Tag Archive for mystery shopping services

Spot Checks – A New Form of Mystery Shopping


SpotCheck logo 2016


Mystery shopping just got easier!


We are pleased to introduce our new Spot Check Mystery Shopping Program – it’s a mobile based, simplistic approach to mystery shopping.


We understand that each company’s needs are different, and we have heard requests for simpler programs for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to start a discovery program for those who have not used mystery shopping in some time (or ever) and want to see where they are on the most basic service points or if it’s a company that’s rolling out a new product or promotion and want to make sure all locations adhere to the marketing/presentation/talking points set forth.
We also understand that companies are pressed for time – starting a customized, more complex program takes time, and sometimes companies need quick data.


Spot Check Mystery shops serve both purposes – you can order shops on our self-serve portal and get started with no effort on your part. Your locations will be evaluated using a basic, standard evaluation form and shoppers will be deployed. From there, you and key company members will receive email notifications as shops are completed.


Take a look at our newest service offering or start a program to see how it works! There is no commitment on your part – order shops as needed or request that they happen on a regular basis.


Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about the Spot Check Mystery Shopping Program – we’re always happy to help!



Plant a Shopper, Watch Your Business Grow


This was a tag line we’ve used to roll out our Plant a Shopper program, which we started a few years back. This is a great program to use in banks, park districts, fitness centers, and similar industries.


At its most basic level, you can “plant” a shopper into your customer base where they remain for a period of time. During this time, they will act as a normal customer and evaluate various touchpoints of your business. At the end of the period of time, they will provide a more thorough, overall summary of their experience.


Let’s look at a couple of examples to see how this plays out:


* Banking: we would start with a non-customer who will visit a branch to say they’d like information on opening a checking account. This first visit evaluates the experience as a potential customer and how smoothly the account opening process goes. They will keep the account open for a period of time during which they will make transactions both inside the branch and at the drive thru, and perhaps call the customer service line to resolve issues. They may even track if promotional calls or emails are utilized and how this is perceived as a customer. Finally, at the end of their timeframe, they will talk with a Personal Banker and explain that they’d like to close the account to see how it is handled. Does the baker attempt to ‘save’ the account or simply start the closing process?


* Park Districts: many park districts would like to evaluate their instructions or guest presenters at various events. However, sending in a shopper once or even twice during a class schedule may not be enough to get a true picture. Shoppers will start by registering for the class or program to see how it is handled, actually take the class, and at the end provide a full summary regarding their experience.


* Fitness centers: some facilities have a reputation for providing misleading information when customers join, and others are known for making it all but impossible to cancel your membership. Find out exactly what your company is saying and doing to gain new customers and retain them. Shoppers can go in as a potential customer to get information, then not make a committment at that point, but do so if follow up is done. From there, they can be members for a short period of time, and, like a bank evaluation, go into the facility to say they would like to end their membership to see how it is handled.


This is a great program to use when you’d like to see the full lifecycle of a customer. It can give you insight into areas that may need improvement, and may even help tweak your traditional mystery shopping programming, as you could find that what you’re measuring may be fine, but there are areas you haven’t considered in the past that are “falling through the cracks” and need to be addressed.


At any rate, mystery shopping has evolved into a flexible method of covertly evaluating businesses through the eyes of a customer. Utilizing a Plant a Shopper evaluation is just another way to view your service levels.




It’s Just a Snapshot….


That’s exactly what a mystery shopping report is – a snapshot in time. Sometimes, especially when a lower overall percentage comes to you, it’s hard to remember this. Carefully reading the report, talking with the staff, and looking at the big picture is all good advice to remember.


When you receive a report where there were issues, it is a good idea to read through any narrative/comments carefully and pinpoint where things didn’t go as they should. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to have a conversation with the employee and take a look at past reports that involved this particular employee or employees – is this a recurring issue? Are the areas that weren’t done up to standard consistent with this employee?


At any rate, when using mystery shopping reports to pinpoint areas of strength and areas to improve as it relates to the customer experience, using the analytical reporting capabilities of your program is paramount. Looking at the overall numbers, rather than one particular report, will give you the insight you need to determine a call to action.


Not all businesses fully utilize analytical reporting. If you fall into this category, here’s what you may be missing…..


1. Exception analysis: want to see how your locations stack up? Run this report and it will rank your locations from highest overall percentage to lowest. You can choose to do this for a month, quarter, or entire year.


Similarly, if you want to rack locations based on performance on one section of a report, maybe customer service, you can do that as well.


2. Survey summary: this report takes each question on your mystery shopping report and shows you how it was answered over time. Again, you can choose any date range you wish, and then look at the data as a company, just for a particular region or district, or even drill down to one single location.


This is an excellent report to view overall strength and areas for improvement, and lets you see trends for each question of the report.


3. Trending analysis: this report allows you to see performance over a six or 12 month period of time. This is great for viewing progress in your mystery shopping program and can help you determine if the company is reaching its goals for customer service levels.


4. Head to head: If you’re using a mystery shopping program coupled with a feedback survey program, you can use this report to compare questions that are similar on both. For example, if you use the Net Promoter Score rating on both reports, you can easily take a look at how the average customer rates your business compared to a mystery shopper who is trained in making key operational observations.


Keeping focus on the big picture is key when it comes to a successful mystery shopping program. Individual employee performance is important, and the data collected can be used for additional training, performance reviews, and incentives.  It’s a good idea though to remember that it IS just a snapshot in time…