The theories behind mystery shopping have already been explained, as well as the question of how mystery shopping can look in practice. What remains to be clarified is the often stepmotherly overlooked question of who actually implements the tasks on site and what it takes to master this task very well and in the interest of the client.
More complex than it looks
Quite a few people are flirting with the job as a mystery shopper. But as with so many things, the devil is in the details – literally – when it comes to being a mystery shopper. At first impression, the description of working as a mystery shopper sounds quite simple: go shopping and then tell us how the shopping was. If you take a closer look, there are a few things to consider in order to make a quality test purchase. In addition to the exact test scenario, which is usually a relatively tightly outlined script for the mystery shoppers, personal qualities are also required, such as keen powers of observation and the ability to reflect on the situation they have gone through and to reproduce it in writing.
Training and preparation are the be-all and end-all
In our experience, neither people who are satisfied with everything in principle nor those who are constantly criticized are suitable for working as mystery shoppers. The assignment succeeds best when the mystery shopper can get involved in the situation and the role play – quite naturally. The mystery shopper(s) will, of course, receive the exact scenario and the survey form to be filled out after the mystery shopping in advance. This information helps the mystery shoppers to prepare for the shopping trip in the best possible way, because it tells them which aspects should be paid particular attention to during the test purchase. Training by the mystery shopping agency also provides important information – especially for mystery shoppers who are newcomers to the terrain. Starting with little things like “don’t greet first, but wait and see how the employee reacts to your presence” up to detailed specifications which information should be recorded in which form.
The work of the mystery shoppers represents an important contribution to successful project execution – for example, the individual mystery shoppers do the field work, from which important findings and measures can then be drawn for the individual clients. Without the work of mystery shoppers, the verification of service quality in the real purchase situation is impossible.
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