Presentation on theme: "Taking the Mystery Out Of Mystery Shopping"— Presentation transcript:
1 Taking the Mystery Out Of Mystery Shopping Created for the MSPA by Mark Michelson.1st MSPA PresidentMSPA Hall of Fame Inductee
2 What Is Mystery Shopping? Mystery Shopping is the practice of using trained shoppers to anonymously evaluate customer service, operations, employee integrity, merchandising, and product qualityMystery Shopping goes by many names:Secret ShoppingMystery CustomersSpottersAnonymous AuditsVirtual CustomersEmployee EvaluationsPerformance AuditsTelephone Checks.
3 Why Use Mystery Shopping? When location, pricing, and product assortment are no longer unique, service is often the key to success or failureIt costs 10x more to get a new customer than to keep an existing oneOne unhappy customer will tell 5 other people of their bad experience with serviceWhy customers leave:69% poor customer service13% poor product quality9% competitive reasons5% other3% move away1% die“What gets measured, gets done” Tom Peters.
4 What Are The Benefits of a Mystery Shopping Program? Monitors and measures service performanceImproves customer retentionMakes employees aware of what is important in serving customersReinforces positive employee/management actions with incentive-based reward systemsProvides feedback from front line operationsMonitors facility conditions - asset protectionEnsures product/service delivery quality.
5 What Are The Benefits of a Mystery Shopping Program? Supports promotional programsAudits pricing & merchandising complianceAllows for competitive analysesCompliments marketing research dataIdentifies training needs and sales opportunitiesEducational tool for training & developmentEnsures positive customer relationships on the front lineEnforces employee integrity.
6 The History of Mystery Shopping Initially, mystery shopping was a technique used by private investigators to prevent employee theft - primarily at banks and retail storesIn the 1940’s, Wilmark coined the term “mystery shopping” and began using the method for evaluating customer serviceIn the 1970’s and 80’s, Shop ‘n Chek popularized mystery shopping by gaining extensive publicityIn 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
7 Mystery Shopping Today Worldwide growth of industryNearing $1.5 Billion (USD) worldwideMore focused on improving customer service than on policing bad employeesClients becoming more sophisticated in use of mystery shoppingFaster reporting from field to client using the internetMore diverse and specialized services.
8 The Internet’s Impact on the Mystery Shopping Industry Wide-ranging impact - with shoppers, clients, and providersMany shopper oriented web sites and ListServ’s exist to assist shoppers with education and finding jobsInternet provides more reach and exposure for mystery shopping servicesFaster and less expensive shopper recruitingFaster and less expensive data collectionFaster, automated reporting processesIncreased need for validation of data.
9 Who Uses Mystery Shopping? Any business/organization that needs to monitor it’s operations, facilities, product delivery, and service performanceBanksRetailersManufacturersCall CentersE-Commerce servicesGovernment agenciesHospitalsAssociationsFranchise operationsPromotions agenciesHotelsRestaurantsMovie TheatresRecreation parksTransportation systemsFitness/health centersProperty management firmsFreight/courier servicesAnd many more.
10 Who Provides Mystery Shopping Services? Mystery Shopping SpecialistsMarketing Research FirmsPrivate InvestigatorsMerchandising CompaniesTraining CompaniesAdvertising/Promotion AgenciesOthers.
11 Mystery Shopping Methods In person/on-site shopsTelephone shopsE-Commerce web site shopsHidden video/audio recordingFull narrative shops (qualitative)Checklist shops (quantitative)Purchase & return shopsDiscrimination (matched-pair) testing.
12 How is Mystery Shopping Done? Step 1: Setting Objectives & GoalsStep 2: Program & Questionnaire DesignStep 3: Defining & Recruiting ShoppersStep 4: Data CollectionStep 5: Data PreparationStep 6: ReportingStep 7: Review Findings and Repeat steps 3-7.
13 Step 1: Setting Objectives & Goals Start by asking “What will we do if we knew the answers?”Make sure the answers are actionableEmphasis should be on reinforcing existing training, desired behaviors, and standards complianceThe key factor is to clearly establish where you are, where you want to be, and how mystery shopping can help get you there.
14 Step 2: Program & Questionnaire Design A mystery shopping program works best when it is not a mystery for employees to know what is expected of themannounce & promote the program in a positive mannerThe questionnaire, or evaluation form, should satisfy the objectives of the program, yet be focused and concise for quality of information and accuracy of shopper reporting.
15 Step 2: Program & Questionnaire Design Questionnaires must be designed to provide objective, observational feedback with a system to allow for checks and balancesTypical retail mystery shopping questionnaires cover: greeting, customer service, facility cleanliness and orderliness, speed of service, product quality and employee product knowledgeQuestionnaires should be easy for shoppers to complete and should include specific examples where necessary to clarify the point of evaluation for the shopper.
16 Step 2: Program & Questionnaire Design Ideally, only "yes" and "no" questions will be asked, and all "no" questions will require a response from the shopper for clarificationMultiple response questions are used to allow shoppers to check off the features and benefits that are mentioned during the shopInclude a "general comments" section that encourages shoppers to remark on anything they find significant or interesting during the shop.
17 Step 2: Program & Questionnaire Design Some questions may be more important than others - a point/scoring system for questions can emphasize the most important issuesIf using a scoring system, which is strongly recommended, appropriate weighting of questions is criticalSome questions may not need to have points allocated to them at all, but may be necessary for background of the shop report.
18 Step 3: Defining & Recruiting Shoppers Almost anyone can be a mystery shopper - however, shoppers should match clients’ “real customer” profilesMost mystery shoppers are average consumers, typically working part-time as either independent contractors or employees, who are given guidelines on how to complete the assignmentsShoppers are recruited through classified advertising, internet web sites, , or referrals.
