Mystery shoppers identify the real shop flaws

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 8, 2006

Mystery shoppers identify the real shop flaws

Businesses wanting to increase customer loyalty should also focus their training efforts on employee courtesy and knowledge, according to more than 3,500 mystery shoppers who participated in a customer service trends survey conducted by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA).

While almost all (93%) of the mystery shoppers felt employee courtesy and employee knowledge were the most important elements for creating a pleasant customer experience, shoppers said their in-store experience with employee courtesy and knowledge was hit-or-miss.

While over 52% said employee courtesy and employee knowledge most consistently received high scores during their evaluations, the businesses that didn't receive high scores for these elements were the ones that needed the most help: more than 38% said employee courtesy and knowledge were the areas where they most consistently saw low scores.

Up-selling is down Another area where businesses seem to fall short of standards is up-selling. Nearly half (46%) of the mystery shoppers cited up-selling as being the element in which businesses were most often lacking.

However, 74% of the mystery shoppers said they had observed an improvement in total customer service at the locations where they have shopped during the past year, with the retail and restaurant sectors leading the way.

How to improve According to John Swinburn, executive director for the MSPA, "Steps to improve employee knowledge and courtesy, as well as suggesting a complimentary item at the point of sale, all translate to a better customer experience, and ultimately, prompts that consumer to visit a business again."

Mystery shoppers are consumers who anonymously and objectively evaluate customer service, operations, merchandising, product quality and other elements of the customer experience. The mystery shoppers who took part in the survey spent a combined 90,000 hours per month conducting some 65,000 evaluations.

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