How mystery shopping sustains strong customer service

Companies build their brand on their customer service, which can be most effectively measured using a mystery shopper.

In many cases, companies build their brand on customer service, which can be most effectively measured using a mystery shopper armed with a discerning temperament and keen eye for details.

Micah Solomon, a regular contributor to Forbes specializing in customer service and experience, recently explained how companies develop their own style of customer service based on the consumer market they serve. From this perspective, it's impossible to paint a clear portrait of customer service with an overly broad brush. Each company has a niche and serves its clientele according to the expectations they've established - or have been motivated to provide - through their years of interacting with guests. Especially for companies that have multiple locations, building a consistent brand image requires a somewhat uniform operating model. This is where a secret shopper plays such a critical role.

Solomon highlighted the need for authenticity in customer experiences. For instance, many businesses ask their employees to follow a distinct script when interacting with customers. Why? It provides a uniform experience for people from all walks of life, creating a more egalitarian way of doing business. Mystery shoppers are often asked to assess employees based on this kind of interaction.

At the same time, other companies build a brand based on their ability to communicate organically with consumers. However, this can quickly degenerate into an unstructured free-for-all where employees and customers aren't sure of what's appropriate, leading to awkward encounters. As Solomon suggests, businesses need to maintain standards for operations, especially if they're going for a more authentic and unscripted approach to customer communications.

As Harvard Business Review explained, human-assisted service isn't going anywhere. Companies depend on their ability to cater to people's needs, and customers generally tend to prefer to communicate with living, breathing representatives. Mystery shoppers play a big role in keeping customer service alive and well.