation. Retail stores have been using mystery shoppers for years, as have restaurants. Recently they have also been employed by call centers and even internet, or e-commerce businesses.

The mystery factor is what makes mystery shoppers such an effective tool in evaluating employees and company procedures. Since the identities and purpose of the mystery shoppers is not known to anyone except the mystery shopping service itself your employees will act naturally around them. This is the only way to gather accurate information about employee performance.

Your system or website doesn’t know whether or not those who are checking them are known or unknown, but it still makes sense to have an outside entity look them over and give you unbiased input. Another set of eyes and ears that are not connected to the company can be a valuable resource when you’re considering changes or modifications. They can also reveal weak spots that you may not be aware of.

How did your retail store perform over the holidays? Did you get a lot of complaints? Are you getting a lot of returns? The answers to these questions can be instrumental in the improvements you need to make before next holiday season. How were your sales numbers compared to last year? You can blame low numbers on the economy but how did your competitors do? You can usually find those numbers someplace.

Mystery Shopping Services are a tool. You can use them to evaluate and improve the operation and efficiency of your company. The concept was born in the retail industry but can be adapted to almost any type of business that has points of contact with consumers or clients. Used effectively they can vastly improve on what you are already doing and increase that all-important bottom line.