Mystery shopping gives CPG managers the knowledge that they need to find gaps between their execution expectations and how things are implemented in practice. It gives them the data that they require to take action and correct any mistakes or gaps that are affecting performance. Using mystery shopping ultimately offers the ability to improve sales through the betterment of customer service and customer experience.
What Is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is the practice of using an assigned “undercover customer” to observe staff members and retail locations. The mystery shopper carries out a real interaction between customers and staff members, in addition to making observations about the environment. Some mystery shopper interactions may be in person, while others can be used to test remote and online services, such as customer service calls. They may be asked to test various parts of the customer journey, such as buying a product, asking a question about a product, or making a complaint. They then report their findings using a standardized procedure.
Mystery shopping can help your business to gain a deeper understanding of performance in your stores and how you can improve. The job of mystery shoppers is to use their training to provide impartial feedback that offers an accurate picture of how your stores are operating and whether you are meeting the standards that you have set.
After mystery shoppers submit their findings, the data that they have gathered can be analyzed to gain insights into what gaps may exist and how they can be closed. CPG managers can benefit from actionable insights that allow them to make real changes and improve the customer experience across the board.
Why Mystery Shopping Should Be Part of Retail Execution
Mystery shopping delivers multiple benefits to CPG businesses that want to know more about their retail stores’ performance. It can provide the following advantages to help you find and close gaps.
Improve the customer experience
Customer service can’t be underestimated when it comes to overall business success. Good customer service can make all the difference, and poor customer service can cause huge problems. 50% of customers will switch to a different brand after just one bad experience, and 80% will switch after more than one poor experience. So it’s vital to pick up on where your customer service and experience might not be living up to expectations. Mystery shoppers give you the information you need about how your customer service may be failing, what you’re getting right, and any gaps that need to be filled in.
Benefit from employee insights
Mystery shoppers help you to find out more about your employers, what they’re doing, and the types of information they are sharing about your products and services. When customers interact with your employees, you want to know that they are sharing the right information in the right way and that they are having a positive impact. Employees should have insights into your products and services that they can share with customers, whether it’s recommending products, upselling, or letting them know when a product will be back in stock.
A mystery shopping program helps you to assess the knowledge that your employees already have and how they are implementing it when interacting with customers. This enables the improvement of customer service and allows you to identify training areas where you can aim to boost the skills and knowledge of your staff. Over time, you can continue to check that employees are responding to training and understand how to provide the best customer experience while boosting sales.
Learn about competitors
All brands need to know about their competitors and how they measure up against them. Mystery shopping can enable your business to understand your competitors more using competitive benchmarking. In addition to assessing your own stores, mystery shoppers can be given the task of visiting your competitors’ stores and making observations about their operations. This gives you valuable data from the wider market, which can be used to improve your own customer experience and stay up to date.
Monitor your employees effectively
Mystery shopping can be an excellent tool for monitoring employees and assessing their performance. Mystery shoppers take an objective position, offering an outside perspective of employee performance. They can provide insights into how retail employees are performing and help you to identify how to improve with more training or instruction.