Secret shopping is an effective technique used by companies to evaluate their employees’ performance, customer service, and overall store experience. The program involves sending trained individuals to pose as regular customers and report on their interactions with employees to business operators. The goal is to get an accurate assessment of the customer experience and identify issues. When executed properly, this research can be a vital step to getting a clear picture of SOPs, employees’ performance, and overall store performance.
The secret shopping program works. But, it is essential to obtain accurate and reliable results from this program to be effective. Let us look at the key steps to achieve accurate and trusted results in this program:
1. Define Clear Objectives
The first step to getting accurate and effective results in a mystery shopping program is to define clear objectives. The objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Moreover, you should outline what you want to achieve from this research. For instance, if you want to improve customer service, you may set an objective to measure the greeting time, response time, and satisfaction level of customers across stores.
2. Train Mystery Shoppers
Gaining objective data and feedback is not possible without hiring professional and trained mystery shoppers. Trained test shoppers can perform their tasks effectively. Thus, the training should cover topics such as customer service, store policies, product knowledge, and reporting procedures. Moreover, they should be familiar with the store’s layout and products to blend in with regular customers. The training should also cover how to document their observations accurately and consistently. This way, you can prepare and instruct your shoppers to evaluate specific things based on your requirement.
3. Use a Standardized Evaluation Form
To ensure accuracy and consistency in reporting, it is essential to use a standardized evaluation form. The form should be designed to capture all the vital elements of the customer experience at various touchpoints. The form should also have clear instructions on how to complete it and what to look for during the evaluation. Using a standardized evaluation form will make it easier to compare results across multiple locations.
4. Randomize Shopper Assignments
To prevent bias and obtain accurate results, it is essential to randomize assignments of secret shoppers. It ensures that all employees and locations have an equal chance of being evaluated without their knowledge. It also prevents employees from preparing for the mystery shoppers’ visit, which delivers authentic results.
5. Analyze Results and Take Action
After conducting this program, you will get feedback with suggestions from test shoppers based on their experiences of the visit. Analyze the results and take corrective action to improve customer service across stores. The report also helps identify the areas where employees excelled and the areas that need improvement. You can also look for patterns and trends across multiple locations. Based on the data and suggestions, you can design an action plan to address the identified issues.
Mystery shopping is the first step to evaluating and measuring stores’ performance in terms of customer experience. The program brings specific, accurate, and actionable feedback to implement in delivering consistent service to customers. Share the feedback with your employees to focus on the areas that need improvement. Most importantly, collaborate with a trusted mystery shopping provider to get effective results.