Mystery shoppers. The name might make them sound mysterious, but their purpose is quite clear: assessing the quality of service and products that a business provides.
The purpose of a mystery shopper is to act as a plain old customer who’s buying something, but in reality, he or she will have a different agenda: to provide field information to an overseeing body. The group commissioning the mystery shopper to ‘spy’ on a business can be anyone from a government-licensed company tasked with assessment of quality to rival companies to the owners of the business themselves.
In fact, owners spying on their businesses by using mystery shoppers stand to benefit a great deal from their intel, receiving unparalleled insight into the daily goings at their business location. Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to be one of your customers, and always wanted a realistic estimate of how well your clients were being treated? Learn to use mystery shoppers, and you’ll know more about these things than you could have hoped for.
Working with an external mystery-shopper company
There are companies out there that specialize in providing mystery shoppers to various businesses around the world, big or small. These companies offer a moderate amount of training to their workers, often leading to to a better understanding of the process and better results as a consequence.
If you’d like to work with a mystery shopper but have no idea who it could be, an external company might be your best bet. Licensed mystery shoppers by specialized companies will usually be experienced in assessing all sorts of businesses and will know what to look for as well as how to compare your business’ effectiveness to that of others.
The downside of getting your mystery shoppers from an outside company is that you’ll have to pay them a fee, one that could end up being sizeable depending on conditions. Some businesses owners might be reluctant to cash out for such a simple(and seemingly trivial) task, but rest assured – licensed mystery owners are a great choice, especially for those with multiple business locations in need of assessment.
Having your own people do the job
The alternative to hiring an outside company is commissioning someone you know to do the job. This person can quite literally be anyone, from your spouse, cousin or sibling to a friend you trust. There’s just one rule you’ll have to follow: nobody working for you can know that the ‘mystery shopper’ is related to you in any way.
If you have a friend with great observational skills who can follow instructions to the letter, you might want to give this option a try instead of having to deal with fees that hiring professional mystery shoppers would incur. Using mystery shoppers from your circle will generally be free and might end up netting you more info since you and your spy shopper(s) have a personal connection.
Whichever way you go, one thing is for sure: there are very few ways of knowing the state of your business and the behavior of your employees that are as effective as mystery shoppers.