In developing a mystery shopping program, plan for the results

More and more businesses and organizations are adopting mystery shopping strategies to research customers' experiences, gauge how staff are interracting with clients or determine the status of competitors.

More and more businesses and organizations are adopting mystery shopping strategies to research customers' experiences, gauge how staff are interracting with clients or determine the status of competitors.

In fact, a recent American Express study found 70 percent of U.S. consumers are willing to pay up to 13 percent more with businesses they believe provide quality customer service.

But before a business moves ahead with a mystery shopping strategy, it is important to have an end goal in mind. To that end, ask yourself some important questions: What do you want to accomplish with the data you obtain? In light of newly acquired research, what are you willing to change about your operations? How can you position your service ahead of competitors?

For that matter, it will likely pay off if businesses invest a little more time in the preparation and planning phase.

"Shaping the mystery shopping will allow you to focus the mystery shopping on the right areas and thus get the most value out of your budget," writes Maz Iqbal for Business 2 Community. "Involving the right people is essential to getting the parts of the organization to make changes in what they do and how they do it."