Although many consider mystery shopping a relatively new part of the business world, the concept has been around for quite some time. In fact, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association maintains that mystery shopping has been around since the 1940's. That being said, there have been many advances since then that the practices of mystery shopping have changed slightly. Technology has added new dimensions to the same practice, for starters. Virtual analysis can be performed to assess the accessibility of company's websites, and you can pick up the phone to see how employees answer calls.
But the principles and reasoning behind mystery shopping has not really changed at all. At the end of the day, businesses of all sizes hire mystery shoppers to check up on the state of things at virtually every level of their business enterprise.
"Mystery shopping made up about a $600 million industry."
The MSPA released a study in 2005 providing evidence that mystery shopping made up about a $600 million industry in the U.S. In the same study, the association found that almost 8.1 million mystery shops were carried out in 2004 alone. Mystery shopping has been a technique employed by businesses in this country for quite some time and appears to be going nowhere anytime fast. Take the opportunity to look into your own business and make sure it's running at its best.
One of the most important aspects of running a good business is providing top-tier customer service. The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, explained the importance of customer service.
"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts," he told the Guardian. "It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better."
The man obviously knows what he's talking about. Over the last few years, Amazon has rapidly turned into one of the most successful and valuable companies in the country. Heads of companies like these are quick to attribute the success to the relationships formed and maintained with new and old customers alike. It can be tricky to look at your own business without having any pre-determined notions about it. This can stymie the growth of your company and hurt business in the long-run. Keeping that in mind, here are two excellent reasons you and your business should look into hiring a mystery shopper:
Unbiased review of staff
Often, the most difficult part of truly analyzing your business is assessing the performance of the staff. It's very hard to be unbiased when it comes to your business, but examining people who work for you or with you can be incredibly challenging. Not only can it be difficult to judge people, but you work with these individuals day in and day out. It's only natural for you to form some kind of bond with them that makes you less likely to recognize or even act on a potential problem. Let your mystery shopper tell you what the staff is really like, even when you're not there.
Nit-picky examination of your business
There's no doubt that you put in a ton of work getting your company off the ground. Most likely, doing this successfully required spending countless hours inside of the business itself. You stared at the arrangements of items on the shelves, the decor at the storefront and the organization of managers' offices more times than you care to admit. At this point, your eyes can't see the need for anything to change. Sometimes, having a fresh pair of eyes at the scene can offer you insight as to little adjustments that can be made to help your business's appearance reach its full potential. Allow for your mystery shopper to give you a new opinion.