Mystery Shopping Jobs are used as a method for market research to gather information in a way which is as natural as possible. It is usually coordinated by a company with the aim of providing research which will assist in improving the quality of products, services and overall customer satisfaction. The company will hire people to pose as normal customers when visiting a store or restaurant – whilst there and using the services, they may carry out specific tasks which have been requested before reporting back all findings.
Mystery shoppers are used in a vast array of locations and stores – for example restaurants, pubs, cinemas, theatres, travel companies, hotels, spas, cruise lines, airlines, amusement parks and leisure organisations. It is also used to evaluate online services such as delivery, returns and customer service. It is one of the ways that retailers and business managers can ensure that the quality of service, appearance and standards are the same in every one of its outlets, whether it is a store in the UK or overseas.
Mystery shopping can be carried out in many ways, from a simple questionnaire to full audio and video feedback. Some companies will require more in depth research, whilst others will simply want a quick check up on how the store is being run. Once you become a mystery shopper you will be able to find out further information.
Since the 1940s it has become standard practice in the UK and is used a as a way to measure employee integrity, evaluate service and ensure customer satisfaction is consistent. Over the years mystery shopping has evolved, although many factors of research remain the same. The mystery shopper can be asked to collect various information when visiting a store or outlet, typically including things such as:
1. First impressions
How long it takes before the shopper is greeted, and how efficient the services offered by the employee are. This is important as the company needs to ensure that every customer has a friendly greeting and the levels of service set out by the company are being met.
2. Background information
Gathering the names of the employees, so that the feedback can include which employees were helpful and friendly during the visit and which were not so.
3. Employee knowledge
Questions the shopper had to ask in order to obtain the product or service required, and which product or service was offered in return by the employee. This is so that the company can ensure their employees are providing their customers with the correct information on their products and services. Employees should have a good knowledge of the products and services available from the employer.
4. Service quality
How the sale was closed by the employee, for example did they suggest any ‘add on’ sales when closing the transaction with the customer, or did they invite the shopper to come back to the store to make further purchases in future.
Making a note of the cleanliness and presentation of the store and the employees within it. This represents another important point as the company needs to check that the store is presentable, and any uniforms or dress codes are being adhered to.
Some mystery shoppers may be asked to carry out mystery shopping projects involving testing the service skills and knowledge of employees. For example in a clothing store they may be asked to enquire about the stores gift wrapping services, or in a restaurant they may be asked to pretend to have specific dietary requirements, such as a dairy free diet. This will test the knowledge base of the employees and ensure that the employer is providing the right information and training for them.
Not every mystery shopper will be asked to make a purchase, and it is becoming more frequent that no purchases are necessary at all as jobs are purely for research. The mystery shopper may be asked to note the number of products on a shelf or the number seats available for customers and the number of customers in a store. They may also be asked to gather information such as measurements or take photographs.
Another way that mystery shopper jobs can test out the levels of customer service and employee knowledge is to return a purchase. This test will not only ensure the levels are service are correct , but also that the employee dealing with the return has the correct knowledge regarding the companies returns policy. For example does the company only offer a credit note on returns without a receipt or over the festive period does the company extend its usual returns policy.
With online stores that are under the testing of a mystery shopper, the requirements are usually similar to that of a high street store with the exception of the checks to cleanliness and staff appearance. Mystery shoppers for online stores are often asked to carry out the ordering and returning products process and giving feedback on the speed and continuity of the web site and its payment methods. Other factors include how fast the website is and how easy it is to use.
Call centres can also be the subject of mystery shoppers, it is used in this situation to test that the calls are all of a required standard, that any information given is always correct, that the call centre staff are all aware of the company polices and can carry out the required tasks to a standard required by the company.
All the data that is gathered by mystery shoppers’ jobs is fed back to the market research company which will then be analysed and compared to previous data to produce a report. The report is provided to the client company so that action can be taken on recommendations.
In addition to being well rewarded and often getting to keep free products and services, the benefits of mystery shopper job roles include being able to work flexible hours. This can be convenient to fit around other part time work or family commitments to maximise your earnings. With some assignments shoppers can take children with them, making it just as easy for a full time mum to become a mystery shopper. Similarly, other assignments may require an evening visit to a restaurant, meaning that the shopper can work around normal work hours.
To become a mystery shopper you simply need to visit our free sign up page now!