Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our Best Training Tool...Video Mystery Shops

Our video mystery shops are one of our most effective training tools for your business team to utilize. Video shops will give you the opportunity to view the interactions between sales associates and clients through the client's perspective. Our shoppers will be wearing well-concealed state of the art equipment while offering your staff members every opportunity to provide professional service. Video shops allow you to obtain important feedback and advise your business team as necessary. The goal is for Instant-Replays to help you increase sales and customer satisfaction by providing feedback that matters. 

Visit the services page of the Instant-Replays website for video shop demonstrations:http://www.instant-replays.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=54

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mystery Shopping Beneficial to Property Management

     It is difficult to make improvements to the customer service provided by your property managers and leasing agents without knowing where improvements are needed. Whether intentional or not, people behave differently when the boss is watching so getting an accurate picture can be a problem. Mystery shops provide a way for you to get the needed information.

     The trick to using mystery shops successfully is to use them to develop and offer training to make improvements. Mystery shops have a bad reputation as a tool used to catch employees doing something wrong, or worse, as a tool to fire them. That’s not the best use of the service. When you compare the cost of employee turnover to the cost of additional training you can quickly see the value in this approach.

     There are many companies that provide this service. The best choice is one that has experience in serving the property management industry. Instant-Replays is a nationally recognized mystery shopping company that has worked with a wide array of industries including home builders and property management.
You will have options in the type of shop or shops that you want performed. The most commonly performed types are:
  • Onsite shop – This involves an on-site visit to your location that is usually preceded by a telephone shop. An in-depth evaluation is written by the shopper.
  • Recorded telephone shop – The shopper calls, participates in and records the call to your office.
  • Internet shop – The shopper completes the online form on your site and tracks the response by your leasing professional.
  • Video shop – The shopper carries a hidden camera and records the leasing professional’s performance. It offers the best view of the job done as well allowing you to see the property through their eyes. It also gives you the opportunity to show the employee their performance.
When used correctly, mystery shops can be a tool for recognizing excellence, improving performance and helping your property managers and leasing agents provide outstanding customer service.  When introducing mystery shopping to your employees your mindset is important. If you view it as a positive training tool it will go a long way towards influencing their view. Help them to see it as a way to increase closings, retain tenants and create a better team and everyone will benefit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

4 Tips To Increase Sales

     Ecommerce merchants frequently reach out to new and existing customers. Whether they use methods such as email, paid search, search engine optimization or banner ads, the goal is always the same: to drive qualified traffic back to their sites. Unlike brick and mortar stores, however, there is not always an opportunity to hear valuable feedback from these visitors and customers. Implementing a simple survey — powered by email — is an effective way to not only gain valuable feedback but to also garnish relationships and entice repeat purchases. Below are four tips on how and when to combine surveys and email.

1. The Purchase Follow-up

Merchants should have a transactional email program in place to communicate information about a purchase. Including a follow-up survey as part of that program is essential. Ask questions to help you improve your product, service or overall purchasing experience. Offer a discount towards the customer's next purchase as a reward for taking the survey. You’ll likely hear of any customer service glitches — from customers with problem orders. It will also help ensure a long-lasting relationship, which should spur future orders and referrals.

2. The Lapsed Customer Inquiry

Virtually all merchants have customers who have lapsed and have not purchased products in a long time. Determine who makes up this group — are they customers that may return in the future or a one-time purchaser who is not likely to return? Sending a survey to gauge the behavior of this group will not only help you market better, but will allow you to trim your file. If you have a more advanced email program, surveying customers to find out their email preferences is also a great way to segment your file.

3. The Lead Generation Survey

Depending on the product or service you sell, sometimes it takes a phone conversation to convert consumers who are undecided. Design a survey to isolate those who need more help with their purchase. This will reduce phone calls and allow you to pinpoint the responsive and ready-to-purchase customers. This survey can be a simple one or two question poll that could be automatically triggered during shopping cart abandonment — or perhaps a browsing abandonment.

