Human beings are funny creatures. We like to complain about things to our friends, but when presented with a survey we don’t always complete it honestly because it’s sometimes easier to just tick the “average” or “good” boxes and not come back.

If you want a really transparent view of how your business or organisation is doing, a mystery shopping programme is a great way to do it. Once of the most successful franchises in the world, US burger chain Five Guys, puts their successes down to their team of mystery shoppers who visit their restaurants twice a week. Not only does this keep their employees on their toes, the mystery shopppers work through a checklist and grade the staff and store accordingly, giving a clear view of that all important customer experience.

Using mystery shoppers can be invaluable for any business. It helps to detect any areas of weakness within your team and identify training needs, compare your services with the competition, monitor KPIs and measure the impact of any changes to your product lines or marketing campaigns. It can also help you to make sure that you’re providing the sort of service that works for all your customers, including those with disabilities.

Using this system wisely can make all staff feel engaged, and chances are they’ll want to beat their scores month on month- good for you, and great for your customers.

There are many benefits that can be gained from using a mystery shopping scheme, including:

Improves Customer Retention

It stands to reason that if customers have a good experience, they’ll want to come back for more.

Keeps Customer Service at the Forefront

If staff are used to being checked out by mystery shoppers, customer service will be a top priority at all times.

Reinforces Training

Most front line staff receive training about customer service when they first start a new job, but that learning can get lost over time. Regular mystery shopping is a constant reminder of the things that make a great customer experience.

Builds Relationships

When customers feel like you see them as more than a number, they’ll come back- and when they come back, that can be the start of a long term and mutually beneficial relationship.

Strengthens knowledge

As part of mystery shopping programme staff will be asked questions about products and services. If they’re committed to doing well as work and working as a team, keeping their knowledge up to date will become ingrained.

Boosts profits                      

We all know that more customers means bigger profits, so if you can provide an outstanding customer experience which builds loyalty and retention it stands to reason that this will have a knock on effect on your income.

Mystery shopping provides you with a clear insight into the way customers think and feel, which can help you build an effective long term strategy and stay one step ahead of your competitors. Try recruiting shoppers from different social and demographic groups, people with disabilities and mental health problems for a well-rounded view of your customer base that will help your business grow.