Companies are interested in their customers’ impressions of the type and level of service they receive. A customer who is not pleased with the service a company offers may not necessarily tell management about their experience, but they are likely to tell other people they know about it. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool, and one that businesses ignore at their peril.
Not only can a disgruntled customer tell their friends, family members, and coworkers about shoddy service they have received, but they can also post it online. Accounts of a person’s experiences in dealing with companies easily become fodder for discussion forums and blogs. The Internet users reading the information are only receiving part of the story and the company doesn’t have the opportunity to defend itself in any way.
Trying to find new customers is a much more costly proposition for a business than keeping its existing customer base happy, and this is where mystery shoppers come in. Since company employees reflect the tone set by management, the reports filed by mystery shoppers are actually a commentary on management, as opposed to an individual employee’s performance.
As the Baby Boom generation ages, they have more disposable income than previous generations. They are not so much concerned with price than with being well looked after by the businesses they choose to deal with. If a business is going to thrive, it must be responsive to its customers’ needs and make visiting its location pleasant.
Here is where the mystery shopper comes in. This person will visit the business and make a detailed report about how he or she was treated by staff members while there. The evaluation will include the overall impression given by the business, such as whether it is clean and neat, whether staff members wear name tags, and whether their purchase was processed quickly and efficiently. Part of the “shop” does involve the mystery shopper making a purchase. (He or she will be reimbursed for the cost of the item as part of their compensation.)
Once the mystery shopper has made his or her report, then the business owners and managers have a better appreciation for the impression they are giving to customers who walk through their doors. The goal is to make the experience a pleasant one for all customers, and one that will make them want to visit again.