Understanding telephone mystery shopping

There's no wrong way to run a mystery shopping program for your business.

There's no wrong way to run a mystery shopping program for your business. The most typical method is having a person come into your store and find out specifics on how the shop and your employees measure up to expectations. As Inc. Magazine notes, there are several metrics to use when establishing the program, as well as motivations and circumstances to create expectations. You may want to deal with a drop in reservations or an increase in item returns. But what if the problems aren't related to the store itself, but how your employees handle phone calls? That's where telephone mystery shopping comes into play.

It's all in the call
According to Mystery Shoppers' Academy, telephone mystery shopping is basically taking the experience from a physical storefront appearance to a phone call. That may not seem like much, but many businesses could stand to benefit from phone mystery shoppers. Restaurants that do take out or delivery, for example, have to not only get every detail in an order right, but also ensure that they have an address and contact information. They need to give the customer the total amount owed over the phone just in case they're short on cash and can cancel the order before wasting it or creating an awkward exchange. Movie theaters should be able to tell people show times and ticket costs. Sometimes, a customer will want to know if a movie is running past a certain date, since they can change each Friday.

What is particularly beneficial about telephone mystery shopping is that your business doesn't need to have someone come in. All the shopper has to do is make a phone call. You can make it so that the call is a specific time or day, or that it is made at a random time during the week to test the employees' abilities at any time. From there, mystery shoppers can ask a series of questions that sound like a typical customer request, based on the parameters you provided. All the while, the conversation is being recorded or the person is taking notes. From there, the worker will be assessed on how quickly he or she responded to the phone, whether that person put the shopper on hold and for how long if so, if he or she needed to contact a manager and overall demeanor. This phone-based method can be really useful in delivering critical information on how your business handles phone calls.