4. The 'Next Big Thing' Survey

Determining the product needs of a customer base is among the valuable information a retailer can obtain. In the pre-iPod days, for example, I conducted a study on high school students, asking them to describe a product that they would be willing to purchase in the near future. The response was overwhelming: a music device similar to a CD player, with the ability to hold more music. Shortly after the survey, MP3 players hit the market. I witnessed the power that consumer demands have on the future of products and technology. By emailing out a survey every few months to your customers, you’ll get a better idea of their future demands and how you can be ready to meet them. You may not invent the next iPod, but you’ll better serve your customers.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Company Leaders Going Undercover

Mystery shopping is heading in a new direction as company leaders don disguises and assume false names to get the inside story on their brand from staff on the shopfloor.
Getting a chief executive to operate a till or make tea for staff might seem like a bit of fun, but having senior management experience their own brands on the frontline is a serious business strategy.
This mystery shopping approach has been made famous by Channel 4 TV series Undercover Boss. Senior executives spend two weeks working with frontline staff, doing everything from making burgers to stacking shelves, often finding out startling facts about their own companies.
Going undercover on the Channel 4 show made Vanessa Gold, the deputy managing director of Ann Summers, realise how much her staff knew about what the shop sells. After spending time on the shopfloor serving customers, Gold recognised just how valuable her staff members were.
She explains: “You can pay a lot of money for customer insight and we had it relatively free, on our doorstep.”
Apart from potentially saving costs on research, the time spent in store enabled Gold to understand how shop staff can feed into what the brand does at the top level. She says: “There is a very close relationship between our store teams and our customers. But we were failing to tap into what our teams know and using that information in some of our decision-making.” (See Q&A, below)
Using staff knowledge is also something that Brian Scudamore, chief executive of Vancouver-based waste disposal firm 1-800-Got-Junk, says he will do more of, having appeared on the Canadian version of Undercover Boss last month.
He explains: “One opportunity we saw was the potential to grow this business outside of urban centres. I realised that the small towns have junk too.
“One of the franchisees I visited was in a very rural market and he was driving up to 700km a day to pick up rubbish from houses, but he still found a way to make that model work.”
Scudamore also identified the company’s star performers during the show. Big rewards have been handed out to help keep hard-working staff motivated, with one truck team member being rewarded with a flight to Las Vegas for the company’s annual conference and entry into a poker tournament.
If you are not out there on the shopfloor, you can’t understand the customers
“He loves to play poker and had never been on a plane,” says Scudamore. “It is about taking the learnings from the show and recognising people who go above and beyond.”
Nikki King, who also appeared on Undercover Boss, has introduced management training for staff at Isuzu Truck UK as a result (see Case Study, below).
Identifying people for promotion is something that Martyn Birks, marketing director at discounter Poundworld, says he will do following his appearance on the Channel 4 show.
After gaining an understanding of what it is like for shop staff to work for the company, Birks introduced a programme to refurbish staff break rooms and canteens. He adds that he now spends more time meeting shoppers. “If you are not out there on the shopfloor, you can’t understand the customers,” he says.
The company has also changed its policy of docking wages when tills at its 170 shops do not balance up and when staff members are late.
But going back to the floor does not always have to be done in secret or undercover to reap benefits. Travel company TUI’s senior staff visit shops throughout the year, and the business now runs an annual scheme where 200 managers work in a Thomson or First Choice shop on the third Saturday in January, which is traditionally the busiest day of the year.
The benefits of doing this include getting direct feedback from customers and staff, and discovering why customers might go into a store rather than booking online, explains Nick Longman, distribution director at TUI.
This year’s back-to-the-floor day was Longman’s fifth, and he was struck by how hard the staff work to sell holidays in the economic downturn and the fact that they need as much information about the destination as possible.
“What really hit home to me was if we are going to sell holidays, we need to know a lot about those holidays; we really need our people to be experts in the products that we sell.”
As a result of this insight, TUI will increase the number of overseas familiarisation trips it sends staff on this year.
This year’s back-to-the-floor day has also shown how much customers want to interact with a person rather than a website. Longman makes sure he talks to the retail director once he’s back at head office to make sure the time spent in the travel agent isn’t wasted.
He says: “It’s all well and good everyone going back to have a nice chat with staff but unless it leads to action, you have lost part of the benefit of doing it.”
After all, it is customers who have the money to make brands grow and, as 1-800-Got-Junk’s Scudamore points out, it can be easy to forget the value of mystery shopping. “Sometimes you get caught in building a business and forget just why you are doing this. There are about 100 people in my head office, all working and busy, and it is easy to forget why we are here.
“I recommend other chief executives do it as a form of connecting with the reason they are in business.”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Telephone Mystery Shopping At Work

Employees and supervisors can hear the tone of the conversations

Lake Sunapee Bank ($670 million, Newport, New Hampshire) has taken its existing mystery shopping program up a notch, says Angie Deschenes, VP/Retail Banking.
“We’ve done in-person and telephone mystery shops for years, but new technology recently became available so that we could conduct recorded telephone mystery shops.”
The recorded mystery shops have allowed the bank to take a candid look at how employees sound on the phone.

