Mystery shopping delivers high-quality customer insights

Mystery shopping programs can offer businesses a much clearer picture of their customer service operations than other forms of traditional feedback. 

Customers are more important to revenue and profits than some business owners may think. An overwhelming focus on time, metrics and compliance with restrictive policies can often get in the way of the one thing that will ultimately drive business growth: customer satisfaction.

As such, many companies can benefit from a comprehensive customer engagement strategy. Feedback is essential to the formation of larger business strategies, whether it be in the form of direct verbal communication, responses to customer surveys or word-of-mouth interactions on additional channels such as social media. But each of those tools have limits in their ability to deliver the kind of specific information companies need to effectively improve their business strategies.

Mystery shopping programs can offer businesses a much clearer picture of their customer service operations. Here are some of the basic ways secret shopping can deliver more meaningful data:

Unbiased views
According to Independent Retailer, traditional customer surveys often have a tendency to elicit heavily biased, emotional responses from customers. Whether that feedback comes as a result of frustration or overwhelming satisfaction with a business interaction, biased data won't truly help change customer service operations for the better. A well-planned and organized mystery shopping program can provide a much more professional and unbiased view of a service program's effectiveness.

For example, mystery shopping companies can produce detailed checklists for shoppers that include everything from participation in actual store purchases to detailed accounts of interactions with representatives. The use of mystery shoppers also eliminates the bias associated with regular customers. While the results of the interaction on-site might still produce positive or negative reactions, the shopper's primary duty is to simply observe and report what they encounter in clear detail.

Qualitative data
Many businesses struggle to obtain feedback from customers that is specific enough to truly offer meaningful insight. In other cases, surveys and research initiatives that rely too heavily on quantitative data present businesses with the inability to fully understand information on a human level. Just as mystery shopping programs provide unbiased details of customer interactions, they also provide a unique opportunity to gather highly specific qualitative information. According to Baird Group, a health care consulting organization, mystery shopping provides concrete anecdotes that allow businesses to humanize information in a way that data-driven surveys often can't.

Businesses must take their internal research initiatives seriously. A high-quality mystery shopping program is often the best way to access the kind of data that will ultimately improve business operations and drive in revenue.