This technique, also known as mystery shopper is widely used by businesses, large brands and companies that have a high degree of direct dealings with customers.
The difference between a “what do you want?” And a “hello good morning, my name is Joseph, what would you like to buy?” Marks in many cases the difference between a trade from which one leaves happy for the treatment received or thinks no is going to return more, the issues that are relevant is what the “mystery customer” tries to detect who simulates their intention to buy or use a service to evaluate it.
“The “mysterious customer” is a marketing tool that allows us to put ourselves in the place of the final consumer and simulate the perceptions produced by the services we offer or the treatment of our staff.”
Generally this service is offered by external consultants to make visits to their establishments and those of the competition. The fundamental characteristics that are measured to determine the quality of a service or sales process are the attention of the sales personnel, the treatment received, the quality of the explanations, the price, etc.
What do brands and companies gain from it?
In a world such as the current one where quality is the order of the day and it is necessary to stand out for good service, companies can not afford failures in customer service, because they affect both the volume of sales and the image of quality of the company.
The mysterious customer service detects failures and gets the necessary information so that the sales or service personnel can improve.
In this sense there are companies that link incentives or training activities and / or recycling to these visits, so that the staff strives and motivates to attend according to the rules of management, because otherwise it will be a “mystery customer” who will find out if he meets them.
Furthermore, when the visits of the “mystery customer” are not limited to the company itself and are also carried out in the competition, the information obtained serves to make comparisons and answer the questions, why is my competitor better? Why do you sell more? Why is it more prestigious than me? What prices and discounts do they handle?
What is evaluated after the visit of the mystery customer?
The measurement that is done is total, if you say good morning or they treat you, the level of quality of the technical explanations and use of the product / service, the price, if they try to close the sale at the moment, the discount they give you or if they give you a ticket / invoice, etc.
Everything that the seller says or does is evaluated according to the sales techniques or the service according to the established quality levels.
A very important aspect when you also make visits to the competition, is the measurement of prices and discounts that serve as a guideline to establish promotions, something that large stores have been doing for decades by the competitive price check system.
How is a mysterious customer service prepared?
The “mysterious visits” are prepared under a specific and specific methodology according to the characteristics of the business of each client. Generally, we have a first interview with the person in charge of the company, in which we suggest the standard aspects to be evaluated (image and treatment of the vendor, explanations, sales efforts, etc.) to which the derivatives of the standards are added. of the company and the additional criteria that are important for the context of the sector.
Later we make a selection of the profiles of “buyers” that we are going to use, to detect the differences of treatment according to the variables gender, age and style.
In this way depending on the clientele for a car dealer buyers would be defined based on the car to buy, a dynamic young man to buy a convertible, a middle-aged gentleman to buy a family Mercedes or a young girl to buy a Citroën C3.
Subsequently the “ghost shoppers” are formed previously in a session, in which they receive precise instructions of everything they should ask and the role they should adopt, specifying the attitudes of the seller or the characteristics of the service in which they should be more fixed.
The visits are usually made one or two days a month with different “buyers” and over a period of several months, because the process is conceived as a learning period, in which monthly reports are issued and correcting the actions of the providers of the service or sellers.
After a few months the results are ideal, the sales process and quality of service are improved, the actions of the employees are adjusted to the company’s standards, the competition is improved and, in definite, the results they are not immediate, in the short term they sell more and better.
What is the profile of the company that makes “mysterious visits”?
Actually, any company, however small, can request the service. Even when there is a lot of trust and diligence on the part of the employees, it is convenient to make the visits because it does not consist in going to “catch”, but in detecting the aspects susceptible of improvement to advance in quality and sales.
However, in the franchises, dealerships and retail networks, especially in the automotive sector is where the most popular use of the mystery customer is.
What does a mysterious client process require?
Above all it requires the involvement of the company’s management, not in time invested, but in willingness to want to do, because the mysterious client can be limited to a service that ends in a final report, but the ideal is to take advantage of the process to put corrective measures, explaining and teaching how to replace the weak points that the visit of the mysterious client has detected.
In addition, a consultancy performance by means of a mysterious client does not have a great cost, if we also look at the fact that each day that passes without putting it into operation is “not selling”, the perception of the cost is considered an investment.
Who can provide a mysterious customer service?
It should be noted that only market research and social research consultants with qualified personnel are qualified to perform this type of actions with due guarantees and under the quality specifications of the international standard CCI / ESOMAR.
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