How Technology Has Changed Mystery Shopping?
Written by Natalie J Blackthorn
There was once only one real way of mystery shopping, where by a person secretly assesses the shop in which they are buying or being served in for their helpfulness, attitude and service quality. The person physically had to be in front of the staff and although the on-site method is still used in certain fields of industry it is not always the cheapest way of checking your staff for their level of customer service but it is the most thorough.
A team of mystery shoppers are thoroughly briefed about the products and services they are to try and purchase, the question they will need to ask and responses of the staff they would want to hear. This has changed in modern times as small discrete recording and video surveillance equipment can be installed upon the mystery shoppers in question to get the entire picture of what is happening in store as well as prove with which to debrief the staff.
Since the introduction of telephone a massive market has sprung up in mobile phones and video or internet phone and more recently smart phone and tablets. This has revolutionised the way in which we connect with people as well as shop.
Firstly the telephone call, many people who are not internet user and maybe cannot physically got to a shop will often call to enquire and even order whatever they wish to purchase, especially popular in the food industry as well as general service industries calling and speaking to someone is sometime a very efficient way of dealing with a request or complaint. But this would entirely depend upon their staff, which is why many firms choose to check their call centre staff with mystery shoppers.
Online shopping has depersonalised shopping in so many ways but made it more efficient but it is seriously unfriendly and can mean people waiting in for deliveries all day when times are not specified. The online way to shop has spread to all areas of shopping including food, this means someone else physical goes and puts you shopping through the tills for you and you simply pay. This has led to complaints about choices of fresh food especially and the condition in which they arrive as well as times and mistakes but generally has become a very popular way of doing the weekly shop.
As with most things though mystery shopper can be everywhere and would base the entire shopping experience on literally a few minutes on the door step with the delivery man, is he friendly and helpful, on time, well presented and are you happy with your delivery. This is a very brief personal experience to judge an experience on but this is where the internet has become part of the reviewing process. Many firms are now asking customer as they use their website and service to take a few minutes to judge and improve their on-line services too.
There are many ways in which to judge a service and shopping experience in modern times but it has become important to do so as on-line reviews and forums keep a large audience up to date with any bad things happening in your store and you cannot afford to lose a reputation. Mystery shopping reports is a great way to keep your store or firm on the right side of a review.