GWR Consulting

Mystery Shopping: The Complete Guide

We are going to clarify a lot of things about mystery shoppers. Many think the only point of mystery shoppers is to be tools retailers use to check how products sell, but that is not the case. A true mystery shopper is a vital asset to any business, big or small. It can help improve revenue and identify problematic areas in an establishment.

Mystery Shopper Overview

Mystery shoppers, known as secret shoppers in some circles, are people a retailer employs to pose as unassuming everyday shoppers to evaluate several aspects of a company’s operation. Mystery shopper services are usually tasked with finding areas for improvement and learning how the business operates when management or supervision is absent. Businesses can also use them to ensure company policies are being followed, promotions honored, and customer service skills.

The Importance of Mystery Shoppers

Mystery shopper services help big and small businesses enhance the customer experience. They can do this by ensuring employees know how to sell, explain, and positively represent a product or service and give adequate, friendly, and beneficial customer service.

An example of this would be if a restaurant has received complaints about the staff’s behavior while the manager is absent. The restaurant owner can implant a secret shopper to confirm their suspicions. If an apparel store is supposed to push a specific product with a particular tagline, then a secret shopper can take note of that and other shortcomings. Once the mystery shopper has reported their findings to their consulting agency, companies can implement a strategy to rectify the problem.

Mystery shopper services are not just about purchasing products and services. They also help ensure regulations are followed, policies are enforced, and identify problematic employees. For example, a mystery shopper can identify structural failings of the establishment (moldy ceiling, decrepit shelves, cracked floors) and check for regulatory compliance.

Regulatory Compliance Adherence

Regulatory compliance is a catch-all term for compliance with regulations. Every province, county, principality, or municipality has rules for specific industries to ensure quality, safety, and customer satisfaction. This can be anything from keeping establishments clean and pest free to more specific regulations like religious event regarding icons and displays.

The spectrum is broad, and most mystery shopping have trained their mystery shoppers to be aware of local rulings. A mystery shopper in Dubai knows about regulations in Dubai, as they are probably a dedicated secret shopper in the UAE. Mystery shopper services can save you a costly fine from regulatory violations if you feel your business is failing certain regulatory compliances in your local area.

Improving Revenue With Mystery Shopper Services

Yes, absolutely. Mystery shopper services are about improving your business, and an improved company will see improvements in revenue and customer satisfaction. Customers are more likely to spend when you employ mystery shopper services to find and improve problem areas in your business.

Why? Because of proper changes to customer service, employee behavior, and regulatory practices make customers feel valued, safe, and trusting. Imagine how you would feel to enter an establishment and be treated poorly or feel the atmosphere is counterintuitive to your business. You’ll end up going elsewhere.

Areas Mystery Shoppers Can Improve

Mystery shopper services can help improve several aspects of your business, including customer service, regulatory compliance, employee behavior, and manager incompetence.

Customer Service

Customer service is a tool that keeps customers satisfied and willing to do business with specific businesses. Good customer service makes customers feel valued and encourages them to spend more money on that business. Secret shoppers in Dubai have helped business owners enhance customer service practices.

For example, good customer service would be policies and practices prioritizing customer happiness and value. Suppose your business has a problematic return policy or difficulty engaging with customers. In that case, this is where mystery shopper services can come in handy. A secret shopper can identify where customer service policies are failing and help implement effective change that boosts customer satisfaction and business revenue.

Customer service is one of the most significant areas of improvement for big and small businesses of any age. It is impossible to please every customer, but a secret shopper can ensure that your establishment does everything possible to make every customer experience beneficial.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulations and compliance mandates vary in each province. For certain countries, religious compliance is a requirement. These additional rules and regulations can be difficult for business owners working across the country and provincial lines. For instance, there could be regulations regarding Ramadan and other religious holidays in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, butcheries, restaurants, and other establishments must adhere to specific regulations.

Mystery shopper services can help new and old businesses adhere to ever-changing regulations. Suppose you suspect your employees or partners are not following the rules and putting your business at risk. Mystery shoppers can relay that information to you and their consulting company to plan a rectification method.

Remember, failing to follow regulations can lead to hefty fines, and repeat violations can lead to closure. If you need clarification on the rulings of your province or country, primarily if you are located in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Lebaon, we encourage you to click here and speak to a professional consultant.

Employee Behavior

Mystery shopping services can identify and enhance employees’ behavior. For example:

Mystery Shopper: “Hello, I would like to find shoes. Where is the shoe aisle?”

Employee: “Leave me alone. I am busy.”

The interaction implies that the employee is too busy or disinterested in helping a customer. While an employee can express they are busy, they should offer something like this instead:

Mystery Shopper: “Hello, I would like to find shoes. Where is the shoe aisle?”

Employee: “The shoe aisle is aisle seven. I can show you in just a moment. Can you please hold on?”

This interaction is much friendlier and customer friendly. It lets the customer know their time is valued and that the employee wants to help–though they are in the middle of something. Rude employees can lead to customers avoiding a business regardless of the services it provides. Restaurants, retailers, and repair services all benefit from mystery shopper services because they improve employee behavior when managers and supervisors are absent.

But employee behavior isn’t just about customer interactions. Employee behavior can be theft, product damage, purposefully unsafe working conditions, and manager incompetence.

Manager Incompetence

Managers are responsible for running the establishment for a business owner. Suppose the manager is ignorant of the problems a secret shopper sees or refuses to acknowledge. In that case, that can lead to detrimental consequences for your business. These detriments can be employee turnover, revenue, and customer loss.

If a manager is incompetent, they are not suitable for the job.

How to Effectively Implement a Mystery Shopper

There are a few things to remember when deciding to use mystery shopper services.

Don’t Tell Your Employees

When you implement a secret shopper, make no mention of it to your employees or managers. The secret shopper should only be known by you, the owner, and the consulting agency. If you inform any employee, there is a chance the information will spread. This could cause employees to purposefully be on their best behavior while waiting for the secret shopper to leave before returning to their usual routine.

Find a Reliable Consulting Agency

It can be tempting to ask friends and family to monitor your business, but that is ill-advised. Friends and family are naturally biased towards you and will purposefully overlook requirements to ensure everything is in your favor. Using a reliable, professional Mystery shopping company can ensure that your business is being effectively monitored the right way. It also ensures that all departments are being considered–not just those you think need to be monitored.

Don’t Involve Yourself

Thousands of businesses in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebaon rely on mystery shopping companies to ensure their business is running smoothly. It can be tempting to do an “undercover boss” and insert yourself into the situation. Just trust the process and let a reliable consulting company work its magic.

Even if your business runs smoothly and professionally, it helps to have a second pair of eyes sneak in and take a look. It’s possible that they may find things even you didn’t know about!

Uncovering The Mystery

GWR Consulting has helped thousands of businesses across twenty-six countries perform their utmost effectiveness with mystery shopper services. The experts at GWR can help identify and rectify several issues with your business and provide you with practical solutions to maximize your time.

For more information, click here!

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