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Hiring a Mystery Shopper

What is a Mystery Shopper

Every company should be using mystery shoppers in some way or another, but in reality it is usually not even remotely close to the minimum number required to provide a meaningful evaluation of their company. Mystery shopping has become much more professionalized in recent years, and many of the mystery shoppers’ observations are shared with a group of hired employees to help them be more effective in their work. Additionally, most legitimate business organizations have signed up for an ethical research companies research agreement, which makes any results available to all parties involved.

For mystery shoppers, the work may take them from one place to another, depending on their client’s needs. One common reason mystery shoppers may want to visit a business is to observe and assess the culture of the company. For example, a cultural study would entail an in-depth, qualitative survey of the environment at a company’s facilities and some personal interviews with a mystery shopper about the impressions she or he has experienced. Some companies also prefer to make use of a highly organized questionnaire based on the research methodologies of the fieldworker’s company, so that the results are analyzed by a panel of professionals.

Observational techniques of a Mystery Shopper

Before entering the mystery shopper’s presence, companies have been trained in observation techniques and survey design to ensure that the result of their visits can be used to identify problems. Most professional mystery shopping companies offer in-house training in this area. Once the mystery shopper completes their primary assignment, the research company will release the result of their observations to a corporate team that has been trained to use the information to improve their products and services.

If they are able to find good customer service, a high level of productivity, and excellent results, then they can also provide useful feedback to management. If the employer is already aware of the need for change, the research company can provide recommendations to make things better for both employees and customers. In many cases, a job candidate or potential employee has shown interest in taking on a company role, but their communication skills and interpersonal skills are not up to par.

Other type of mystery shopping may be based on observational techniques. For example, a corporate manager may decide to put together a mystery tour for employees to see what their job is like before they decide if they would like to accept the position. They can learn about how the business works by going through the tour and collecting relevant data, which is then used to assess what each person sees when they go through the office.

Quantitative Evaluation

Although mystery shopping is based on observation techniques, there are also other methods that companies use to collect data, including questionnaires and other types of qualitative research methods. However, because it is a more quantitative evaluation, a question often comes up as to whether the work that mystery shoppers do is really scientific. A reputable survey research company will only release data to qualified clients, allowing for maximum transparency, which results in significant benefit to both the client and the mystery shopper.

Some companies such as Service Integrity, that have been taking advantage of the advancements in the field of research methods have also signed up to the Professional Standards and Ethics Agreement, which are designed to ensure that the results of the mystery shopper’s observations are not misleading or biased in any way. The agreement ensures that the client has the opportunity to make any changes that they want to the survey’s results. Of course, the employer will still have the final say on whether or not the findings and recommendations are actually in line with the company’s standards.

Both the client and the mystery shopper have agreed to follow the terms of the agreement so that they can both feel comfortable with it. Companies should consider using mystery shoppers in some way or another for a variety of reasons, but mystery shopping is probably not an option that should be first on the list. Hiring a professional mystery shopper can help improve a company’s workforce while providing the best possible return on investment.