Mystery showers are people paid to pose as consumers to observe, collect information on employees and customer service and report it. These shoppers are not hired by the store or business but by a third party. Mystery shopping helps in boosting business. Some of the best mystery shopping companies have contributed significantly to the success of major business enterprises.
Mystery shoppers mostly spy on businesses that are service-based such as spas and restaurants to assess the quality of services from a consumer point of view. They do this assessment by random observation or by engaging employees through questions. A mystery shopper can also get dramatic to observe how employees react to such scenarios.
Mystery shoppers are required to gather a variety of information including service delivery; how fast the services were offered and whether or not the experience was fulfilling. They also report on how many employees were present, how welcoming they were and the names of the ones with whom the shopper interacted. Mystery shoppers also indicate the items they were shown, products they were asked to consider if any and details of their interactions such as the tone of the employees. The sanitation in the facility as well as employees’ grooming and dress codes are also noted down and reported.
Payment in mystery shopping is done per assignment and not per hour. Sometimes, businesses reimburse shoppers on the amount they spent instead of offering a salary. Paid employees receive 10 dollars or more depending on how complex their tasks are. Like everything else, mystery shopping has its pros and cons.
Benefits of mystery shopping
- Improves the quality of services: Mystery shoppers thoroughly assess the quality of services offered and by doing so they can identify weaknesses and areas that need improvement in service delivery.
- Keeps employees alert: Mystery showers help to minimize unnecessary supervision of employees. When workers know that someone is secretly watching them, they do their work properly and abide by all the rules without any supervision.
- Cost-effective. Mystery shopping is a cheap way of getting accurate feedback and reports on your business. Sometimes, you don’t have to pay these shoppers and instead give them free products or services. They provide that feedback becomes helpful when making significant decisions about your business.
- Provides new ideas: Mystery shoppers could help you get ideas on how to improve your enterprise. Since they have been to other stores, restaurants or salons before, they can offer you ideas and tips that they picked that could enhance your business.
Weaknesses of mystery shopping
- Limited sample size: The size of your sample is essential in any survey. Unfortunately, mystery shopping provides a limited sample. It is based on judging a person based on one experience with him or her. A shopper can have an unpleasant encounter with a good employee who is having a bad day, and as a result, write a bad report on this employee.
- Requires further research: Since one experience cannot speak for the entire workforce, more research is needed.
In conclusion, mystery shopping is great for unbiased feedback and analysis but also has its limitations and weaknesses.