Everything You Need To Know About Mystery Shopping in Singapore
Mystery Shopping is the old kid around the block, but there is a good reason why it’s still around and utilised by MNCs and SMEs alike. Negative connotations associated with Mystery Shopping is still floating around in the minds of many, primarily caused by a lack of knowledge about what it actually entails and what type of influence it can have on a business. Hopefully, after reading this post, you would have a better understanding of what Mystery Shopping is about and how it can help a business improve profitability.
What is Mystery Shopping?
In a nutshell, Mystery Shopping is an approach to better understand a customer’s shopping experience in brick-and-mortar environments. Information is collected about products, service delivery and the overall experience by the shopper before being relayed back to the hiring company. The general gist of the job scope is the gathering of requested data under the guise of a normal, everyday patron.
Why is Mystery Shopping beneficial for businesses?
Mystery Shopping, in general, provides a variety of benefits for businesses.
Mystery Shoppers have no personal attachment to the shops they are visiting. This leads to an unbiased and objective view. The evaluation by these Mystery Shoppers can be trusted to be genuine and honest as they would assess every customer touch point and give feedback objectively, both good and bad. On the other hand, internal auditors could have formed friendships with employees which could potentially affect their judgement and create biasness and inaccuracy in reports.
2. Customer’s Perspective
A mystery shopper is generally unaware of business practices and will view everything through the lens of a customer. This information is highly valuable as gaps in services can sometimes be missed by the upper management.
Some business owners are under the impression that Mystery Shoppers are just glorified online reviews – and at a hefty cost too! This is just one of many misconceptions. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and think about when you would bother to post a review about a business. Perhaps almost 95% of the time, you would only do so if you encountered a bad experience that left a sour taste in your mouth. Or perhaps, you had an experience so wonderful you felt compelled to leave a compliment. Notice how both these scenarios are on the extreme ends of the spectrum? There’s almost nothing in between – and therein lies the problem. Unlike reviews that typically only point out the extremely good or extremely bad, Mystery Shopping provides complete feedback. Areas of improvement do not only apply to the bad, but also the mediocre and good which is almost impossible to identify through just reviews.
4. Evaluate Staff Performance
Mystery Shoppers can help determine the level of staff performance, from how warm and friendly they are to their professionalism and even if they actively promote and upsell products. With Mystery Shoppers, staff will also treat every customer like a Mystery Shopper and perform to the best of their abilities, drastically improving service levels.
At Wemedia Consulting, we take a unique approach to Mystery Shopping which revolves around customer satisfaction and employee motivation, you can find out more by reading our article on why Mystery Shopping is worth it.
Who can be a Mystery Shopper?
Basically anyone could become a mystery shopper but, of course, you can’t just go into a shop, purchase something, rate your experience, and then call yourself one. Ideally, mystery shoppers should maintain their status quo and not reveal themselves when performing their task in stores. There are also rare occasions where they are instructed otherwise by the employer to simulate a certain situation and take note of how the employees improvise and react to handle it.
This means that most Mystery Shoppers do need to undergo training or a comprehensive briefing beforehand to understand the requirements of the role and what to pay attention to. This has led to most companies to seek out intermediaries such as Mystery Shopper agencies for recruitment and management of Mystery Shoppers. There are, of course, some outliers who opt to have their own pool of Mystery Shoppers. If you wish to opt for this route, read on to find out what you have to take note of!
When is the best time for a business to hire Mystery Shoppers?
Mystery Shopping is a dynamic and fully customisable service that will constantly be of benefit regardless of the stage the business is in. For example, if the business is relatively new, potential problems with established SOPs or certain inexperience among staff will immediately be pointed out and can be addressed promptly. Customer experience is of utmost importance, and second chances are hard to come by in certain service-oriented industries so you want to ensure such deficiencies are rectified as soon as possible.
If the business is more established and has reached the point of having a consistent structure and revenue, Mystery Shopping can also help by revealing service gaps that have went unnoticed. It will also serve as a platform to evaluate employee performance – an external audit.
How do I hire Mystery Shoppers?
You can set up your own personal Mystery Shopper team by looking for interested individuals through hiring platforms. This approach requires deployment of manpower for recruitment, scheduling and management which will incur significant costs and take up a lot of time. We will advise against this unless you have the resources to spare – in which you can view it as a long-term investment. Otherwise, you can always look out for Mystery Shopping services instead.
You can read more about our customized Mystery Shopping service here. Feel free to drop us an enquiry if you have any further questions!