Recordings help staff hear how they can improve

The bank’s recorded telephone shopping program began about two months ago in an effort to boost the usefulness of every shop.
“In some cases we had a discrepancy of how the shop went between the shopper and the employee,” she says.
Plus, the recorded mystery shops help employees judge their own performance.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to know how you sound on the phone,” says Deschenes.
“Maybe you need to be more energetic or sound more confident. The recorded mystery shop allows us to closely examine how we sound and learn from the shop.”
She says the bank contracts with Customer Perspectives (Hooksett, New Hampshire) for a certain number of shops per branch per year.
“I don’t know when the shops will occur, but we receive an e-mailed report from Customer Perspectives with details of the shop and each recorded phone conversation.”
Prior to launching the recorded phone mystery shops, the bank explained to employees why it was introducing this technology and then got each employee’s permission.
“Everyone signed a waiver. We explained that we would not share their shop with others and that it would be a one-on-one educational experience with their own supervisor.
“We wanted the employees to know that this would be strictly for training and reflection purposes and to help them deliver the best customer service possible.”
A typical waiver signed by employees is shown on the following page.

Recorded shops also help bank evaluate shoppers

Deschenes says another benefit of the recorded shops is that she can evaluate the techniques used by the vendor’s mystery shopper.
“I can determine if the shopper is savvy and understands financial products,” she says. “Knowing this allows me to request the same shopper to return.”
She adds that the recordings also provide an opportunity to review the shopper’s initial pitch.
“If I see that one shopper seems to be delivering the same scenario over and over again we can identify it and change that.”
Once she has reviewed a shop she forwards the conversation to the shopped employee’s supervisor.
“The supervisor reviews the shop and then schedules a one-on-one meeting with the employee to review the shop together.
“We’ve found that people are uncomfortable hearing their own voice but once they get past the initial shock, the employee has the opportunity to self critique.
“During the one-on-one meeting, the supervisor might ask the employee what he or she liked or didn’t like about the shop,” says Deschenes.
“We want the employee to be the one to critique and then the supervisor can help with any changes or solutions.”


Monday, February 20, 2012

Sales Increase With Surveys

Everyone talks a good game about trying to satisfy customers, but few business owners actually check whether they're hitting the mark.
There's a simple solution to that, of course. Start asking.
When conducted thoughtfully, and with appropriate follow-up, customer surveys can be your single most effective tool for growing sales and turning prospects and one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers.
Perhaps you already know this and have done some surveying. If you aren't getting enough good feedback to make evaluations, you still need help.
See these tips below on how to produce meaningful customer surveys and then leverage the results to improve your business.

Why survey customers?
Most of the time, when customers become dissatisfied, they don't stick around long enough to complain. They vote with their feet and disappear. But if you learn something's going wrong and, better yet, can correct it, you have a chance to retain and improve the satisfaction level of a customer. More importantly, you can make sure the same mistake isn't repeated.
A recent analysis by Fred Reichheld, a Bain & Co. consultant and author of Loyalty Rules, found that even a 5% increase in customer retention rates results in a 25% to 95% increase in profits (depending on the business). It definitely pays off to keep customers happy enough to return.
The many other reasons to conduct satisfaction surveys, according to Jeff Miller, director of client relations at Kohn Communications, a Los Angeles executive coaching firm, include:
  • Your customers get an opportunity to think and talk about what you do for them, which underscores and articulates your value.
  • Small annoyances are aired and don't snowball into the kinds of problems that erode relationships.
  • You get a chance to identify your competitive differences and strengths in the marketplace.
  • Compared to other marketing efforts, such as parties, gifts, lunches and the like, customer surveys are extremely cost-effective and efficient.
Here are three steps to create effective customer surveys...

1. Choose the right timing for surveys. Do your homework here. Consid er how often your customers use your products and gauge your surveys accordingly. Restaurants, for example, often have comment cards at their tables or included with the bill. But let's say you run an event-planning business. Most clients will hire you once or twice a year or even every few years. So a monthly survey or a weekly e-mailed customer satisfaction form makes little sense. Instead, you want to tap your client's reactions directly after each event, and perhaps follow up six months later to reinforce the impression and keep the relationship active. In that case, you might include postage-paid survey postcards with the materials you give clients for events.

