Keys to a successful mystery shopping program

mystery shopping

Keys to a successful mystery shopping program

mystery shoppingMystery shopping is a professional assessment method used to ensure that service standards are met consistently. Companies require this tool to measure aspects related to customer satisfaction, such as branding, marketing, staff, point of sale, product selection, retail location, purchasing, customer service, and more.

There are various reasons for a company to run a mystery shopping program, including:

  • The company has issues that it believes should be investigated, such as a restaurant receiving unfavorable customer feedback regarding its services.
  • To ensure that all staff adhere to the appropriate standard operating procedures (SOP).
  • To ensure that their employees are not committing fraud, such as surreptitiously selling a competitor’s goods to clients.
  • To evaluate client satisfaction.
  • To improve current SOP. In fact, if a company does not currently have an SOP, it can employ the mystery shopping program as part of the process of establishing SOPs.

The Mystery Shopping program has been widely used by businesses in various industries. This is especially true in retail, since it generally has many outlets spread across various regions. In practice, investigators, or so-called mystery shoppers, will visit and conduct tests on the intended outlets.

Apart from field visits, other methods include by telephone and online. These methods can be used in various contexts. For example, when a company wants to know whether customer service personnel are working according to the SOP in responding to complaints on social media or on instant message channels.

To achieve the goals and benefits of this program, there are at least two key factors that must be met by the company:

Data integrity and objectivity

The most important aspect of the mystery shopping program is maintaining data integrity and objectivity. As the name implies, this activity is carried out secretly by a mystery shopper.

One of the keys to the program’s success is keeping the mystery shopping a “mystery” for those being assessed—sales employees, store managers, retail staff, and others.

In one case, a company’s management announced to all of its employees that a mystery shopping program would be performed. As a consequence, the gathered data was biased, since employees may act differently than normal, casting doubt on the data’s integrity and eventually undermining the mystery shopping program’s main goal.

Furthermore, the mystery shopper should have no relationship with the company being tested.

Well-trained mystery shoppers

Theoretically, companies can carry out mystery shopping internally, but the data obtained is very likely to be not objective.

In addition, the mystery shopping program should ideally be carried out by a trained mystery shopper. Companies cannot use mystery shoppers who are inexperienced to carry out in-depth investigations. Apart from that, photography skills are required to take evidence of non-compliance findings.

With highly trained skills, a mystery shopper is able to carry out inspections and conduct assessments of various aspects, as well as analyze findings obtained in the field. This is important to ensure the accuracy and detailed analysis of the reports provided.

Integrity Asia has over 20 years of experience in the compliance field, including mystery shopping programs, and has been trusted by clients from various industry backgrounds. Unlike other mystery shopping services, ours is only performed by trained investigators spread across cities in three countries: Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia.

The Mystery Shopping service from Integrity Asia continues to grow and can be applied according to the needs of companies in various industries, such as the health industry, namely services in hospitals and retail customers. Contact us for more information about the Mystery Shopping program.



Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

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