A mystery shopper, also known as a mystery customer, incognito customer or ghost customer, is a technique used by companies to evaluate and measure the quality of customer service. The mystery shopper in question is responsible for carrying out exercises of observation, interaction and purchase or consumption of various products or services. These are offered by the company that commissions the study, its distributors or even the competition. This figure is mainly used by companies whose activity and results depend to a large extent on the correct commercial operation of a network of premises, establishments or points of contact.
what information should a mystery shopper collect?
The two main and usual tools of the mystery shopper are a questionnaire and a manual. The manual should serve as a support and include definitions of the different questions and concepts that are needed and the questionnaire should consist of a set of objective questions that the mystery shopper will complete after each observation. Likewise, mystery shopper studies require the prior support of other market research that has been based on previously knowing the experience, opinions, perceptions, expectations and evaluations of the clients.
Thus, the exact definition of the contents of the questionnaire are specific to each study, although it is typical for a mystery shopper to collect information on aspects such as:
- Number of people available to serve the customer.
- Questions relating to greeting, attention and farewell.
- Questions and/or route taken by the customer to find the desired product.
- Type of products displayed and how this occurs.
- Speed of service provision.
- Time taken by the customer to make the payment.
what aspects should a mystery shopper have?
- The client or the company giving the job to a particular individual will describe exactly what they want them to do and say what they want them to find out.
- It is important to have the ability to act with sufficient verisimilitude so that suspicion is not aroused.
- Be honest: A mystery shopper must be aware of any objections the company may have to the work and stick to analysing what was asked of them. Making it up will not do any good and the mystery shopper's reputation may fall.
- You have to be able to observe and memorise all the aspects that you will have to report on afterwards.
- You must be able to improvise, as it is impossible to foresee all the circumstances that may occur at the time of the measurement.
- You must be able to write down your impressions in order to provide measurable and quantifiable data obtained in an objective and structured way.
- Friendly: Mystery shoppers need to be friendly individuals as they have to be talking and interacting with someone on every mystery shopping job, so they need to be able to hold conversations with people.
what benefits does a mystery shopper bring to my ecommerce?
- Implement and follow up commercial strategies.
- Low cost.
- Keeps employees on their toes.
- Know the products and services of the company to be examined.
- Improve service quality.
- Regain employee efficiency.
- Motivate employees.
- Promote communication and best practices.
- To know if promotions are applied correctly.
what disadvantages can it have?
Although it is a method with many features in its favour, it is necessary to take into account the negative aspects when analysing and drawing conclusions:
- It is a costly process.
- It is possible that a large number of the target group is left out of the study range.
- It can lead to subjective conclusions.
- Workers may feel pressured by constant supervision.
how to set the process in motion?
Now that you know what a mystery shopper is, what information they should collect, what characteristics they should have and what advantages and disadvantages they have, the only thing left to do is to know how to set the process in motion.
1) Define your objectives: you have to think about what your company's needs are at a specific time and how mystery shopping fits into your overall marketing plan.
2) Identify your target audience. We must be very clear about the profile of our customers, how they interact with the company and what needs they are looking to satisfy with our brand.
3) Establish a strategy. We must clearly define the buyer journey and the moments in which we want the mystery shopper to intervene.
4) Create the visit materials. You must have the manual and the questionnaire we mentioned before ready.
5) Measure the results, according to the objectives we have defined.
As you can see, this technique can be an excellent strategy to improve the experience of your customers, enhance your strengths and identify areas in which to improve in inbound marketing.