Nowadays the attention paid to customers is getting more and more important.
Competitors may be able to suggest better service than yours, so each company must know all disadvantages in servicing customers. Estimating the quality of the service is called mystery shopping. Well-trained persons behaving as normal customers come to assess what is going well and what can be improved in the service process.In this essay we will look at “Mystery shopping”. We have to research information about mystery shopping and to provide critical thinking, quality of thought, to bracket consumer behaviour and marketing research.
Research objectives* To collect information from journals, articles and books about mystery shopping.* Find advantages and disadvantages of mystery shopping.* Analyse the purpose of mystery shopping.
* Bracket together mystery shopping with marketing research and observational research.* Find out how some companies perform their jobs using mystery shopping.* Sift feedbacks of mystery shopping.Literature reviewRequest: a week in Jordan for a retired couple, including excursions and full-board accommodationBy Thomas Cook (2007)On entering the agency, I was approached by a consultant. But when I relayed my request I was told a different department dealt with those holidays and I was asked to wait for 20 minutes or return later. I left the shop and came back 15 minutes later.
However, the person I needed to see was busy, so I had to wait another 15 minutes. During the consultation 1 found the agent’s sales technique to be professional and polite, although not much was covered in terms of excursions or activities without prompting. The details of the holiday were explained clearly but without much enthusiasm or interest. I was given a print-out of the details, but the ink was faded and barely legible.
The package offered was suitable for my needs, though. Overall the service here was satisfactory, but could have been better if the agent had shown a bubblier, more enthusiastic manner. (65% of 100%)Dealers Pay for Leads They Don’t GetBy Cliff Banks (2007)Is your dealership paying for Internet leads, but not getting them? It happens more than people realize, says Lisa Keller, founder of evaluation Inc., a consulting firm that mystery shops dealerships’ Internet departments.
Usually lost leads happen when a shopper sends an email from the dealer’s web site but the e-mail disappears into cyber space, never making it into the dealer’s Internet lead-management system. Usually, it is a technical snafu.If a dealer is spending money on search-engine optimi2ation or buying key words on the search engines and advertising to drive traffic to its web site, not getting those leads is wasted money.”We call it lead evaporation,” Keller says. In February, 11 of her dealership clients experienced some sort of technical problem in which leads disappeared.
A couple of months ago one of her dealer’s web site provider’s server crashed. When it came back online hours later, it restored an old e mail address that been used by the dealership’s lead-management software years ago.The result? For days, the dealership was not seeing any leads from its web site. They were being dumped into the defunct e-mail address. Leads from third-party sites were reaching the right address, so nobody noticed the missing web site leads. They still might be missing today if Keller had not been mystery shopping.Keller mystery shops her clients – many of whom are on the Ward’s e-Dealer 100 ranking – four times a month by sending emails lead through the dealership’s web site. At the end of the month, the dealer principal or general manager gets a report detailing response time and quality of the responses.
Keller discovered the disappearing-lead problem by accident. One report she sent to a dealer last year graded the response time as a zero, meaning she received no response. After investigating, the dealership realized it was not getting any leads from its web site and quickly fixed the problem.The real value of mystery shopping may be in determining the effectiveness of a dealership’s Internet sales people, “The measurement is simple. It evaluates timeliness and quality of the response.”Both are equally important,” Keller says. The longer it takes a dealership to respond to a lead, the lower the score.
After six hours, the score goes to zero.”We see that top performers strive to respond within six minutes,” Keller says. “And auto responders do not count.”Keller says the reports she provides dealers are simple and lets them see specific areas the Internet sales people need to improve. Besides, just the knowledge they are being mystery shopped and held accountable should be an incentive for most sales people to make sure they are doing it the right way every time.Request: a romantic, luxury week in the Caribbean to mark an anniversary; open to recommendationsSandgrove D. (2007)My call was answered after a few minutes, but the consultant did not sound enthusiastic and did not offer her name. I said I was seeking a Caribbean holiday, but the consultant did not really sound interested.