2. Ask the right questions. This is crucial. Take some time to think through the wording and goals of your survey. "Give customers open-ended questions," says Briana Marrah, senior account manager at Parker LePla, a Seattle marketing company." Ask questions that help you identify what customers value about you." Mike Avino did just that when he decided to mail surveys to prospects and clients as a marketing strategy. Avino owns a construction company in Long Island, N.Y., with about 15 employees and more than $4 million in annual revenues. He once did most of his business for the federal government, but in 2003 that dried up. So he decided to send out a questionnaire to try to drum up new clients. After doing research online, Avino sent a 20-item questionnaire, along with a self-addressed stamped reply envelope, to the top 25 architects in Long Island. He asked them to identify the greatest challenges about working with contractors, what problems architects most often encountered with contractors, what they liked and didn't like about construction companies, and more.He netted five responses. He followed those up with phone calls and, eventually, one-to-one meetings and lunches. Next, Avino expanded his list to a few hundred top architects in the New York metro area and, most recently, to a regional mailing for 600."We keep a database of potential clients in both Microsoft Access and Excel," he says. "We've used Publisher to create follow-on postcards. We also used Publisher to design our logo, letterhead, biz cards and brochure." Avino says he's consistently getting a 15% to 20% response. And it's very positive. "We're getting some really good info from our questionnaires and it's been a boon to marketing." Plus, he's landed a contract to pave roads in a local condominium community.

3. Plan the right follow-up. There's no point in mounting a survey if you don't follow through. Whether your survey was done via phone, e-mail or surface mail, you should call and personally thank each customer who responded. "Tell them how much you appreciate their efforts and time," says Kohn Communications' Miller. "Make sure you also tell them that you've heard their concerns and are making changes." And be prepared for results you may least expect. For example, Miller tells about an accountant who specialized in serving manufacturing companies. The accountant particularly prided himself on being knowledgeable about the industry and up-to-speed about his clients' problems and challenges. Yet results from a survey he sent out said otherwise. Clients loved him personally, but a whopping 90% thought he wasn't as knowledgeable as he should be about their business." And that question wasn't even on the survey," Miller says." Clients had to write it in." What was the upshot? The accountant joined a high-profile trade organization and began regularly showing up at events. He registered for a few industry seminars and classes. He also wrote some articles and got those published in trade journals that his clients read and respected. Soon enough, his survey feedback was terrific. Many owners avoid surveys because they worry it will turn up bad news. But if you get bad survey results, the good news is that you usually have something tangible that you can fix. If you keep losing customers, however, you'll eventually go out of business altogether.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

10 Steps to Perfect Customer Service

1.                  Know who is boss. You are in business to service customer needs, and you can only do that if you know what it is your customers want. When you truly listen to your customers, they let you know what they want and how you can provide good service. Never forget that the customer pays our salary and makes your job possible.
2.                  Be a good listener. Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the customer is really saying. Listen to their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they feel. Beware of making assumptions - thinking you intuitively know what the customer wants. Do you know what three things are most important to your customer? Effective listening and undivided attention are particularly important on the show floor where there is a great danger of preoccupation - looking around to see to whom else we could be selling to.
3.                  Identify and anticipate needs. Customers don't buy products or services. They buy good feelings and solutions to problems. Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are aware of problems or upcoming needs.
4.                  Make customers feel important and appreciated. Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways to compliment them, but be sincere. People value sincerity. It creates good feeling and trust. Think about ways to generate good feelings about doing business with you. Customers are very sensitive and know whether or not you really care about them. Thank them every time you get a chance. On the show floor be sure that your body language conveys sincerity. Your words and actions should be congruent.
5.                  Help customers understand your systems. Your organization may have the world's best systems for getting things done, but if customers don't understand them, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain how your systems work and how they simplify transactions. Be careful that your systems don't reduce the human element of your organization.
6.                  Appreciate the power of "Yes". Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards. Look for ways to make doing business with you easy. Always do what you say you are going to do.
7.                  Know how to apologize. When something goes wrong, apologize. It's easy and customers like it. The customer may not always be right, but the customer must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers know what you have done. Make it simple for customers to complain. Value their complaints. As much as we dislike it, it gives us an opportunity to improve. Even if customers are having a bad day, go out of your way to make them feel comfortable.
8.                  Give more than expected. Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to elevate yourself above the competition. Consider the following:
·                               What can you give customers that they cannot get elsewhere?
·                               What can you do to follow-up and thank people even when they don't buy?
·                               What can you give customers that is totally unexpected?
9.                  Get regular feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how you could improve. There are several ways in which you can find out what customers think and feel about your services.
·                               Listen carefully to what they say.
·                               Check back regularly to see how things are going.
·                               Provide a method that invites constructive criticism, comments and suggestions.
10.              Treat employees well. Employees are your internal customers and need a regular dose of appreciation. Thank them and find ways to let them know how important they are. Treat your employees with respect and chances are they will have a higher regard for customers. Appreciation stems from the top. Treating customers and employees well is equally important.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Quick Stats About Mystery Shopping

