Mystery shopping in high demand despite digital connectivity

Even though the world is becoming increasingly digitized and connected, the need for mystery shoppers has not decreased.

Even though the world is becoming increasingly digitized and connected, the need for mystery shoppers has not decreased. Businesses, hotels and restaurants rely on more than online reviews and guest surveys to determine if their customers are having exceptional experiences at their establishments. The mystery shopper provides an insightful, invested account of his or her visit, while maintaining professionalism and offering helpful information.

In the restaurant industry especially, a secret shopper's goal is to critique the entire experience, rather than just the food. Many restaurant reviews can be found online or in forums discussing the quality of the food. More often than not, when the service or wait staff is mentioned, it is in a negative connotation and resulted from an isolated incident. A mystery shopper should be able to focus on all actions taken by not just the waiter, but also the hosts, the bussers and the overall flow of the venue.

Target individual franchises
According to Pizza Marketplace, one perk to hiring a mystery shopper is that the feedback is specific to a particular location. With restaurants that have several locations or are chains, it can be difficult to measure the effectiveness of corporate practices. During a restaurant chain's seasonal promotion, shoppers can visit several locations over the course of a week to determine if all franchises are rolling out the correct campaigns at the right time.

Plus, if a venue provides a variety of experiences a mystery shopper is able to gather a more well-rounded set of information for the business owners. For instance, if a sports bar seats patrons in either the bar area, the outdoor patio or the main dining room, the impact on the customer will be different each time. Sending secret diners to each area over the course of several weeks is much more beneficial than reading reviews online.

Getting feedback from all ages
The AARP reported that the number of mystery shoppers over the age of 50 is on the rise. Since they are typically retirees with free time during the day, they are an excellent resource for businesses with secret shopping needs. The medical industry in particular uses senior citizens to act as patients to make sure doctors are asking the right questions during exams.

For the restaurant industry, this market should definitely be explored. Hiring both senior citizens and younger college students to conduct mystery shops delivers more helpful information than focusing on one target audience.

Mystery shoppers are as much in demand as ever, and businesses should take advantage of this valuable tool.