One of the most important things you can do as a business owner is to listen to and learn from your consumers.
For decades, surveys have been the go-to way for gathering customer feedback. However, mystery shopping has become a more efficient alternative in recent years.
The term “mystery shopper” refers to the trained evaluators sent to your firm to pretend as “normal” consumers. They then offer unbiased criticism of your company’s service, product quality, and overall experience.
Traditional/Conventional surveys, on the other hand, involve sending out questionnaires or conducting interviews with a larger sample of customers to gain insight into how they feel about your company in general.
This post compares conventional surveys to mystery shopping to help you decide which is best for your firm. Also, it gives instances of when to use either in your business.
Mystery shopping is a strategy for evaluating customer service that entails hiring a “mystery shopper,” a secret shopper, or a mystery guest to visit a business and assess the quality of service, products, and overall customer experience.
The mystery shopper poses as an ordinary customer and delivers unbiased feedback through a shopper report.
Gaining immediate feedback, pinpointing development areas, and understanding the customer’s point of view are just a few of the many advantages of mystery shopping.
It can also aid in keeping tabs on employee productivity, upholding brand integrity, and monitoring regulatory compliance.
As a business owner, you can tailor mystery shopping to your specific needs by choosing from various mystery shopping methods, such as in-person, over the phone, or online.
In addition, the mystery shopping service provider can also modify the survey to concentrate on particular aspects like product knowledge or customer service attitude.
Understanding Traditional Surveys
On the other hand, conventional surveys entail interviewing participants via paper or digital questionnaires. With this survey, you can ask your customers about anything from their satisfaction and loyalty to their buying habits.
Traditional surveys have the advantages of low cost, little administrative burden, and quantitative data collection. In addition, they can be executed on a massive scale, facilitating the collection of a huge data set.
Traditional surveys are classified into subtypes like those focusing on customer feedback, the net promoter score (NPS), and customer satisfaction. Each variety has the potential to shed light on a unique facet of the consumer’s journey.
Depending on your needs, resources, and timeframe, you can choose between mystery shopping and conventional survey methods.
In particular, mystery shopping yields more comprehensive and reliable results when gauging the quality of service and goods. In contrast, traditional surveys provide better value for money when comparing alternative consumer happiness or loyalty methods.
Many factors make mystery shopping a preferable method of customer research to traditional surveys. Mystery shopping is one method of gathering information on a company’s customer service that seems unachievable through surveys alone.
It can reveal employee friendliness, the store’s cleanliness, and customers’ general vibe from their experience. An additional benefit of mystery shopping is that it helps firms assess the efficiency of their staff and spot problem areas.
On the other hand, there are restrictions when using conventional surveys to learn about customers. Inaccurate or dishonest answers from clients are a common problem with surveys. Moreover, surveys may only be able to capture part of the picture of the customer’s experience.
So, when should you employ mystery shopping or old-fashioned surveys? While deciding between the two approaches, businesses should consider several considerations.
Mystery shopping, for instance, can be used to assess the quality of service and goods, locate places for development, and ensure that brand standards are always preserved. It is possible to gauge client satisfaction, loyalty, and brand recognition with a standard survey.
Use cases for mystery shopping include the following:
- As a means of guarding the quality of service and product
- For determining how to serve one’s customers best
- To preserve product integrity
Typical situations calling for the use of such surveys include the following:
- As a tool for gauging how satisfied or loyal a consumer base
- When conducting a brand awareness survey
Best Practices in Conducting Mystery Shopping
To get helpful information through mystery shopping, sticking to standard procedures is essential.
Methods for efficient mystery shopping are outlined below.
Having clear intentions before beginning a mystery shopping mission is crucial. Just what are your end goals? Which parts of the customer service do you intend to assess? The type of mystery shopping you conduct, and your questions will follow your specific goals and objectives.
Using a reliable and well-established mystery shopping service is essential for accurate results. There are thousands of mystery shopping providers like Ipsos Mystery, Streetbees, and more; choose a service with a proven history of mystery shopping in your field and access to a team of experienced evaluators.
In mystery shopping, the questionnaire plays a vital role. It is critical to create a questionnaire that accurately reflects the aspects of the client experience you wish to assess.
The questionnaire should be simple to understand and fill out. It is also vital to provide mystery shoppers with space to elaborate on their responses.
Training for mystery shoppers should cover the purpose of the exercise, how to fill out the questionnaire, and what to report. Clear instructions and examples are required to guarantee uniformity and precision in the data collected.
The mystery shopping results must be analyzed, and the lessons learned put into practice. Figure out what needs fixing and make preparations to fix it. Share the good news with your staff and other interested parties.
In mystery shopping, it’s essential to avoid making these common mistakes:
- Employing mystery shoppers who lack experience or training.
- Without having well-defined targets to aim towards.
- Using an ineffective questionnaire.
- Having a singularly unfavorable outlook on the customer service experience.
- Failure to evaluate collected information and put it to use.
Businesses can use consumer feedback to enhance customer service and win back disloyal clients through strategies like mystery shopping and traditional surveys.
Mystery shopping is a valuable tool for gauging the quality of service and products, finding places for improvement, and keeping up with brand standards because it gives detailed and reliable data on the customer experience.
On the other hand, traditional surveys are cheap and can be used to gauge client retention, loyalty, and brand recognition.
It would help to consider your objectives, budget, and timeframe before picking between mystery shopping and regular surveys. The quality of the information gleaned via mystery shopping depends on adhering to standard procedures.
Finally, to differentiate yourself from the competition and provide customers with the best service possible, mystery shopping should be a part of your overall customer experience plan.
Summary Mystery shopping gives better service and goods quality evaluation, while traditional surveys are more cost-effective for comparing consumer loyalty or happiness.