What Can You Learn From Mystery Shopping?

Your company is working hard to create an exceptional in-store experience, but are your customers actually seeing your efforts?

According to an American Express customer service survey, 43% of American consumers feel that brands “are helpful, but don’t do anything extra to keep their business.”

That’s almost half of your customers. With all the time and money you put into customer service, that’s got to hurt.

The truth is that sales and customer service data only go so far in helping you create meaningful improvements. All those numbers, and the strategies they drive, are meaningless unless your customers see the effort. 

But how do you know if they see your employees’ hard work? How do you know if they interpret your policies as being more than helpful—as taking those extra steps to keep their business?

Until you know what it’s really like to be one of your customers, it’s impossible to answer those questions. That’s where mystery shoppers come in; they can help you clear up the confusion about what actually impacts your customers’ experiences.

Think of it this way: mystery shoppers are undercover operatives who tell you what your stores are really like. They get the details you can’t see in the data about how your stores actually run when you aren’t watching.

To create the kind of employee behavior you want, you have to foster a company culture that requires and rewards adherence to your customer experience standards. Mystery shoppers can tell you whether your stores are just talking the talk or really making changes, and how consistently they’re doing so—for example, during your stores’ busiest times.

One of the keys to a successful mystery shopping program is that you can choose the things mystery shoppers look for, allowing you to target your stores’ problem areas or measure the success of a new policy initiative.

By actually experiencing service in your stores, mystery shoppers can help you identify quality issues that aren’t revealed by survey results, strategy planning, and sales data. Then, they’re able to give you and your store managers essential details that you can’t get from any other source.

Essentially, mystery shoppers are your eyes and ears, and it’s hard to make meaningful improvements—and make customers feel like you’re going the extra mile—without them.

How to get the most out of your mystery shopping program