The information that a mystery shopper gathers helps a company to maintain a good public image. Many of them include having mystery shoppers come to visit on a regular basis to ensure that staff are responding to customer needs appropriately. To be fair, staff members should be told that the company does use mystery shoppers to monitor their performance. This should be presented as coaching tool, as opposed to a way to punish employees. Some companies reward all staff members if they score well on a mystery shopper’s evaluation form as a way to encourage them to work well together.
If a customer is less than satisfied with their experience with a particular business, there is a very real possibility that they will not confine their negative comments to just the people in their immediate environment. Social networking sites have become very popular over the past few years, and anyone can post their impressions about a particular company on a blog or a message board at will. Very few people reading their account will stop to consider whether the person making the allegations is providing an accurate account or not. If the story becomes popular on any of the social networking sites, it tends to take on a life of its own and then the original account gets lost as well.
By helping business owners keep a good handle on their staff members’ activities, hopefully issues can be dealt with before they become major concerns that may lead to a damaged reputation and loss of potential revenue. For this reason, it is very important that mystery shoppers have a keen eye and the ability to write accurate reports about their experiences when on a paid shopping trip. Managers can’t possibly be everywhere at once, and the mystery shoppers can provide an unbiased opinion about how well staff are performing.
Some companies who provide mystery shopping services also offer their clients a social media monitoring service. Instead of the client company keeping track of its online reputation on social media sites, message boards, and on blogs, they pay a monthly fee to have a third party gather this information for them and to analyze it in detail.
That way, the company will have a good handle on how it is being perceived and whether it needs to react to what it being said about it online.