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
Secondly, to monitor handling of enquiries about current promotions
and ensure that offers are being honoured and adhered to in the way that you
Thirdly, to evaluate the standards in and around outlet
Fourthly, to keep staff 'on their toes' because they are aware of
the mystery shopping programme.
There are various
approaches that will yield the information needed to make an evaluation. The
three main approaches are:
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
- Telephone mystery shopping LINK - to assess staff
handling of telephone enquiries, potential sales leads or appointment
- 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 mystery shopping LINK - to evaluate literature
and other information that is sent out, as well as possibly incoming telephone
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
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 .
|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.
However, please remember that we will happily make the
programme as simple or sophisticated as you wish, to achieve your
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
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.
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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.
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These can also be built into the
telephone-based programme, or run as stand-alone projects, should you so
Depending on the nature
of your organisation, the classic mystery shopping visitor approach may be more
relevant than telephone or postal mystery shopping.
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.
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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.
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Postal mystery shops can be of two kinds:
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.
- 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.
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:
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- 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.