According to Nation's Restaurant News, 70 percent to 80 percent of fast-food restaurants employ mystery shoppers. McDonald's has employed mystery shoppers since 2002, and 13,600 U.S. locations employ mystery shoppers to make one visit per month, per store. In exchange for a free meal, mystery shoppers take note of the front counter and drive-through, the speed of service, the accuracy of the order, and the cleanliness of the restaurant. They evaluate three menu items (a sandwich, fries and a drink) and the friendliness of the staff. When the shoppers get home, they fill out online reports and e-mail them to the companies.

Statistics have shown that as much as 90% of customers who are unhappy will not say anything directly to the service but default immediately to competition. Repeat business is perhaps one of the most important aspects to a thriving company and therefore mystery shopping helps to examine this.

A US government study shows that consumer research shows that one unhappy customer will tell 8-10 people of their bad experience.  Each of those 10 people, statistics show, will tell 5 more customers about the original bad experience. This means that 60 potential customers are actively turned away when one customer is not cared for by your employees.

Additionally after price the greatest factor between competitors is customer service. Mystery shopping helps monitor that service. Statistically speaking 69% of customers will leave a business due to poor customer service. Therefore, customer service is an incredibly important factor for businesses to measure.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Why is Mystery Shopping in High Demand?

Mystery Shopping can be used in any type of business, however; the most common places being retail outlets, hotels and motels, movie theaters, restaurants, fast food restaurants, banks and credit unions, gas pumps, car dealerships, apartments complexes, health clubs, vacation clubs and hospitals. In the United Kingdom, mystery shopping assignments is even used to provide feedback on customer services provided by local authorities and other public non-profit, such as housing authorities.
When a client company hires a mystery shopping services provider company, a survey questionnaire model will be drawn up and agreed upon, to which it defines what information and improvement factors the client company wishes to put to objective measure. These are then setup into questionnaire assignments that are assigned to mystery shoppers, also called secret shoppers registered with the company.
The objective points mystery shoppers take typically are objective: number of employees in the store upon entering; the name of the employees present; how long it took before the mystery shopper is greeted; whether or not the greeting was friendly, according to objective measures. This is usually followed by registering the mystery shoppers experience with the sales employee reaction and response to the shoppers questions to find a suitable type of product, as well as the product sales claims used by the employee/sales employee/sales associate, the employee approach to attempt to close the sale. Whether the sales associate suggested any add-on items, and whether that employee invited the shopper to come back to the store to do business again. The speed of service, the overall shopping experience, cleanliness of the store and store associates, complains, store appearance, and staff grooming assessments are typically part of the mystery shopper employing agency assignment instructions for objective feedback.
MSPA is The Trade Organization for Mystery Shopping Providers,has defined a Code of Ethics and Professional Standards Agreement for Mystery Shopping Providers and for Secret Shoppers. MSPA has also defined Standards for Secret Shopping. The MSPA Standard is available in a full version and an Abstract version. The Abstract is even available in 32 languages. Other organizations such as; ESOMAS, MRS and MRA have also defined standards for Mystery Shopping. You can watch the free undercover video by MSNBC via the link at the end of this article.
A recommendation on the use of secret shopper patients by the American Medical Association's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs was released in June 2008. The Recommendation: "Physicians have an ethical responsibility to engage in activities that contribute to continual improvements in patient care. One method for promoting such quality improvement is through the use of mystery shopper 'patients' who have been appropriately trained to provide feedback about physician performance in the clinical setting."
A scam exists; Like in any other industry,that uses the legitimate secret shopping program as a premise for fraud, where an individual is sent a bad check with instruction to deposit the check into their bank account. However; valid mystery shopping companies will never send their clients a check to cash prior to work being completed, and their advertisements will usually include a contact individual and a contact number. Checks received from mystery shopping companies should only be compensation for work performed, and should always be taken to a bank to be verified.
In conclusion: mystery shopping is a billion dollar industry that keep businesses in check. Many retailers need mystery shoppers. A Mystery Shopper gets paid to shop. We hope you've found this article about secret shopper very educational and informative. There are a number of sites and articles that can tell you a lot about Mystery Shopping.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5134975

