Ever came across that very curious shopper who wants to know it all? Be it the employee’s name, store timings, prices, types of products, quality check, add-on sales, suggested schemes and even goes as far as to comment on the cleanliness of the store and staff maintenance?
Well, you might have just encountered a ‘Mystery Shopper’.
Who are mystery shoppers?
Wikipedia defines a Mystery Shopper as a person that is appointed either externally by watchdog organizations and market research companies, or internally by companies themselves to keep the quality of service in check. Sometimes they are also taken into service to note the compliance with regulation and gather information about services and products. A Mystery Shopper specifically performs tasks such as purchasing a product, asking relevant questions, registering complaints and behaving a certain way followed by providing detailed reports or feedback about their experiences to the person or organization they are hired by.
How do they operate?
In cases where the business hires a mystery shopping company, it is generally to evaluate their customer relations and upkeep. The staff concerned is completely unaware of such an evaluation occurring. The mystery shopping company, in turn, hires shoppers to perform this assessment who are given a list of things to evaluate/note during the shop. This may include:
- Cleanliness of the location, staff behavior, types of product shown, speed of service.
Listening for specific services to be offered, sales argument made by the employee, compliance with company standards.
Names/designations of employees, dress-code, signage.
What industries make use of their services?
This method of service evaluation is typically used by hospitality business including restaurants, hotel & resorts. Further, retail outlets, movie theaters, amusement parks, gas stations and even car dealership use this tool in intervals to keep a check on their staff and ensure the rules of customer services are followed efficiently. Most frequent places where it is easy to spot a mystery shopper are retail stores, grocery shops, banks and health care facilities.
A classic Mystery Shopper assignment requires the person to ask specific question on a specific day and try and note all the responses and also keep observing the surrounding, even smallest of things like cleanliness of the washrooms. At times, it also involves trying out sample products, taking pictures or record conversations with the employees and other staff members.
The mystery shoppers are sometimes paid in cash, while the other times they are given a chance to avail free meal passes or any other add-on free services including reimbursement of the amount spent during their shopping trip. Can it get any better?
Being a mystery shopper indeed sounds like a fun way to make your living but it also requires that you possess the following characteristics:
Attention to detail
Good communication skills
Over all, mystery shopping is a very popular tool in the international markets and is slowly getting into the Indian systems of assessment and that’s where we come in!
Want to be a mystery shopper? Click here to see the latest Mystery Shopping opportunities on Letsintern.