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Mystery Shopping

Telephone, Visit and Video Mystery Shopping
Increased Customer Flow and Purchase Likelihood - Reinforce Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty and Recommendations through effective Mystery Shopping
The aim of mystery shopping is to provide a level of service that attracts a greater flow of customers, enhances loyalty and increases the likelihood of both purchases and recommendations. The specific objectives of any mystery shopping exercise, whether business or consumer, should include a combination of the following, depending on the type of study involved.
Firstly, to improve the performance, attitudes, behaviour, etc. of sales staff in either retail or trade outlets, by providing tangible feedback about each sales person's customer handling technique.
Secondly, to monitor handling of enquiries about current promotions and ensure that offers are being honoured and adhered to in the way that you intended.

Thirdly, to evaluate the standards in and around outlet premises.
Fourthly, to keep staff 'on their toes' because they are aware of the mystery shopping programme.
Data Extract
Mystery Shopping Options
There are various approaches that will yield the information needed to make an evaluation. The three main approaches are:
  • Telephone mystery shopping LINK - to assess staff handling of telephone enquiries, potential sales leads or appointment opportunities.
  • Visit mystery shopping LINK- by Stratagem MarketChecker field staff to the outlets concerned, as a stand-alone or in conjunction with a telephone or postal enquiry.
  • Postal mystery shopping LINK - to evaluate literature and other information that is sent out, as well as possibly incoming telephone calls.
Generally, telephone is the most cost-effective way of mystery shopping, by covering so many outlets much more quickly. However, telephone, postal and visit mystery shopping can be used in more or less any combination, depending on the nature of the products/services and the outlets concerned.
Staff and Outlet Evaluation
An evaluation structure (which might include points scoring) can be agreed and built-in at any stage, so you can actually assess sales staff performance objectively rather than subjectively.
If scores are included, points are assigned to each part of the sales technique. The maximum score available on each step is weighted according to its importance.
The resulting total scores can be used for various purposes outlined in the points that follow. By dint of the weighting procedure, such step by step scoring shows very clearly where each sales person needs to improve their technique most.
mystery shopping rate outlet staff
We strive to provide mystery shopping initiatives that combine consistent and high quality feedback and information about outlets and sales staff, together with a realistic, cost-effective approach, with over 500 shoppers nationwide to call upon .
However, please remember that we will happily make the programme as simple or sophisticated as you wish, to achieve your goals!
Ways of Using Mystery Shopping
The four objectives that we started with above are based on conducting mystery shopping to your own outlets. Which of them are the most relevant depends on the nature and the goals of the business in question.
However, in some cases it may prove valuable to conduct mystery shopping of other outlets, whether in other or the same markets as your own outlets....
It is worth remembering that telephone, postal and visit mystery shopping can be used for idea, data and information gathering purposes. Two examples of this are for cross-fertilising ideas and benchmarking.
Telephone Mystery Shopping | Back to Top
You only get one chance to make a first impression
First contacts are very often by telephone - make the most of your big chance to create the right impression.
Telephone mystery shopping is faster, more measurable and as a stand-alone programme can provide greater cost-effectiveness and flexibility than is possible with either personal visits or postal mystery shops.
There are many considerations to take into account when setting up a telephone mystery shopping programme. The relative merits and de-merits of each depend more than anything else on the type of business concerned and of course the objectives of the mystery shop programme itself.
The main objectives normally centre around improving the level of service and accuracy of call routing provided by staff with the ultimate aim of minimising caller "on hold" time and dealing as effectively as possible with the enquiry to improve customer satisfaction and purchase probabaility.
Calls can be tape-recorded for feedback and evaluation purposes if rquired for an economical extra cost, and be provided on CD-ROM, tape, by e-mail or posted on-line.
Visit Mystery Shopping | Back to Top
Should you combine visits with other types of Mystery Shop?
These can also be built into the telephone-based programme, or run as stand-alone projects, should you so wish.
When to use Visits
Depending on the nature of your organisation, the classic mystery shopping visitor approach may be more relevant than telephone or postal mystery shopping.
Individually Tailored
All visit mystery shopping exercises are broadly similar in purpose but they are different in many important details. Each Mystery Shopping Programme run by Stratagem MarketChecker is individually designed to the brief of the client concerned, with complete freedom of choice of reporting method. Video or tape recording of mystery shopping visits is available should a client wish for this depth of study.
Outlet Premises Evaluation | Back to Top
Consistently High Standards with Outlet Evaluations
The purpose is to visit outlets to independently assess the standards of customer-facing premises. This can be done either with or without notification to the outlet(s) in question, depending on the situation.
If you wish, evaluation of outlet standards can be combined with a customer-handling mystery shop approach, provided this does not over-complicate the amount of information that the mystery shopper has to absorb.
Postal Mystery Shopping | Back to Top
Why Conduct Mystery Shops by Post?
Postal mystery shops can be of two kinds:
  • Outgoing telephone request from mystery shopper for information to be posted to them by outlet.
  • Postal request for information to be posted out, which may or may not involve completed coupons or subscriptions, etc.
The initial aim is quite simply to ensure that the correct literature is being sent out, and that it is being sent out promptly. In the longer term, postal assessment can be used to monitor direct mail campaign timings, as well as administrative efficiency.
Brochures Sent Out?

Tele-Postal Mystery Shopping
Many postal mystery shopping exercises may involve a subsequent incoming follow-up telephone call from the sales department concerned.
If used in conjunction with a follow-up telephone sales call, the timing of this can also be assessed, as well as the technique used during the call itself.
Tele-postal mystery shopping can also help evaluate the effectiveness of tele-sales campaigns, over a longer timescale.
As is the case with telephone mystery shopping calls, a postal programme will be more effective if two conditions are met:
  • As staff are informed in advance, the knowledge of random mystery shopping postal requests will keep them on their toes.
  • Secondly, as they are receiving feedback after the event on how to improve their service to all customers, they will endeavour to do so as a result.
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 © 1997-2004 Ian Sturtivant, MarketChecker