19 Step 3: Defining & Recruiting Shoppers Most shopping providers have candidates submit a detailed application, at no cost, and match shoppers with assignments based on the demographic profile of their client customersThere may be special requirements for the shopmust wear glasses to complete an optical shopShoppers may be qualified on the phone, via internet, or in person, and may often be required to perform test shops to evaluate their skills before doing an actual assignment.
20 Step 4: Data CollectionShopping programs require a tremendous effort in recruiting, qualifying, scheduling, training and managing shoppersIndividual shopper reports must be distributed, collected, and reviewed in a short time frameIt is not uncommon for shoppers to drop assignments during a shop periodProgress of each shopper in the field should be monitored to ensure timely reportsHint: Establish early deadlines for completing reports.
21 Step 4: Data CollectionProvide shoppers with specific shopping scenarios and clear written guidelinesBe consistent in shopping. Shoppers should ask for the same products and ask the same questions at all storesCriteria to be evaluated must be objective rather than subjectiveMystery shopper observations are limited to a choice of fixed alternativesShoppers’ evaluations may be questioned and/or appealed once the facility knows that a mystery shop has occurred.
22 Step 5: Data Preparation Every shopper report must be checked for validity, accuracy, consistency and objectivityRun quality control checks on completed shopper reports before distribution to the clientShoppers may need to be contacted to confirm or validate their reportsMany providers will process data to provide a laser-print output of individual shopper reportsQuantitative data should be tracked using relational database software.
23 Step 6: Reporting A shopping report has a short shelf life Individual store reports must be tabulated and distributed to the stores within 30 days of the shop - much sooner if possibleSummary reports for each district, region, division, department, etc., must be easy to read and understandMake sure management can use the reports effectivelyThe internet is making reporting faster and easier for providers, shoppers, and clients.
24 Step 6: ReportingCategory summaries make reporting easier to analyze and understandCategory scores are based on an accumulation of points from individual questions within each categoryA summary page with all category scores and location, shopper and date information is very useful for quick understanding of performance.
25 Step 7: Review Findings Then Repeat steps 3-7 Once shopper reports are compiled, sharing those results with training and other personnel is the important next step in a program’s successMake it a positive, motivating experience that rewards people for a job well done while identifying areas where training may improve customer service and salesAn established, ongoing program, where employees know that any customer may be the mystery shopper, is more effective and objective than sporadic audits.
26 How to Make The Most of Mystery Shopping Programs Let employees know the program is in place and what is expected of themthis alone will often change behaviorPromote extensively with signs, cards, etc.Have a plan for publishing and using the findingsRealize that shop scores are more reflective of the organization than the individualAlways use reports in a positive manner to gain acceptance of the programUse the reports to target training and operational adjustmentsProvide rewards for excellent reports.
27 How to Make The Most of Mystery Shopping Programs Share the evaluation form with employees and management before initiation - get their input on the questionnaireEvaluate only those things that can be changedUse binary questions (yes/no) as much as possibleUse open ended questions to explain special circumstancesUse category summaries to easily identify key areasPhone, Greeting, Service, Demonstration, Facility, etc.Use a point/scoring system for benchmarking and to track trends.
28 How is Mystery Shopping Different From Marketing Research? Mystery shopping is a “cousin” to marketing research (related, but not the same)Mystery shopping is typically more operational in nature than marketing research and is most often used for training and incentive purposesMarketing research involves determining real customer and prospect opinions, perceptions, needs, and wantsMystery shopping fills in a gap of information between operations and marketing.
29 How is Mystery Shopping Different From Marketing Research? Mystery shoppers are not real customers - they know what to evaluate before entering the storethey may not typically visit the store they are evaluatingMystery shopping should not be used alone to determine customer satisfactionit can compliment, but not replace, satisfaction researchMystery shopping is not predictive of every customer’s experienceunless sufficient samples are taken and data analyzed in aggregate.
30 Pricing Considerations Costs for mystery shopping services can vary considerably depending on:Method of evaluationphysical visit, telephone, internet, etc.Complexity of shop requirementsGeographic area to be coveredNumber/frequency of visits and/or evaluationsDifficulty in recruiting and shopper incentivesReimbursable expensesReporting requirements - types of reports and report distribution method.
31 How to Choose a Mystery Shopping Provider Knowledgeable about design, data collection, analysis & reportingCustomer service & satisfaction attitudeReputable in industrySufficient resources to meet demandsGeographic coverage meets client needsExperience in category or similar categoriesExperience with required specialized servicesLicensed when/where necessaryMember of MSPA.
32 The Mystery Shopping Provider’s Association (MSPA) The world’s only professional trade association dedicated to the mystery shopping industryNon-profit association founded in 1998Over 100 members worldwideMission:The MSPA was formed for the purpose of strengthening the mystery shopping industry throughout the world. It is the goal of the organization to improve and stimulate the acceptance, performance, reputation and use of mystery shopping services internationally.
33 MSPA Resources & Functions Web site:Resource GuideListServNewslettersNetworkingGovernment RelationsEducational Materials & PublicationsAnnual ConferenceEducational WorkshopsDiscounts on products/services.
34 MSPA Organization Diversified 13 member Board of Directors Full-time Executive Director and StaffActive committee involvementGovernment relationsProfessional Standards & EthicsPrograms & MeetingsCommunications & TechnologyMembership.
35 Current Issues & Challenges in the Mystery Shopping Industry Legal issues regarding private investigator licensing requirementsTax issues regarding employment of shoppersConsumer scamsMaintaining shopper quality and integrityFaster delivery of reports without sacrificing quality of dataEducating consumers, clients, prospects, and providers on realities of mystery shoppingWide variety of providers & services.