Mystery Shopping and Retail Industry are very closely associated and go hand-in-hand. Retail Industry is a huge sector which comprises from an individual seller to small stores and also to huge businesses. They are the ones who reach their products or services directly to the customers globally. Hence, customer service plays an important role in the Retail Industry. In order to ensure a good customer service for a company, a Mystery Shopping program is the best one to be incorporated. Mystery Shopping is a process in which pre-recruited and qualified consumers measure the extent to which a customer’s interactions with a business mirror the experiences the business intends.
It offers a direct route for businesses to really look inside the customer experience they provide and truly gauge customer satisfaction. The Mystery Shopping program ensures that all the customer service benchmark is met and it also monitors the consistency between locations. Retailers can assess their products, sales, pricing, placements and promotions strategies are properly working, also if there is a room for improvement. Based on the feedback from Mystery Shopping programs, changes can be made by which retail businesses might see profit and sales increases. If staff performance is a concern within the business, adopting mystery shopping services can certainly help. Specific tasks can be included, such as asking for assistance from an employee or returning an item, allowing customers to assess how their issues were dealt with. The findings can help retailers establish whether certain staff members or whole teams need more training, require disciplinary action, or should be rewarded for their efforts.
Mystery Shopping programs offer a tailored approach, meaning retailers can decide what they want to be measured, providing a more in-depth analysis than customer satisfaction surveys. Mystery Shoppers are told prior what they are to look for and assess when they get in-store, and are provided with a pre-defined list of criteria to evaluate and pass onto the prospective third-party agency, which then analyses responses. In order for this strategy to work, retailers must have a clear picture of what they expect from the model customer experience. For instance, are members of staff expected to welcome customers upon entry into the store? Should they be handed a shopping basket? Do all customers require sales assistance? Determining expectations enables retailers to come up with suitable measurement criteria with the service provider, who helps design a tailored evaluation package to present to Mystery Shoppers of the store. This means that each retail business partaking in Mystery Shopping programs is given unique attention, ensuring the focus is only placed on the key philosophies that matter most to their business and which will help accomplish the best possible customer experience down the line.
Some of the key points that enable the importance of Mystery Shopping for Retail Industry:
- 1.A company’s Brand recognition and establishment in the market.
- 2.Understanding of customers’ expectations.
- 3.Improvement in the customer service and customer satisfaction
- 4.Maintenance of a steady increase in sales since customers’ demands are continuously met
- 5.In-house employee morale would be maintained due to constant evaluation of their services in the day-to-day business.
- 6.Recognition and Rewarding employees’ efficient performances thereby retaining them in the business.
- 7.Organising appropriate Training programs for in-house staff whenever required.
8.Launch or introduction of a new product in the market based on the analysis of customers’ requirements.
The information a Mystery Shopper provides can be utilised to review a businesses’ processes and practices pinpointing the things a business needs to improve on and the areas the business excels in.
By providing an unbiased customer response to their experience the information mystery shoppers provide can then be used to help the company improve what it does in the future and deliver more of what consumers want to receive. If Mystery Shopping programs become a regular occurrence, a level of accountability is established, and staff will put greater emphasis on their customer service skills. Moreover, consumers will benefit from a better in-store experience, which increases the chance of them making a purchase or returning in the future. Thus, Mystery Shopping is a powerful marketing tool which directly helps companies get better at what they do, which can translate into more sales and increased brand loyalty.
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.