What Message Is Your Mystery Shop Report Sending?


One of the great things about mystery shopping evaluations is the scoring capabilities – at a glance, you can look at a report and tell how well each location is doing, what areas they need to work on, and see which areas need the most improvement.


Scoring of observation points is an excellent way of methodically reviewing performance. Clients have the opportunity to “weight” an aspect of the experience so that the point value more significantly impacts the overall score, or even add bonus points if a specific action is completed by your staff.


When meeting with a potential client recently, I discussed point values for their mystery shopping program as well as the impact it may have, not only on the actual score, but the message it may send to their staff. I got a few raised eyebrows, so I continued to explain.


I first asked them what they considered to be the most important aspects of employee performance. They indicated that employees should provide an excellent experience and gave criteria for this, they need to attempt to upsell every order, and they need to make sure that the condiment station was checked and wiped down every hour.


In looking over the draft report, they wanted to designate a higher point value to behaviors that they considered most important to the customer experience. Excellent idea. However, some of the point distribution options were set up in a way that it may send the wrong idea to their employees. On a typical 5 point per question report, they wanted to set the upsell and condiment station questions to each be worth 20 points. The question regarding employees providing excellent service was worth 10 points.


These three questions alone significantly impacted the overall score on the report. However, because there were more points assigned to the more operational questions than the employee performance question, it may tell staff that getting more in sales is more important than employee performance.
When weighting scores on a mystery shopping report, it’s always best to consider the end result – what message do you want to send to your staff? Mystery shopping is about measuring, monitoring, and shaping behaviors. While it’s great (and can have good impact on your program) to weight observations, it’s key to remember the overall goal for deploying your program, and making sure that the evaluation process, including scoring of questions, aligns with your overall objectives.


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