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How technology is retiring the mystery shopper

Many businesses today still use mystery shopper techniques to monitor consumer metrics like quality of products and services. It’s a method that has largely stood the test of time for surface-level insights, but it falls way short in painting the full customer experience (CX) picture.

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Having mystery shopper assessments as your standalone basis for business improvement can be a massive financial risk. The inherent levels of subjectivity cause consistency issues that can easily have you chasing shadows and wasting investment – this is on top of rapidly accumulating spends based on location and visit frequency. Thankfully, as it often does, technology is providing a modern Customer Experience (CX) alternative to the mystery shopper.

Accelerated insights

Mystery shopper reports are produced monthly, but there is so much insight to learn from modern retail in real-time. If an employee isn’t immediately made aware of the areas in which they could improve, there’s a high chance they will repeat bad behaviours.

Additionally, while you wait for your monthly mystery shopping report, you will risk having more dissatisfied customers and could well have lost significant business before you even identify the problem.

Technology can now deliver instant survey responses, analyse the findings and produce a report. Addressing issues as soon as identified not only prevents issues from festering, it can have a dramatic effect on the culture of your business and generate a drive for excellence.

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Role-specific feedback

Technology now allows insights to be customised for specific roles, making that information ultra-relevant and job-specific.

Executives can now receive more insights on overall business performance. Operations can compare and benchmark stores by department. Marketing can drive advocacy through social media from satisfied customers. It’s not only external channels that benefit, either—a high volume of feedback allows HR to differentiate between individual performance and systemic issues among employees.

Impact the Bottom Line

Resolving customer issues can also be achieved in real time, rather than waiting month to month – helping to retain at-risk customers and rescue at-risk revenue.

Great experiences turn customers into advocates, who then turn their friends and family into customers. Word of mouth is the single best source of new business (55 percent), as customers have disrupted the roles of salespeople and marketers the world over. In fact, over 80 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family above any form of advertising.

Customers are likely to spend 140 percent more after a positive experience than customers who report negative experiences. With the right technology in place, you can continually tackle issues and improve experiences.

Embrace the Future

Mystery shopping is a proven technique, it’s not outdated, but it is limited. Technology now provides unprecedented levels of customer insight, that can be actioned when it counts the most.

Acting in real-time is now a retail necessity that makes mystery shopping a secondary technique at best. If you’re fully reliant on mystery shoppers for your business-critical insights, you might already be battling an issue you’re unaware of…can your business seriously wait until the end of the month to find out?

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