Why companies should work with mystery shoppers

Businesses across all industries are often on the lookout for ways to improve their customer service, enhance their product quality and boost sales.

Businesses across all industries are often on the lookout for ways to improve their customer service, enhance their product quality and boost sales. While analyzing sales reports and considering market trends are both good ways to approach these goals, it sometimes takes more of an insider's look at operations to really understand what aspects of a business need tweaking. Working with a mystery shopping company is a great way to find out the gritty details about employees, functionality and reputation that can only be gleaned from real customers. 

Mystery shoppers pose as real customers in order to learn what they can about an actual consumer's experience with a business. Here are a few ways they can help businesses meet their goals:

Improve reputation
American Drycleaner reported that in Alabama, Champion Cleaners was recently visited by a mystery shopper. The establishment received exemplary ratings, which in turn earned it the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute's "Best Overall Service" Award for 2014. The DLI program sends mystery shoppers to businesses in the drycleaning industry across the country to measure success and find out what customers want most. Secret shoppers are sent at least six times each year and sometimes more. These businesses are scored on a variety of criteria. Other awards available to participants in the DLI program are Best Use of Conversation at the Counter, Best Clothing Review, Best Use of Name at the Counter and Best Cross Selling.

While some of these categories may seem routine to managers and business owners, they do in fact make a large difference when it comes to the customer experience. Even a small change in the way a consumer is greeted could change their opinion of a particular location.

Now, Champion Cleaners in Birmingham can proudly display their Best Overall Service Award on the wall for everyone to see. Both new and existing customers will know they are getting top quality service.

Boost morale
In addition to giving customers a reason to smile, mystery shoppers can help identify rock star employees. The Brentwood Gazette stated that a worker at a local train station was pointed out as an excellent employee by a secret shopper posing as a passenger. A man named David Brooks received a perfect score from the mystery shopper. He was subsequently congratulated by Kirit Varsani, the Abellio Greater Angila's area customer service manager. Brooks was cited as a kind, professional and helpful station agent.

When employees feel recognized for their efforts, their morale improves. Brooks is also now a great example to his co-workers and has proven that providing quality assistance regularly is a proven method to demonstrate competence to upper management. This also helps Varsani better understand the employees that work at various stations.

Increase sales
To boost revenue and increase buyer activity, it's important that businesses identify which sales tactics work and which ones don't. For instance, if Champion Cleaners found out that employees' behavior at the counter was inappropriate and caused customers to take their business elsewhere, management would want to make a change to solve that particular problem. Perhaps it would propose a script that each worker would have to say to new clients. It could move workers to a different department until they were ready to interact with consumers on a regular basis. The point is, without the insight offered by a mystery shopper, these issues could go undiagnosed. 

Mystery shoppers are effective and reliable agents that can help retailers cater better to their customers' needs and respond well to industry trends.