More Mystery Shopping Success Tips By Judi Hess

Get your front line on board.  It’s vital that the people responsible for the results of the mystery shopping program understand and support the program, especially if incentives are based on the results. Before the program is finalized, management MUST make sure key players are fully informed about how the program will work and how results will be used. Otherwise, the person in charge can expect a deluge of phone calls and e-mails complaining about the program, explaining away negative comments and demanding the evaluation be re-done for any number of reasons.

Introduce it positively.  Advise your employees that the purpose of the program is to “catch them doing things right”. Mystery shopping should be used as an employee development tool– a carrot rather than a stick. Employees, as well as managers, should know how the results might affect them.

Assign adequate supervision.  A well-run mystery shopping program will require administrative time on your end. Make sure the person assigned to handle the program has the authority to make decisions and the time to act on the results (e.g. coach individuals, provide recognition, etc.).

Review periodically. It is important to keep the program fresh and relevant. If the goals of the program change, or uses of the reports are modified, work with your shopping company to revise and update the program.

A successful mystery shopping program requires collaboration between client and provider. Each partner has a role to play. If both partners performed their roles well, mystery shopping will be an invaluable tool in your quest to measure and improve customer service, product knowledge and sales ability.

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