Mystery Shopping Overview
Mystery shopping is a process that is typically used by market research companies to measure the quality of retail customer service provided by company employees. Mystery shopping companies send “secret shoppers” into the facility to interact with the business and its employees, posing as normal customers.
Then, the shopper prepares and submits a detailed report on their experience. The mystery shoppers are usually paid for their work and they are reimbursed for their purchases.
An Example of Mystery Shopping
For example, a movie theater might want to test the service provided by their managers, ticket sales agents, concessions, and ushers. The individuals would visit the movie theater, buy tickets, buy concession items, and watch the entire movie.
Later, they would complete a detailed report of everything they saw, including the parking lot, the physical building, the lobby, the men’s and women’s restroom, the ticket booth, concession stand, the hallways, the theater, seats, screen, lighting, and more. The cost of the mystery shopping agent’s movie tickets, popcorn, drinks, and parking costs would be reimbursed.
Businesses use the information from such reports to identify security issues, building maintenance concerns, employee behavioral issues, food quality, product presentation and delivery, environmental conditions, and much more.
This type of “covert investigation” is also be used for the management of the quality and performance of goods and services. Instructions to mystery shoppers can include a script of behavior, questions to ask, complaints to give, purchases to make, and measures to record, such as the time it takes to receive attention from an employee or receive a service, or the responses given to questions.
Private detectives sometimes provide such services to their clients, especially those who work in loss prevention.
Mystery shopping is also known as Mystery consumer, Buyers, Secret Clients, Secret Shopping, Experience Evaluation, Mystery Customers, Anonymous Audits, Employee Evaluations, Performance Audits, fulfillment assessment, Telephone evaluation.
For more information on mystery shopping, visit the following websites:
- Mystery Shopping Providers Association – This association provides secret shopping directories. A one-stop source of information on finding secretive shopper services.
- The Mystery Shopper’s Manual – Enter your name and email to get a free email course on secretive shopper services. Your email address will not be shared with anyone. Ever.
- Secrectshopper.com – Covert shopping programs that provide accurate feedback and insightful information to business owners. A leading clandestine shopper company for many years.
- Coyle Hospitality – Providing legitimate mystery shopping services for upscale hotels, spas, and restaurants worldwide, Coyle Hospitality Group sets the standard for mystery.
- Shoppers’ Critique – Shoppers’ Critique is unlike any other shopping company. We have years of experience providing high-quality, highly credible, and insightful information.
Fraudulent Offers, Scams, and Schemes
Beware of offers received via email on this topic. Some scammers use offers for jobs in this field to lure unsuspecting individuals to give up their bank account information. If you’re interested in pursuing a job in this area, visit one of the websites above. Don’t respond to emails that you receive unless they are from one of the sites you signed up for.
See our article on Fraud, Scams, and Schemes to learn how to protect yourself.