What's "mystery shopping"?Definition
Mystery shopping is the use of trained observers who act as "normal" customers in order to test services according to a pre-determined list of criteria. Mystery shoppers are also referred to as test customers, service-testers, or test buyers.
Mystery shopping allows OPINION HEROES to say what they think about services they have deliberately tested beforehand. Of course, you need to give your opinion objectively and in a well-informed and factual manner.
How do these projects work?Procedure
A mystery shopping project starts with an email invitation to fill in a brief screening questionnaire. This is to check whether you are part of a typical customer group of the company to be tested – you don't want to stand out by looking out of place in the shop!
If you are suitable for the project and are assigned to the job, you will get a full briefing. This will usually include written documentation and an interview with the project managers. That way, both parties can be sure that everything has been understood and you can happily proceed to the assignment. But be careful: on location, nobody must notice that you are a test customer!
When you have completed the assignment, you fill in a questionnaire about your experience on a tablet PC or at home. You will know the questions in advance so you will be able to make sure during the assignment that you can answer all the questions.
By the way, you rarely buy anything on test-buying assignments. It is frequently just the quality of the advice that is tested. If you have to buy something, for example to test the payment procedures, you will be told exactly in advance how to cancel the transaction or get a refund. Please avoid businesses which you do not find transparent and which require payment in advance right from the start.
In other words, just stay an OPINION HERO! Tell companies what you think about their services. That way, you have the best opportunity to change something for the better.
What sorts of mystery shopping are there?Examples
Mystery shopping is used in all sectors where companies come in contact with their customers, such as in retail outlets, catering facilities and hotels, call centres, hospitals and workshops.
These customer interfaces are where decisions are made as to whether a product or a service will be bought, whether customer needs are satisfied and, lastly, whether the customer will use the company's services again or recommend them.
As an OPINION HERO, you will probably have plenty of experience with both good and bad service. But you were unable to tell those in charge or nothing changed? In that case, mystery shopping is a great opportunity to have a careful and objective look at a company's services and to make your opinion be heard.
The following examples will give you a better idea of what mystery shopping assignments might look like:
- At a telecommunications provider, you check to see whether the customer advisor offers you the right product for you and your personal situation.
- You obtain advice from a flower retailer's hotline to see whether the company's customer advice concept works on the telephone.
- At a tyre dealer's, you seek advice on winter tyres for your actual car. Then you attend a competitor with the same questions. You then compare the advice you got from both dealers.
- To name just a few examples...
Mystery shopping allows you to go on exciting assignments as an objective, undercover test customer, to finally speak your mind about the service provided and even get rewarded for doing so!