A mystery shopping firm is called upon to see, from a customer’s eye-view, just how well you might be providing customer service. There are, therefore, many ways to go about evaluating a customer’s experience at your company. You can request that the mystery shopper hired to do the job just answers questions based on his or her experience shopping in the company.  Secondly, you might ask for more elaborate evaluations, using standards of measurements that can be calibrated across multiple shoppers, usually in the form of a scorecard type of questionnaire.

A third method is to instruct the mystery shopper to keep a diary of her experiences in the store or bank.  The diary may be somewhat structured, containing suggested questions the shopper should answer (How did you feel? What were you thinking when…?)   Finally, a mystery shopping firm train their mystery shoppers based on specific criteria that the business requests. Perhaps the business is a hair salon and the firm needs an older woman with problematic hair to be the mystery shopper, for example.

Each of these methods has its own strengths and weaknesses.  What’s right for one company may be a totally inappropriate method for another. The article, What flavour of Mystery Shopper research is right for you? is a good discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the four different methods used in mystery shopping programs.