Mystery Shopping can be used in any type of business, however; the most common places being retail outlets, hotels and motels, movie theaters, restaurants, fast food restaurants, banks and credit unions, gas pumps, car dealerships, apartments complexes, health clubs, vacation clubs and hospitals. In the United Kingdom, mystery shopping assignments is even used to provide feedback on customer services provided by local authorities and other public non-profit, such as housing authorities.
When a client company hires a mystery shopping services provider company, a survey questionnaire model will be drawn up and agreed upon, to which it defines what information and improvement factors the client company wishes to put to objective measure. These are then setup into questionnaire assignments that are assigned to mystery shoppers, also called secret shoppers registered with the company.
The objective points mystery shoppers take typically are objective: number of employees in the store on point entering; the name of the employees present; how long it took before the mystery shopper is greeted; whether or not the greeting was friendly, according to objective measures. This is usually followed by registering the mystery shoppers experience with the sales employee reaction and response to the shoppers questions to find a suitable type of product, as well as the product sales claims used by the employee/sales employee/sales associate, the employee approach to attempt to close the sale. Whether the sales associate suggested any add-on items, and whether that employee invited the shopper to come back to the store to do business again. The speed of service, the overall shopping experience, cleanliness of the store and store associates, complains, store appearance, and staff grooming assessments are typically part of the mystery shopper employing agency assignment instructions for objective feedback.
MSPA is The Trade Organization for Mystery Shopping Providers,has defined a Code of Ethics and Professional Standards Agreement for Mystery Shopping Providers and for Secret Shoppers. MSPA has also defined Standards for Secret Shopping. The MSPA Standard is available in a full version and an Abstract version. The Abstract is even available in 32 languages. Other organizations such as; ESOMAS, MRS and MRA have also defined standards for Mystery Shopping. You can watch the free undercover video by MSNBC via the link at the end of this article.
A recommendation on the use of secret shopper patients by the American Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs was released in June 2008. The Recommendation: “Physicians have an ethical responsibility to engage in activities that contribute to continual improvements in patient care. One method for promoting such quality improvement is through the use of mystery shopper ‘patients’ who have been appropriately trained to provide feedback about physician performance in the clinical setting.”
A scam exists; Like in any other industry,that uses the legitimate secret shopping program as a premise for fraud, where an individual is sent a bad check with instruction to deposit the check into their bank account. However; valid mystery shopping companies will never send their clients a check to cash prior to work being completed, and their advertisements will usually include a contact individual and a contact number. Checks received from mystery shopping companies should only be compensation for work performed, and should always be taken to a bank to be verified.
In conclusion: mystery shopping is a billion dollar industry that keep businesses in check. Many retailers need mystery shoppers. A Mystery Shopper gets paid to shop. We hope you’ve found this article about secret shopper very educational and informative. There are a number of sites and articles that can tell you a lot about Mystery Shopping.