Monday, January 23, 2012

Competitve Shopping

       There are many people and businesses out there that call around to their competition and see what kind of price scale they are offering for their products or services. Now, some people get paid to do this job and some people are doing it for their job. What is this job? Mystery secret shoppers call around or go to places and see what other business have to offer in the way of service and prices.
It is important to keep up with the competition as far as pricing goes. If you offer about the same product or service as the business across the street, you had better have about the same price or people will flock to the other place. One difference is if your product or service is way better or offers more features or benefits then you can charge more than the other guy. In some businesses the managers know each other and have built a professional rapport. They will actually look out for each other and recommend the other if they cannot help the customer in the first place. Helping each other is a great way to make sure that the customer is getting exactly what they needed.
There is only so much consumer dollar to go around and your business must be able to somehow capture that customers attention so they spend it with you. Instead of being at war with your competition, try being friendly and see where that gets you.
Mystery secret shoppers are out there, whether it be a paid position or something that your business is doing to keep up with your competition.
If you have never shopped your competition you should try it. Have someone call them and pretend to want whatever service or product they offer. Make sure the person is taking good notes so that when the call is done, you can make the comparison. Now do not forget to make sure you are comparing like items. If you offer your service for 50 dollars and the business down the street offers theirs at 45 dollars make sure you are offering the same exact service before lowering your price. Does the other place offer door-to-door service? Does the other place offer a guarantee with their product? Make sure you are comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges.
Does it pay to have price wars with your competition? It might draw business to both of your locations if some publicity is involved. If you are friendly with your competition you might be able to think of something that will make you both some money. Put your heads together and see what you can come up with. Money is money and every business is out to get their share.
Mystery secret shoppers can help your business in other ways too. They can make sure that a business is keeping up corporate standards. Mystery secret shoppers can go to a location and make sure that certain things are being maintained and presented exactly the way the corporate headquarters wants them. Even though some corporate franchises are independently owned, they still must adhere to strict company policy in order to keep their franchises license. Now you can see what mystery secret shoppers can do for your business.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Five Questions to Ask Your Mystery Shopping Provider

Looking for a company to coordinate your business’ mystery shopping program but you’re feeling overwhelmed? I can’t blame you for feeling that way. There are questions to be asked. But if you’re new to the very concept of mystery shopping, you may not even know where to begin.
Here are five questions to ask the mystery shopping provider: 

1. Are they knowledgeable about, and committed to, your industry?

The answer, of course, is “they’d better be!” How would you expect a company to choose good shoppers who are qualified to evaluate your business if they don’t know the first thing about your industry? Instant-Replays specializes mystery shopping services to the following industries:
  • Home builders
  • Retail stores
  • Automobile dealerships
  • Automotive and tire services 
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Human Resources
  • Senior living

2. Can the mystery shopping provider set up actionable quality metrics?

“Actionable quality metrics?” It may sound like corporate lingo, but it’s just another way to say the results actually mean something to you. Offer you a potential edge on your competition going forward.

3. Who are the mystery shopping provider’s evaluators?

Instant-Replay's reporting system ensures that you’ll have the best, most qualified shoppers coming to your business. Once an applicant is in our system, they’re assigned a rating that fluctuates depending on how well they perform in each shop.
Many of those shoppers can provide audio/visual information that provide richer results than a plain paper report. These shoppers, in addition to writing up their experience, will be your eyes and ears.

4. Where is the data stored, and how secure is it?

Obviously, the results of your shop are highly sensitive. They could be the key to your business’ competitive advantage. Instant-Replays ensures that all results are confidential to the business. They are backed up on a secure server, and safe for you to access at your leisure.

5. Can the mystery shopping company guarantee 100% fulfillment?
There are many mystery shopping providers who can serve clients in large, urban locations like NYC, LA or Chicago. If you have stores in remote areas, however, make sure those locations get the same quality of care as the easier-to-fulfill, urban locations.  Demand 100% fulfillment for all of your locations. Good mystery shopping programs will not have a problem with that.