We have stated sufficiently in the previous blogs the importance of implementing Mystery Shopping programs for businesses. Conducting Mystery Shopping programs is a necessity especially in the Retail industry. It is important to understand for every organization to see where they stand in the market, how satisfied are the customers with their products or services, and how they are performing compared to their competitors. If these aspects are determined, then any new changes or necessary steps can be incorporated for their business development.
Mystery Shopping companies in the market provide these services. Hence, choosing an appropriate Mystery Shopping Agency for a business is quite confusing and challenging. In order to select a correct Mystery Shopping Agency, here are few tips to keep in mind:
1.Reputed Mystery Shopping Agency
It is important to find out the reputation of the Mystery Shopping company that we are hiring. Their client list should be checked and the kind of industries that they have serviced. In case we are running a hotel industry then we need to hire that Mystery Shopping company who has carried out audits in the food businesses. Also, we need to find out the reputation that the Mystery Shopping company is having in the market so that we get useful feedback from their audits.
2.Hiring Mystery Shoppers
We have to ensure that the Mystery Shopping company that we choose sets a high standard while hiring their Mystery Shoppers to perform the audits. Before choosing their Mystery Shoppers, these companies should set certain standards like clearing qualification certificates, a good knowledge of brands, observation capabilities, etc. Only if good Mystery Shoppers are hired, the reports generated from these Shoppers would be authentic and useful for our business. Hence, we have to find out how the Mystery Shopping companies select their Mystery Shoppers.
Before choosing a Mystery Shopping Agency to perform audits for us, we have to first decide the store locations in which we want the audits to be carried out. For example, we might have some stores geographically located in remote areas wherein the Mystery Shopping Agency may not have Shoppers to audit in those areas. So, it is very important to confirm upfront with the Mystery Shopping Agency if they have a wide range of trustworthy Mystery Shoppers located in remote areas to perform the audits for us.
2.Hiring Mystery Shoppers
4.A company has to ensure that the Data and Reports collected from the Mystery Shopping Programs are authentic. For this, they have to check if trustworthy Mystery Shoppers are sent for audits and the same Shoppers are not sent frequently to the same stores. This would lead to repetitive or redundant information. The success rate of the Mystery Shopping company in the market can also be verified before they are hired.
4.Unique and Customized Program
The Mystery Shopping company that we hire should have an organized Client servicing Managers who can discuss and find out exactly what information we require from their audits. Accordingly, they have to chart a unique and customized program for us consisting of appropriate questions to fulfill all our objectives. There must be no place for redundancies and the complete program should be supervised by the in-house team efficiently.
5.Effective Feedback System
Merely carrying out Mystery Shopping audits is not sufficient for a Mystery Shopping company. They should have an in-house experts’ team who collect the reports, scrutinize them, and provide effective feedback. Data can be presented to the clients in the form of written reports and statistical analysis. It should be real-time data, and it is also important as to how soon data can be provided to the clients. Hence, we have to choose such a Mystery Shopping Agency who can provide effective feedback which helps us to take important future business decisions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Managing Director, HS Brands Asia
Sanjeev Shenoy has 15+ years’ experience in mystery shopping and customer experience and has helped several global brands design and manage programs across Asia. As a post-graduate in Management, he has worked in Marketing & Operations across retail and food and beverage. As a believer in the beginners’ mindset, Sanjeev seeks to bring in innovation in the mystery shopping industry through technology and best practices from other industries.