Interactions with customers are an inevitability for all brands, but the way that these interactions occur varies greatly across different industries. It is important that your leadership team is expertly aware of how employees are performing within these individual instances. These moments take place every day, online, on-the-phone or in-store, and each individual instance shapes the overall perception that consumers have of your brand. A large-scale mystery shopping program is typically thought of as a tool for large national restaurant chains or retail brands because there are so many different locations all operating under the same brand umbrella. However, the insights provided by these programs can be useful beyond these two categories. While there is a size requirement necessary to collect useable data, if your brand has enough locations, mystery shopping can serve as a key piece of the Customer Experience puzzle for brands in industries beyond restaurants and retail.
Mystery shopping is the practice of sending designated individuals to your different locations to complete a specific evaluation. Typically, these shoppers are certified with a mystery shop provider, and are given a specific set of guidelines that explain exactly how the interaction is meant to take place. Different shoppers will be sent to your locations across the country, all completing the same evaluation. This consistency is important to establish the level of data integrity that will lead to impactful changes within your Customer Experience. Once the interaction takes place according to the guidelines, these evaluators will usually submit their findings within an online portal. From there, the information is confirmed, analyzed and dispersed throughout your organization.
This approach is omnipresent in the national chain restaurant and retail industries, because brand consistency plays such an important role in establishing a high customer retention rate. However, other industries can benefit from this level of data collection and analytics, especially as interactions between consumers and brands become commonplace. For example, membership/subscription modeled businesses like gyms or streaming service can separate themselves from the competition by providing an excellent Customer Experience on top of a great product or service. While there may not be as direct of a service interaction in these scenarios, the value of consistently excellent service for these brands can be a legitimate differentiator. Like restaurants and retail brands, mystery shopping can play a pivotal role for these types of organizations because it allows your team to develop action plans based on confirmed consumer data. Because the service interactions in these industries may require a vendor to be more intentional when designing your program, it is essential that you are partnering with the right organization for your brand.
Mystery shopping is something that established brands have been doing for years, because it offers an unbiased, outside-in perspective of how your employees operates on a daily basis. This information is valuable to leadership and frontline employees because it helps point out areas that need improvement, as well as show you which areas are performing above expectations. Just because the product or services you provide are not “traditional” does not mean that it cannot use traditional means to improve.
The data provided by Customer Experience measurement has driven huge changes in the retail and restaurant industry. Consumers have more purchasing power than ever before, and mystery shopping has granted major players in the these two sectors to understand how customer preferences are shifting, and act on this information. Your organization, regardless of the industry it encompasses, can gain these same insights by implementing a mystery shopping program.
Second To None empowers customer-centric brands to deliver consistent, intentional and authentic consumer experiences.
We adeptly design and manage mystery shopping, compliance, engagement and voice of customer solutions grounded in strategic relevance, program integrity and actionable insights. Our solutions are developed on the basis of solid research and statistical science. We achieve success through a relentless focus on quality and innovation, consultative relationships and a talented team of professional associates.