Although she did ask for my name, she failed to ask any further questions about my holiday interests or establish my budget. Without making any conversation she gave me a price for a holiday. She did not explain the attractions of the resort or any of the holiday details. No other options were explained to me and I had to prompt for insurance, although even this was not fully explained. The consultant obviously felt that the job was done and she ended the discussion, leaving me little option but to end the call. Overall, I was very disappointed with the service I received, and found the consultant rude and uninterested. (5% of 100%)Is Mystery shopping good for business?Mystery shopping – research about the quality of customers service, which is evaluated afterwards.
Mystery shopping is very useful in service situations, for example banks, shops, retailers, car rental firms, hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, car dealers, airlines etc.This is the general way mystery shopping is implemented:* Unnamed persons are used in a mystery shopping,* Mystery shopping is well-trained and uses checklist,* In the mystery shopping anonymous persons behaves like an ordinary customers,* After the visit service point the checklist is filled in and an assessment report is documented,* The assessment report and the scores on the checklist are used for feedback,* The feedback has to guide to a number of progress issues and actions.The purpose of mystery shopping is to test individual employee service behaviours for use in coaching, performance assessment, training, rewards and recognition, identify systematic strengths and weaknesses in customer contact service.Mystery shopping can be used for a variety of reasons.
Mostly it is to measure the quality of the service delivery to the consumers. In this situation mystery guest can be focused on the falling in line to specific standards, guidelines or demands, or the mystery guest can be instructed to position the quality of the service on a scale. Sometimes a mystery guest may be used to visit not only the own service locations, but also locations of competitors.Other goals of mystery shopping are:* Measuring effectiveness of (training) programmes (Morrison et al, 1997)* Testing if employees treat people in the same way, or testing against discrimination (Morral, 1997, Tepper 1997)The result of mystery shopping can be used in different ways:* Communication: the checklists make very clear what is expected,* Reports provide what is going wrong,* Training programmes might be also improved,* Development activities can be focused on issues that are important for the customers,* Good quality performance of employees can be rewarded.Mystery shopping gives highly actionable and in-depth insights for training, coaching and performance evaluation.Mystery shopping is idea when the client has convinced standards of actual ostentation then he or she wants evaluated by a trained customer.
There may be some aspects of service that the company believes to be essential. So the mystery shopping is trained to look for these things that the ordinary customer may not note.Mystery shopping is excellent for evaluating operational dills.
Also, it is good for examination decor, signage, employee dress, etc. readjusts to company norms. Then one of the greatest pluses of mystery shopping is that the erratic are usually very easy to appreciate.
And in addition, post regularizing sampling highlight the client’s experience and apprehensions rather than a paid interviewer’s.However, the program of mystery shopping might be comparatively expensive if there are many locations to be shopped. Furthermore, most mystery shopping programs are objective in nature and miss the subjective “feel” of a location. Sometimes, mystery shops it selves are usually fulfilled by specialized interviewers or others who complete many shops in a short period of time. And finally, there are some cases when mystery shopping does not implement the most essential alternate of all – the customer’s conception of the service.
By Alan Wilson (2001), mystery shopping is “a form of participant observation uses researches to deceive customer-service personnel into believing that they are serving real customer or potential customers.” Mystery shopping can be viewed like mysterious personage in detective story. He solves crimes and benefits the greater good. Such being the case they establish poor customers service and poor customers relations, which when get better the sopping experience for clients at large.Business leaderships have accepted mystery shopping like normal thing. Approximately $1 billion dollars is being spent on mystery sopping annually worldwide (Maret, 2005). Businesses craving that their workers look at all customers by company policy. They have sought mystery shopping in droves as a “tool to motivate personnel” and as a “diagnostic tool” that would allow them to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their service model (Wilson, 2001).
Monitoring personnel performance is critical because “ninety percent of unhappy customers leave a place of business because of inattentive, impolite employees” (Semenak, 2005).Marketing researchThe market research nature and role in Europe has had considerable changes in current years, as organisations more and more seem to do business in a wider range of EU markets. In order to be more effective in these markets, specialised persons are required, who are able to assess the competitive environments. For example, if we had ten different member states of community, we have to evaluate their needs and characteristics, so that we can suggest the best way to go on. If these states are of our interest, it is essential to help them to make decisions. Therefore, well-managed and designed information system is needed, so that all decision makers could access it. It is being spent £1 billion pounds a year on the research of the ‘right’ answers for the customers.
