What is Mystery Shopping?

The Market Research Society (MRS) defines mystery shopping as: ‘The use of individuals trained to experience and measure any customer service process, by acting as potential customers and in some way reporting back on their experiences in a detailed and objective way.’ In simple terms, Mystery Shopping helps companies understand what their average customers are experiencing. It is a long-established research technique and is used extensively in many industry sectors to measure the quality of service provided.

With our Mystery Shopping customer satisfaction report:

* You see your business the way your customer does.

* What staff behavior should be acknowledged or rewarded.

* What parts of your sales or customer service journey can be improved.

* Target training to areas that are most needed.

* Testing if employees treat all people in the same way, or testing against discrimination

Our Mystery Shopping Services


1What types of organisations and businesses can it work for?
People normally imagine hospitality, supermarkets, fashion and other retail shops, but Mystery Shopping is also used by professional and business to business service providers, for travel and transport operators; local authority services; education providers; optical care; tourism; automotive sales and service; property sales; elder care, events, experiences and attractions.
2What can mystery shopping do for my business?
• You see your business the way your customer does. • Link incentives to front line performance • Expose training and operational weaknesses • What staff behaviour should be acknowledged or rewarded. • Increase accountability for customer service throughout the organization
3Are there different types, styles and approaches to mystery shopping?
Merging Borders Mystery Shopping offers: 1) Face-to Face/ Video recording Mystery Shopping: Face-to-face mystery shopping is good for businesses where a shopper can present himself as a potential customer without causing any suspicion. By recording, we get the actual words spoken by the adviser plus the tone and emphasis with which they are said. This can be very useful for quality assurance purposes. 2) Online Mystery Shopping: Online mystery shopping are conducted by a shopper who assesses how responsive a company is online, how easy their website is to navigate or how they interact with customers on social media. Internet mystery shops can be valuable and informative for any business with an online presence. 3) Phone Mystery Shopping: Phone mystery shopping are most common in call centre environments or in industries that interact with customers primarily over the phone - where the telephone is an integral part of the customer experience. They are typically conducted by single shoppers who call the business to evaluate the level of service and detail they receive over the phone. We try to focus on the issues that have the highest impact on customer satisfaction. Questions are carefully worded in order to be clear, but not overly restrictive. We include “scoring questions” where appropriate in addition to “yes or no” questions, and we invite commentary where it’s needed. We work closely with clients and welcome their ideas and suggestions, and we’re totally open with them about which areas of their organisation are reported on and how.
4What sort of people actually do the visits and reports?
Our Shoppers come from all walks of life, with a wide range of ages, income levels and interests. We seek this variety so that we can send the most suitable people on the right assignments. What they all have in common, and need to demonstrate at the outset, are the key attributes of keen attention to detail, memory, reliability, and strong communication skills.
5How do they know what they should report on?
We work with clients to ensure that when a site is visited, the Mystery Shopper is going to be observing and reporting on the right things. Before the shopper attends any assignment, whey will have read a clear and comprehensive brief, and a questionnaire that they will be required to complete after the visit. Shoppers are also given support, coaching and feedback on an ongoing basis, and for any particular assignments when it’s required.
6What checks are there to make sure the reports are truthful?
Jobs are only assigned to shoppers once they have passed our strict selection and training process. We make our requirements for accuracy and above all honesty, clear during the initial training process. Reports require very clear and detailed information, usually including precise visit times and staff names or descriptions. Each and every report is double checked for quality and consistency by the in house scheduler. If any claims within a report appear to be contradictory or inconsistent, these issues will be investigated. If we were not totally confident in the information that we had been given, we’d arrange for a “shop” to take place again (of course at no cost to the client). If a member of staff at a client organisation disputes any claim made by a shopper, then we work with the client to establish the truth. Where this is not practical, we will offer to have the visit repeated. In reality, there are multiple levels of quality control that prevent problems such as this, the first one being the recruitment of reliable, diligent and honest Mystery Shoppers.
7How soon after visits are reports available to see?
We make reports available to clients within a maximum of 3 working days from the visit taking place.
8What about confidentiality for my business?
The requirement for total confidentiality regarding all client assignments is contained within a legally binding the agreement when shoppers first register with us, along with the need to attend to any accepted assignments on time, the need to remain discreet and “under cover” during assignments, and the need to not accept assignments where there is any direct or family connection to the organisation in question. Any breach of any of these rules would result in immediate termination and removal from our shopper database.
9Why should we use and trust you?
We are competent, and we care. We respect your time. We’re very helpful, and resourceful. We’re focused on producing real measurable results for you in the shortest time possible. Merging Company, the mother company of Mystery Shopping has a solid track record of providing high quality B2B consultancy services. We’re also determined to ensure that a decision to work with us is a true depiction of excellence as our work ethic.
10We already have a high standard of customer service. How could mystery shopping improve our business?
All of our clients strive to provide great customer service. Mystery shopping provides feedback on the level of service you provide - as seen by the customer. We can help you objectively measure your level of customer service, reward star performers and provide targeted staff training.

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