Mystery Shoppers: What Do They Do?
You want to cut thought the gunk, you’re having issues at your stores, and your boss wants answers. A fellow executive has suggested ‘mystery shoppers’ and gives you a link. You check it out but it’s full of this mumbo jumbo you’re not even sure applies: “performance based results” – what do you mean perform? All they do is shop! “Unique action oriented process” – what are you talking about? What is your ‘action?’ “Non-conflicting information that can withstand scrutiny” – What would it conflict with if it’s true? Why does it matter? Sometimes life is conflicted!
We’re sad on our wedding day; we cry when a child is born; we laugh when a parent dies. The conflicted nature of the human being is just so rife for discussion. But it is a fact; we are a conflicted mess of peoples who need a lot more than some jargon from an online brochure; we need some answers.
Life’s never made a whole lot of sense, even less so since you’ve begun researching mystery shoppers. In your naive hopes of making your life a little easier by hiring someone to come in and tell you what’s wrong, you’re now even more confused. Especially since your shopper will have an EDITOR so that their material plays well! I mean, come on!
So in hopes of making your life a little easier, I’d like to break down the secret shopper process into a few general areas of understanding.
They understand your business: Before you hire anyone, they should be equipped with the basics: where am I going? Who am I up against? What are the problems, as you see them? Without this understanding they’ll have no idea where to go next.
They visit your store: Probably alone to get a feel for what the store is like when it’s slow; who’s slacking off, who’s ducking merchandise inside their bag, who continues to come up and ask them how their day is and if they need any help finding anything (or at least offers a name and a “gimmie a holler”)
They do a real visit: In a high traffic time and they (maybe) be a real pain in the butt. If they’re lucky, someone else will be being a pain and they can observe a natural situation
They write their report: Having complied data on all three sessions they can now return and write their report to your specifications. It may be something as simple as “team needs more energy” and pointing to a member (if there is one) who IS up to the test and use he/she as a base “they all could be more chipper, like Katie”
That’s about it. The real work happens after the fact: how quickly does this data come back to you? How is the date compiled? What if I still have questions?
Hopefully your business never needs this sort of thing. For some, mystery shopping is an excellent tool to use in the war against bad employees.