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  • Mystery Shopping

    Mystery Shopping

    Mystery Shopping is the practice of using trained shoppers to anonymously evaluate customer service, operations, employee integrity, merchandising, and product quality.

    Mystery Shopping goes by many names:

    • Secret Shopping
    • Mystery Customers
    • Spotters
    • Anonymous Audits
    • Virtual Customers
    • Employee Evaluations
    • Performance Audits
    • Telephone Checks

    What Are The Benefits of a Mystery Shopping Program?

    • Monitors and measures service performance
    • Improves customer retention
    • Makes employees aware of what is important in serving customers
    • Reinforces positive employee/management actions with incentive-based reward systems
    • Provides feedback from front line operations
    • Monitors facility conditions – asset protection
    • Ensures product/service delivery quality
    • Supports promotional programs
    • Audits pricing & merchandising compliance
    • Allows for competitive analyses
    • Compliments marketing research data
    • Identifies training needs and sales opportunities
    • Educational tool for training & development
    • Ensures positive customer relationships on the front line
    • Enforces employee integrity

    Mystery Shopping Today

    • Wide-ranging impact – with shoppers, clients, and providers
      • Many shopper oriented web sites and List Serv’s exist to assist shoppers with education and finding jobs
    • Internet provides more reach and exposure for mystery shopping services
    • Faster and less expensive shopper recruiting
    • Faster and less expensive data collection
    • Faster, automated reporting processes
    • Increased need for validation of data

    Who Provides Mystery Shopping Services?

    • Mystery Shopping Specialists
    • Marketing Research Firms
    • Private Investigators
    • Merchandising Companies
    • Training Companies
    • Advertising/Promotion Agencies
    • Others

    Mystery Shopping Methods

    • In person/on-site shops
    • Telephone shops
    • E-Commerce web site shops
    • Hidden video/audio recording
    • Full narrative shops (qualitative)
    • Checklist shops (quantitative)
    • Purchase & return shops
    • Discrimination (matched-pair) testing

    Why Use Mystery Shopping?

    • When location, pricing, and product assortment are no longer unique, service is often the key to success or failure.
    • It costs 10x more to get a new customer than to keep an existing one.
    • One unhappy customer will tell 5 other people of their bad experience with services

    Why customers leave?

    • 69% poor customer service
    • 13% poor product quality
    • 9% competitive reasons
    • 5% other
    • 3% move away
    • 1% die

    “What gets measured, gets done”

    The History of Mystery Shopping

    • Initially, mystery shopping was a technique used by private investigators to prevent employee theft – primarily at banks and retail stores
    • In the 1940’s, Wilmark coined the term “mystery shopping” and began using the method for evaluating customer service
    • In the 1970’s and 80’s, Shop ‘n Check popularized mystery shopping by gaining extensive publicity
    • In the 1990’s, fueled by the internet, the mystery shopping industry experienced rapid growth and acceptance.
    • Into the 2000’s, the creation of software packages such as SASSIE and Prophet have revolutionized the industry

    Who Uses Mystery Shopping?

    Any business/organization that needs to monitor it’s operations, facilities, product delivery, and services like

    • Banks
    • Retailers
    • Manufacturers
    • Call Centers
    • E-Commerce services
    • Government agencies
    • Hospitals
    • Associations
    • Franchise operations
    • Promotions agencies
    • Hotels
    • Restaurants
    • Movie Theatres
    • Recreation parks
    • Transportation systems
    • Fitness/health centers
    • Property management firms
    • Freight/courier services

    And many more.