Second to None
Second to None
Second to None
Second to None

When Is The Right Time To Implement A Mystery Shopping Program?

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Found in:    snapshot | joyX | Consumer Products or Services | Financial Services | Healthcare | Restaurants | Retail/Ecommerce

While most brands can benefit from mystery shopping programs, timing plays a huge role in whether these benefits are worth the cost.


Growing organizations need to be very careful about where and how they allocate their resources, because one small misstep can greatly impede overall growth potential. Mystery shopping programs help brands unlock an outside-in, unbiased perspective of daily operations, but to ensure the quality of the data provided, there needs to be a large enough sample size being measured. Brands that qualify for these types of programs typically have multiple locations, and are looking to complete many shops per month to ensure actionable and informative data collection.

Because of the scientific process that is an inherent aspect of these programs, it is generally not something that can be done without the proper amount of investment of both time and resources. The standard mystery shopping program goes through several different stages, each step relying on specific expertise from employees within designated teams. For example, these programs should have expert scheduling, analytics and quality assurance staff, among other Customer Experience specialists. Without this separation of tasks, it is challenging to be confident that the program will yield the desired actionable data that will result in a positive change for your brand.

Shopping bags
Data integrity is a major aspect of any research initiative, because it is the validation that the information collected is accurate and can be utilized by the organization in question. If your brand does not currently have the resources to properly invest in a team that can ensure this integrity, it would be smart to consider holding off on starting a mystery shopping program. While there are smaller agencies that can provide programs for single-location brands, the data collected is not as valuable as information collected from many different branch locations.  If these programs are implemented too early in an organization’s life-cycle, brands will ultimately be spending large sums of money to collect data that may not be as useful as it could be to them in the future.

Computer screen with data
Ultimately, brands should strive to obtain as much customer feedback as possible, so that they can more accurately curate the exact kind of Customer Experience their base desires. However, programs like mystery shopping are complicated and time-consuming, so it does not make economic sense to rush into them if the timing is not right. Customer Experience is justly becoming one of the most important factors of a brand’s identity, and mystery shopping programs can greatly impact a brand’s ability to curate the right kind of experience. Even if the timing is not right for your organization to begin the mystery shopping process, it is always the right time to improve a brand’s Customer Experience capabilities.

Customer speaking

Brands that do focus on providing the right kind of value to influence excellent customer relationships are setting themselves up for the growth necessary to allow mystery shopping to make sense. Timing is a vital aspect of the success of any organizational operation, especially programs that require a significant financial and labor investment. If your brand does not yet meet the typical requirements for a mystery shopping program, that does not mean you should ignore collecting Customer Experience data in totality. Instead, work towards the goal of expanding your brand to the point that a mystery shopping program will yield the right kind of data to make the program worth the investment.

The true path to customer joy begins with immersion. At Second To None, we don’t simply ask your customers about their perceptions, observations, interactions, and experiences.

We truly become your customers.

Snapshot is our mystery shopping program, which has been core to our company since our founding in 1989. Whether in-store, online, on app, or beyond, we uncover key drivers of the customer experience that are responsible for improving customer satisfaction. You’ll understand what customers are experiencing each and every day. Learn more about Snapshot.Snapshot Mystery Shopping Program Image