How mystery shopping affects employees

As a retailer, you know that mystery shopping can have a great impact on how your business is seen by others.

As a retailer, you know that mystery shopping can have a great impact on how your business is seen by others. More than ever, giving your shoppers a way to provide feedback can help improve customer service, and that can mean bigger sales overall. However, you may be wondering how this influences employees. They're the face of the store in the eyes of the mystery shopper. That means that they have to be working on their best behavior in order to give your store high scores and demonstrate quality customer service. But how does that affect them? More than you may think.

It's all in the behavior
There are a lot of different ideas on how mystery shopping can have an effect on employees on a regular basis. According to Mystery Shopping Providers Association Executive Director John Swinburn, it can affect morale in a positive way. By knowing that they're being constantly evaluated for their work gives workers an incentive to do better. That can lead to ripple effects of them working better on a regular basis. When reports come in, you can commend them for doing a great job after a positive score, rewarding them in certain ways. If a negative report arrives and a specific employee sticks out, you can address that employee directly and work to address the issues so that they can do better.

At the same time, you may not know how it affects employees directly. A study conducted by English researchers at Lund University in Sweden showed a few unique dynamics in play in regard to employee behavior. For example, when the workers were simply told they were being monitored through mystery shoppers, only 20 percent of them showed significant improvements in their performance, while 77 percent showed marginal gains. However, when they were able to identify or recognize the customer, the situation reversed, with 74 percent making major progress in their customer service and 26 percent reporting minor advances.

Of course, for many employees, the reports that usually come with mystery shoppers tends to concern them greatly. Around 85 percent of the employees surveyed said the publication of mystery shopper reports is a cause of anxiety at work. With that in mind, positive reinforcement helps alleviate the stress. While only 18 percent of those surveyed said they were rewarded for a solid score, 86 percent said that linking good reports with rewards were a great motivator to make themselves better staffers. You should consider incorporating a rewards program to give your staff a reason to do their best.