Marketing research is a part of decision-making, so it is important to know what it engages in organisation. Collecting certain information about actual or potential marketplace helps to identify the potential profile of new customers or markets. Therefore, market research helps organisation to be better managed among the competitors. In addition, such a marketing research might be very difficult or complicated, so professional and ethical behaviour is a priority. Marketing research can be defined as:Marketing research is the function which links the consumer, customer and public to the marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.
Marketing research specifies the information required to address those issues; designs the method for collecting information; manages and implements the data collection process; analyses the results; and communicates the findings and their implications. (AMA definition as quoted by McDaniel and Gates, 1996)Observational researchObservational research includes the method of the observation with trained observers of individuals or groups. It can be anybody – staff, customers or even children. Usually observational research is used by advertising agencies, design consultancies, marketing companies.
The purpose of such research is to identify with some aspects of behaviour that will give closer view into the problem. For example, a company release a new trial product in the market. After that they are observing how are customers reacting to that product, how do they use it, how often it is used or what problems or misunderstanding it may cause.
Such a product test in observational research way helps the company to improve it.The other form of observational research is called mystery shopping. The purpose of it is to get a feedback on employee performance and to improve the customer services. The researcher can also be a part of experience.Sometimes observation can be very reliable marketing research. Especially, it can be very successful if the observed people do not know that they are being observed, so they act naturally.The mystery behind mystery shoppingBose is known to discerning customers throughout the world as a provider of quality home cinema, music and loudspeaker systems. The worldwide Bose commitment to research and innovation is reflected in the quality of the products introduced to the market, as well as in the standard of pre- and after-sales service available to customers.
There are a lot of good specialists, consultants working in Bose Corporation, who know the products and can help their customers anytime if any problems arise.However, Bose, like a lot of other companies, uses mystery shopping to improve the customer services even more and to ensure that they get the best of the best. This company merges two methods of mystery shopping – that is questioning and observation. Both of these methods must be analysed and evaluated after mystery shopping process.So firstly, questioning starts with recordable phone call how the employee is helpful, accurate and polite in one or the other situation. All these factors are rated by customer defined ratings.
Second step is when the customer comes to the shop pretending as a potential buyer. Eye-to-eye contact with employee also helps to assess the employee’s friendliness, communication and other skills and features. ‘Mysterious’ customer pays attention to the environment and the presentation of the product as well. After in- person visit, shopper must complete observation immediately, because if he/she will do it later, then some details might be missed or forgotten. Such a feedback is used to make positive changes in selling and marketing strategy.In this case of Bose, when it found out about not very knowledgeable sales persons, it strengthened training program compulsory for all sales people.
That way, they can be up to date to new products and technologies and can ensure a better consulting and helping services for their customers.We believe that mystery shopper can be every person. Here we do not talk about mystery shopper as unnamed person.
Every person uses customer services; everyone goes to the shops, uses bank and other services. So every person has an opinion about customer services: how operating personnel communicate, how they behave in one or another way. As we go to the shop we want that personnel communicate politely, give us a smile. In this key, we feel that personnel want to give us more information, that we are interest in their customers.If every personnel would be frowning, angry, rude, we think that no one would go to that kind of companies.We think that mystery shopping is good for the companies’ personnel communication. However in another key, it is unkind for the personnel, because some of them could be in a bad day or distressed.
Therefore, they cannot be very polite or smile that day. If mystery shopper is testing such a ‘bad day’ employee, it could cause that employee a lot of problem for the shopper after all. So it is not a good thing.
Therefore, we suppose, if mystery shopping change some or all of the operating personnel’s work, we have to admit that mystery shopping is useful speciality. But if it does not change anything, then we assume that it is not necessary speciality.ConclusionMystery shopping is one of the most popular specialities nowadays. We feel that it could be good for business. As we saw in this essay Bose company president is very happy, because his business goes better and better.
In this essay we tried to plug into the mystery shopping business. We talked what problems, pluses and minuses it has. We examined other persons’ opinions, what they think about it. We analysed the purpose of the mystery shopping.
This essay was useful, because we found out and learned a lot new things concerning mystery shopping. At the first view it might look quite easy and simple work, but when you go deeper into this topic and discover lots of difficulties, you understand that objective evaluation and critical thinking sometimes can be complicated.