You own or manage a business. Its mainstay is regular interaction with customers. Providing customers with the best possible service ensures that they will remain customers – and continue to bring money into your business.
How do you assure yourself that your employees are providing the kind of customer service you know is essential to your business’ survival?
A mystery shopper could be the answer.
A mystery shopper is an undercover operative who goes into your business posing as an ordinary customer, in order to assess the type of service your employees are providing.
Our team of undercover agents at John A. DeMarr PI is uniquely suited to this aspect of a private investigator’s work. They possess not only the training of a private investigator, but are also proficient in the acting side of undercover work. We have male and female operatives of all ages and every description, who can pose as shoppers from all walks of life. Our team is used to all types of undercover operations, and can assume mystery shopper roles with a proficiency that will keep their real identities a secret while they are on assignment.
The Mystery Shopper Operative
What a mystery shopper does isn’t all that mysterious. He or she (the shopper’s gender is matched to the business’ clientele) goes to the place of business, just as any real customer would. The mystery shopper then interacts with the sales staff in order to determine the level of customer service being provided.
When necessary, the mystery shopper can return to the business, now in the role of a repeat customer – allowing you to evaluate how established good customers are treated. We can also send a second (or even a third) agent to the business, to form an even more complete picture of your customer service.
Difficulty of Obtaining Fully Objective Feedback
The reality in most businesses is that a dissatisfied customer doesn’t bother making a complaint to someone in authority. He or she simply doesn’t come back for another sale. There is no way to track customer situations like this: although there are ways of calculating the number of customers who do not return, there’s no way to know why they are no longer doing business with you.
You have a managerial team, one of whose jobs is evaluating employee performance. Although supervisors and managers can report on specific problems, they cannot provide a fully unbiased picture of your business’ customer service methods. (Your management team also has a vested interest in their reports, which, therefore, may not be completely accurate.)
We live in an age in which customer feedback is often aggressively sought through online surveys. When people do offer feedback, the reality is that the feedback is far more likely to be negative. Satisfied customers show their satisfaction by returning, meaning that the information online surveys garner often fails to offer a positive portrait of your sales staff, even when they deserve praise.
Although we live in a world of technology, we at John A. DeMarr PI still believe that some things can only be done by a real-life private detective. A human mystery shopper can assess your employees to a degree that is impossible using other methods. How else can you determine whether your employee smiled at the customer? Made eye contact? Was uniformly polite? Evidenced the formality or familiarity appropriate to your type of business? Displayed the right degree of visible eagerness when assisting the customer? Said “thank you” after completing the sale?
These are all intangibles that cannot be measured – and they are what make new customers into repeat customers.
Only a mystery shopper can assess intangibles.
Other Mystery Shopper Applications
Although the above may seem to be intended exclusively for retail establishments with constant face-to-face customer interactions, the mystery shopper is useful for almost every kind of business. We have sent agents to pose as clients at real estate agencies, at law firms…and, once, even at a dentists’ office.
The mystery shopper interaction needn’t even be face-to-face: if your business interacts with clients by telephone, we can have an operative “shop” that way. There is scarcely a business model that cannot benefit from a mystery shopper investigation.
A further application of mystery shopper operatives is as part of our trademark protection investigations. Sending a “customer” to buy a knock-off can provide some of the best evidence when a trademark infringement case comes to court. In fact, there are times when the undercover shopper’s testimony is the key to winning a trademark infringement law suit.
If you would like to have a mystery shopper visit your business, or if you have any questions regarding our services, please call us at 833-433-6277 for a free consultation and quote. You may also contact us by using the convenient email form below.
Mystery Shopper – Free Consultation
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