Use mystery shopping to scope out the competition

Mystery shopping firms such as ours, Customer Perspectives, are used to evaluate the customer’s experience by sending qualified evaluators  (the mystery shoppers) into retail outlets, banks, restaurants, and other types of businesses.  The evaluator then reports back to the company on key points of measurements agreed upon ahead of time. The information is used to improve employee training, to learn where more attention is needed in customer service and/or to find ways to keep satisfied customers coming back.

But mystery shopping services can also be used to find out what your competition might be doing. A mystery shopping evaluation of a competitor can be custom-designed to determine such things as what that company is doing differently from yours, and how they are appealing to their customers. Your company can decide what is to be measured and receive a detailed analysis of the shopping experience from the point of view of the shopper. The information gathered can be presented alongside the data from your own company to try to pinpoint key differences.

Some features to measure among your competitors:  Are the customers being greeted differently or more quickly than at your company? Are questions more common at your business versus the competition? A franchise operation might use a mystery shopping firm, for example, to make sure products are presented in a similar way across all franchises, or that key training factors in franchising have taken hold. Are clerks mentioning the proper types of products and presenting them in the correct light to meet the customer’s needs?  These are just some of the ways a mystery shopping experience can help you stand out against the competition.

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