How frequently should I run a mystery shopping program?
When a business owner is considering a mystery shopping program, a logical question to be asked is how frequently should I run a mystery shopping program? For every business the answer is different. There is no ‘’one size fits all’’ answer to this question. The answer is very company-specific and depends on the industry and company size.
How frequently you should run a mystery shopping program depends on several aspects, for example, on your goals. Mystery shopping can be used to find answers to questions. It can help solve problems but also improve the culture within the company. Before bringing mystery shoppers to your front line you should know why you need them and which problems you want to solve. There are several reasons to start a mystery shopping program:
- Are there specific problems you are trying to identify?
- Are you using mystery shopping as a reward/incentive for your employees performance?
- If you are using is as a reward/incentive, should you give everyone the same chance to be shopped, or will you reward the team as a whole?
- Do you want to check the performance of your front line?
- Do you want to improve the culture within your company?
Businesses with specific operating hours need a specific mystery shopping program. A business which is operating 24 hours a day has different crews. The performance of the morning crew can differ from the night crew. The night crew might be very helpful whereas the morning crew might be irritated and rude towards customers. To create a clear picture of your customer’s experience, you want to know which crew is performing the best and which crew performs below organizational standards and needs improvement. Each crew needs to be mystery shopped to create this picture. Companies can only gain specific information regarding their business through specific (custom) mystery shopping programs. The information gained would be specific to each business’ needs.
How quickly can you act?
After running a mystery shopping program, gathered data will be analysed. Information about the front line needs to be reviewed. After reviewing the reports, the company can use the results to improve their business. This costs time but it needs to be done for maximum benefit. Running a mystery shopping program frequently adds value to your company, only when the findings are acted on Without acting directly on the previous program, the next program can’t bring your business a lot of new insights about your company and front line.
The results from a mystery shopping program can lead to company growth. It can solve problems and improve the culture within your company, but, as most things do, mystery shopping programs costs money. How frequently the program should be performed depends on the company and its business, but also on the budget. The more extensive a program you are looking to conduct, the more money may have to be invested. For a lot of businesses it can lead to a great return of investment caused by the potential company growth.
So, how frequently should I run a mystery shopping program?
How often your company should run a mystery shopping program depends on your goals. What do you want to improve, or which problems do you want to solve and what are your operating hours? For every kind of business a different program is recommended. One company may need more mystery shops than the other and this depends also on your budget. A mystery shopping program costs money and every company has its own budget. Luckily, most of the time, the program can lead to company growth or other benefits within your company, which makes running a mystery shopping program worth its investment.
Maarten Brouwer is doing an internship at AQ Services International in Kuala Lumpur. He studies Marketing Management at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, The Netherlands. The choice to do an internship in Kuala Lumpur fits the personal interest in different cultures.