According to Forbes Magazine’s reporting in 2013 more than 500,000 new businesses are started in the US each month. Moreover, the Small Business Administration reported in 2016 that the number of new small businesses has increased 49% since 1982. This creates a large base of businesses that could benefit from a mystery shopping program in order to become competitive in their marketplace.
States Vicki Dempsey, Vice President of Jancyn Inc., owner of Customer Perspectives, “As new businesses join the marketplace it is more important than ever to focus on their brand values. We offer many ways to do just that. Beyond the customer satisfaction experience, our mystery shopping reports may address such things as the speed at which emails are returned, validate marketing promotions, check prices, keep an eye on your competitors, or ensure compliance with industry and government regulations. Jancyn provides management teams easy access to analyze report results and compare trends with feedback they need to manage their brand and drive improvement with confidence.”
Most people have at least a peripheral understanding of the concept of mystery shopping. They understand that mystery shoppers patronize various kinds of businesses under the cloak of anonymity and report back to owners or management their overall experience.
Mystery shoppers provide structured insight, via pre-designed survey questions, which help companies ensure customer satisfaction, provide feedback on the desirability of new products, gauge employee efficiency, check for product placement or see if marketing efforts are being addressed.
For those in the retail, hospitality, or food services industries, their understanding of mystery shopping programs may be even more acute. Through the years mystery shopping programs have continued to evolve. The early days of paper reports mailed, and then faxed, are replaced today with online access to input the shop data and send off the survey with the push of a keystroke. And no longer are these programs relegated to “Were you offered fries with your burger?” or “Did the front desk clerk mention the pool?” lines of questioning. Instead surveys are becoming increasingly interactive with behavior-based feedback desired. The methods by which mystery shopping companies glean this data is also advancing.
At Rotten Robbie Quality Gas, Michele Jesus, Executive Assistant to CEO Tom Robinson agrees. “Our employees must display great customer service, teamwork, and positive attitudes. Our Jancyn mystery shop program provides that feedback and much more.”
Ms. Dempsey goes on to say, “Like many industries, mystery shopping has evolved through the years with the advent of the Internet and especially Smart Phones. For example, our clients can have time and date stamped pictures with the shop report or promote a survey to their customers via in-location advertisement with a QR code for real time communication. What’s more, our clients receive their data on a password protected website where the information is stored. This means collaboration at their fingertips; across regions, business units, or management hierarchy.”
Additionally, Jancyn offers telephone based mystery shopping programs. These interactions, which are often recorded, will tell a business owner how welcoming an employee is on the phone, if the phone was answered properly per their company protocol and if questions are answered in a thorough manner. For industries with strict federal guidelines, such as the Fair Housing Laws that apply to apartment rentals, these mystery shopping programs can reveal if employees are compliant with regulations.
In some cases, companies want to get mystery shopping reports from all angles of their business. They may want a shopper to call a location, visit the website, and then report from the store, restaurant or property as well. This will provide a full picture of the average customers experience with the vendor and will provide opportunities for improvement. Additionally, this reporting provides an occasion to reward those employees that provide exceptional service. In doing so, companies are able to retain superior employees and reduce staff turnover.