Basics Of A Mystery Shopping Evaluation

There are different objectives to each Mystery Shopping Program. Although, the most basic is to evaluate the service level of the staff.

All of us are familiar with going to a fashion retail outlet to buy something we need. Or sometimes we just end up browsing and doing some window shopping. As most of us can relate the this type of customer service, let’s break it down to the basics and analyse the Customer Service with this example. Showing us what a typical evaluation looks like.

Mystery Shopping Audit

A Mystery Shopping Audit

1. Greeting the Customer.

The first point of contact is when the staff would greet the customer. This allows for a good first impression. I’m not talking about the whole store yelling out “Welcome!” to every person that enters, making it seem like an endless echo of non-personalized greetings.

We are talking about a proper greeting. How long did it take for a staff to approach you, greet you and offer assistance?

It’s important to do this as fast as possible to allow the customer to know that the staff is aware of their presence and is ready to assist. The longer a customer is left on their own, the higher the chances of them leaving.

2. Identifying Customer’s Needs

One of two things can happen after approaching a customer. Either the customer has something in mind or just wants to browse. Example of a standard question that a staff would ask a customer is “is there anything you are looking for?”

Let’s say that the customer has an idea of what they want. That’s great right? The staff can now ask relevant questions to identify the needs of the customer. This is also where the staff can show a genuine interest in the needs of the customer.

3. Product Knowledge

Now that the staff knows what the customer is looking for, the staff can give recommendations based on that knowledge. Of course, the staff would need to have a good amount of product knowledge to do this.

The staff would need to explain the product features and benefits to the customer. Explaining why the product meets their requirements. Customers would also feel confident in making a decision, knowing that the product meets their needs.

For example, should you buy a pair of running shoes, the staff should be able to tell you why a specific model was more suited to you as compared to another. What the benefits of the product is and why it would benefit you.

Mystery Shopping Audit

4. Objection Handling

As customers, most of us are always thinking twice before making a purchase. The more expensive the purchase, the more hesitant we are, generally speaking. Our apprehension comes from worrying whether we would be making the right decision. Is the product worth the price? The colour isn’t very nice, etc.

The staff need to be able to handle these objections tactfully. A very typical example is when a customer likes the item, however, doesn’t like the colour.  Here the best thing to do is to show an alternative colour. If another colour is not available, show another item.

This gives the staff a good opportunity to up sell. This shows the customer that the staff has their best interest at heart and is trying to look for something that would suit the customer.

5. Closing the Sale.

An attempt at closing the sale is important. Is signals to the customer that the staff is following through with the recommended choice for the customer. Of course, this needs to be done tactfully as well, as the staff can not be too pushy.

The staff can also offer to place the items on hold if the customer is not sure, offer to call to the customer back, invite the customer to visit the brand’s website etc. This in turn makes a lasting last impression on the customer, allowing them to feel comfortable to return should they change their minds.


Bonus: it is also important to think about ways to make a customer become a regular. This can be done by building rapport, understanding the needs of the customer etc. You can read more on How to Gain Regular Customers.