Whether you own a business, work in such a service or are just a curious person, the field of Mystery Shopping deserves close attention.
To provide a little context, a business owner will have put a great deal of thought, care and effort into creating a business that provides some product or service that the general public wants. As a short sentence, it sounds simple enough. The sheer reality of running a business can however be staggering, especially for people starting out for the first time. Many things need to be considered. Bills for expenses, staff contracts, supply chains, advertising and dealing with trading standards, producing all the accounts required from you and dealing with debt are just a few of the many demons a successful business owner needs to master in order to have their idea flourish into something large and long lasting.
The stereotype of a business owner is that they are cold and calculating machines with little emotion. It’s easy to see why considering that a lot of responsibility is placed on their shoulders. It prevents them from being free enough to enjoy themselves as much as they would like.
With a business up and running, the challenge doesn’t end, if anything it is just the start. Without staying on top of the demands for better quality or ignoring customer and staff requests, the quality of whatever is provided is sure to drop dramatically. Keeping an eye on the quality of whatever is being peddled isn’t as simple as it sounds either. Ensuring that a product is well made would be the first stop to ensure quality. But that doesn’t include how it’s perceived to the public eye. Another would be asking for feedback from the staff and/or customers that use it. Unfortunately customers and especially staff can be uneasy about sharing their true opinions for fear of rebuke or dismissal for whatever personal reason.
Wouldn’t it be nice in that case if there was someone who was capable of being completely honest? Well, that’s where secret/mystery shoppers come in.
A field marketing agency that specialises in services designed to help business manage things from product demonstrations to product recalls can also help a company by providing a mystery shopping service.
Such a service is contracted to send anonymous individuals into a business’s location and act as if they were a customer. They can be asked to observe particular things, such as the mannerisms of the employees or how well a product or service was explained. Once they have evaluated a set of criteria either the business owner or they themselves set, they send their detailed findings to the owner with detailed information. So in a way, it can be thought of as spying, in this case make sure to warn your employees that this will be taking place so they can be somewhat prepared. A mystery shopping company has no motive to gain access to personal information but rather to learn about any weaknesses that could be causing problems for the business they are evaluating.
It is completely possible to maintain a good level of quality by conventional methods. These would be as simple as hearing opinions as well as performing stress tests. The problem is that this causes a great deal of extra work. Nobody wants to have extra work, thus mystery shopping became a valuable service.
The service isn’t just for small companies either. Giants like Heinz, Walkers and McVities have all, at some point, used field marketing agencies to improve their services and products. It isn’t just limited to mystery shopping. Many good companies in this field often provide infrastructure for dealing with product recalls too. Though it may be a nightmare to have to do, having it handled is of the utmost importance. Nobody wants to risk lives, not to mention the fact that you would be highly scrutinised by the public for not acting faster. Having a third party company takes an enormous amount of work off of already busy business owners. It doesn’t make any sense to make life harder for yourself.
Many testimonials exist online that illustrate the points made here and here is an insight into how mystery shoppers actually do their jobs.
At the end of the day, true success of a business rests squarely on the shoulders of the business owner. Their decisions need to be well informed, their knowledge must be expansive and their determination needs to be constantly high. Knowledge is power and there are not many people who have never had a power fantasy. The services rendered by field marketing companies can help people achieve their ultimate goals and keep them there.
This article is provided by Mark Karnes.