Kaizen and Mystery Shopping

Using Kaizen To Improve Mystery Shopping Results

Recently, I was listening to a Podcast interviewing Robert Maurer, the author behind the book “One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way.” If you went to business school, or have gone through a number of business books, I’m sure the term has popped up somewhere.

What is the Kaizen Method?

Kaizen is the Japanese word for “Improvement.” It is most notably a management philosophy that has been used in manufacturing. The methods looks at how things are made, rather than the product itself.

The Kaizen method allows employee to have the responsibility to identify any gaps or inefficiencies in the system in place. Although, initially a method used for manufacturing. We can discuss how Kaizen can be used along with Mystery Shopping for better result.

Robert Maurer had discussed how making little – seemingly unimportant changes – will lead to longer lasting result.

You can read more about Kaizen here at Investopedia.

Using Kaizen To Improve Mystery Shopping Results

Mystery Shopping and Improvement

We used mystery shopping to find gaps in the service level provided. The goal is to help employees improve in the providing service to the customer.  And ultimately make the customer happy with great service.

Its rather natural that some employees may feel that this is a hinderance rather than a training tool. It needs to be communicated to employees that the results are just training tools to help them grow and improve.  Yes, in some instances there are penalties for poor service, which is to the discretion of the parent company. Though, these would often serve as an incentive to perform well.

Using Kaizen To Improve Mystery Shopping Results.

Companies can use the Kaizen approach to training along with the results of a mystery shopping program to help employees. Small incremental steps would lead to long lasting growth. Note that changes here would be incremental and we are not talking about innovation.

Here, is an example. A service staff was found to be weak in greeting customers – from a mystery shopping result. Using small incremental growth, we can ask the staff to first smile at the customer in acknowledgment. It may not seem like alot, though it would allow the staff to get comfortable. And next the staff would be asked to say good day/morning/evening/etc. Ultimately asking the staff what is the best way for them to greet a customer.

What is essentially happening here is that each incremental step takes very little effort from the previous. It may seem unimportant. What the staff is doing though, is internalizing the training. Getting comfortable with the situation by continuously improving a small step. This in-turn adds value to the employee. Because it is both person and professional growth.

Also, when asking the staff to think of the best way to greet a customer. The staff would be able to take pride in their work. As who thought of a way to greet the customer.

Using Kaizen To Improve Mystery Shopping Results


Though Kaizen looks towards continuous improvement. It can also be argue that if the approached is followed too strictly, it can hinder innovation.

For companies in sales and retail, however, the Kaizen approach to training could prove a worthy try for long lasting growth.

Could Mystery Shopping Help your company? Contact us today and find out.