Mystery Shopping Retail
July 14, 2020

5 Reasons Every Retail Business Needs a Mystery Shopping Program


You have a retail business that relies on your employees selling things to consumers. That’s a pretty big reason to need a Mystery Shopping program on its own. While that should be the end of our article, you probably need more convincing than that. If your business is dependent on sales (either products or services), then those sales are dependent on your customer experience strategy. 


The advantage that great customer service gives a business over its competitors has never been more important. Online retail sales are topping at 20 billion. The edge a ‘bricks and mortar’ store has over its online counterpart is face-to-face customer service. A customer service measurement will enable you to track progress and improve sales. 


Here are just five reasons you need a Mystery Shopping Program for your retail business: 


1. Improvement – While you can monitor your sales to determine which locations aren’t meeting their targets, it takes time and energy.  A good Mystery Shopping program can identify which locations are current or possible problems and provide feedback on how to improve the customer service there. 

As you would measure and maintain a piece of machinery, Mystery Shopping can work as preventative maintenance on customer service. Possible service issues can be uncovered before they affect sales. 


2. Behaviour – The Hawthorne Effect shows us that observation affects behaviour. Sure, you have regional representatives to go around to the locations and check that your standards and core values are being properly reflected on the frontline, but employees change their habits around peers and superiors. A Regional Manager won’t discover that a store employee is encouraging their customers to buy from the competition who may have a larger range or better prices without feedback from customers and Mystery Shoppers.  

A Mystery Shopper can interact with staff anonymously and, therefore, receive genuine service. The authentic interaction between the Mystery Shopper and staff can then be objectively evaluated and compared against other locations with the same criteria. A Mystery Shopping program eliminates variables that skew results. 


3. Consistency is Key – Ideally, if a customer receives excellent service in one of your stores, they should receive the same level of service in your other stores. That is not the reality of retail or any goods and services industry; quality fluctuates. You can probably guess which experience the consumer then mentions on Social Media.

You provide the benchmark, a Mystery Shopping program ensures that benchmark is being met and monitors consistency across locations. 


4. Expectations – A consistent Mystery Shopping program will help you hire, train, and keep in touch with your employees. It provides case studies on what to do and what not to do. The program will both communicate the company’s expectations and assess based on that criteria, making expectations clear and consistently reinforced. 

In addition to a Mystery Shopping program, we also advise clients to implement a Team Member Feedback Survey to monitor the internal understanding of its expectations, and identify the company’s Employee Net Promoter Score, that is, the degree and quality of your employees’ loyalty and ambassadorship.


5. Rewards – Who wouldn’t want a chance to recognise and reward their best team members? Everyone loves to be told they’re doing a great job. A company might initiate any or all of the following as rewards and incentives for top performing employees: an awards night; bonuses for top scoring locations; even a KPI for salaries and commission. These help team morale and further promote the idea of employees as brand ambassadors.

Measuring and monitoring service is the first step to improving service, which leads to increased sales. You need an unbiased, anonymous assessor rather than in-house representatives that will skew the results, and a consistent program so the results can have a multi-layered effect.  


There will always be ups and downs, new competitors, changes in technology, etc., the focus should always be on customer service because that is what drives sales. It’s common sense to make sure your business is doing everything in its power to assess, improve, and benefit from that customer service. 


Take action

Here at Above Benchmark, we make Mystery Shopping simple. We help our clients design their ideal customer service experience. Then we have our professional Mystery Shoppers evaluate their customer service so we can compare it to their benchmark.

We live and breathe customer service and have been designing unique Mystery Shopping programs for almost 2 decades.

If you want to grow your business through better service and experiences, contact us today.

Simply call 1300 400 716 and let us help you achieve above your benchmark.

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