As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, an ever-growing number of customer feedback opportunities are within reach of the majority of businesses. In the age of Big Data, it’s become commonplace for businesses to glean real-time information about the experience of their customers electronically.
However, while Big Data may have earned recognition for helping operators gauge overall brand health, the critical micro-data feed is increasingly in danger of being overlooked.
There are a variety of ways that businesses can get a pulse on unit-level performance, but few provide the same unique, objective perspective of mystery shoppers. Whilst customers can give sentiment, they don't have the trained eye to provide that micro view that shoppers look for.
Brands spend millions of euros training employees on things they know lead to positive experiences for the customer. While customers can give near real-time feedback these days, unless they implement a quality driven mystery shopping programme, those brands still don't have a way of knowing whether the operational processes that they've trained their teams to carry out are working.
Mystery shopping gives each individual location insights that are both engaging and actionable. It also allows for the brand to ascertain what is and isn't working in relation to training, operations and protocol.
By working operationally for the frontline, as well as strategically across many of the key functions within a business, mystery shopping remains the only data collection methodology that truly works at both a macro and micro level.
Mystery shopping not only complements POS data, but also customer feedback from surveys, complaints data, employee satisfaction feedback and ROI studies. A well thought out and executed mystery shopping programme will benefit businesses in ways that are beyond the reach of other research methods.
Mystery Shopping isn’t going away! It has an invaluable role to play!
Jill Spencer, Vice President, MSPA Europe
* The article is re-published with the kind permission from MSPA Europe, which is the Mystery Shopping Providers Association in Europe. You can read and comment on the original piece on their website. Original date of the publication: 28 May 2015.
Photo: r2hox (Flickr, CC BY-SA)