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Mystery shoppers : The unique way to check service standards and employee integrity

Author: Pranab Sen

Collecting feedback from customers is just the same old thing, however the appropriation of Customer Satisfaction projects has turned out to be more far reaching with the advent of innovations. It is pertinent for an organization to understand the underlying value of meeting up day to day expectations by adhering to its SLA’s. One way to ensure that organization is sticking to its goal line is to do a periodic review of its performance – a so called audit system which in market research parlance is classified as Mystery Shopping

Mystery Shopping is a research methodology used to measure and improve the quality of the customer service experience provided by retail outlets. Mystery Shopping gives companies results on the performance of the customer-related functions of their business.

The main difference between customer satisfaction and mystery shopping is that customer satisfaction measures the customer experience itself by asking for personal opinions, feelings and their perceptions on overall experience where mystery shopping focusses on measuring the quality aspects of customer service, of the products/services sold and environment by setting pre-defined standards.

What does a mystery shopper do?

A Mystery Shopper is sent to an outlet to purchase particular items or observe specific aspects about a company’s product or service offerings. For example a mystery shopper goes to a particular store to purchase a product, while buying he/she records the entire experience be it about products or services.

Mystery Shopper Insights:

·         Identifying high & low conformance units

·         Specifying service delivery improvement areas

·         Benchmarking against service delivery by competition

·         Creating a baseline for future monitoring

·         To measure the effectiveness of training imparted to employees

·         To recognize good employees based on findings of the audits

·         To measure the extent of brand advocacy by multi-brand outlets

·         To audit prices through a pre-designed negotiation process and determine market operating prices.

Benefits of a Mystery Shopping:

·         Improve Customer services Identify weakness

·         To increase Brand recall value

·         To maintain Consistency of brand

·         Improve areas in service delivery

·         Monitor and measure service performance

·         Improve customer retention

·         Provide feedback from front line operations

·         Monitor facility conditions - asset protection

·         Ensure product/service delivery quality.

·         Reduce Customer Complaints

Mystery shopping programs are used primarily among retailers, financial institutions, restaurants, insurance companies, gaming industry, healthcare companies, educational institutes, government agencies and many others..,

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