Mystery shopping – the act of having someone pose as a customer, with the intent of gathering non-biased insight into the customer journey with your business – is a valuable undertaking.
The value of engaging a mystery shopper is directly related to two things:
- Your potential customer lifetime value (the higher the PCLV, the greater the need)
- The likelihood and social engagement of your customers (the higher the social engagement, the greater the need)
If you operate a business with a high PCLV, you should probably consider – at least occasionally – engaging a mystery shopper to give you insight.
If you operate a coffee shop – the chance of having highly socially engaged customers is likely high – pointing to the value of a mystery shopper even for a business with a low CLV.
If you manage a business with a high PCLV and customers with high social engagement…there’s no doubt about the value.
Here’s a real life case study:
I brought my car to a new dealer the other day for routine service, which included some diagnostic work (there was a noise in the dashboard that was increasingly concerning). Here’s how the day played-out:
- The car was brought into service at 8:30am
- By 11:30, I still had not heard from the shop about the level or type of repairs required – so I called, and left a message with the service receptionist
- By 2:30, still no callback, and I began wondering: is there enough time left to complete whatever repairs are required? What exactly IS required? Why aren’t they calling back? What’s going on there? Did I make a mistake bringing the car to these guys?
- By 4:30, I arrived, clearly annoyed at the lack of communication, but relieved that the bill wasn’t what I was expecting
In the end, I’d characterize the service delivery as a failure, and I suspect that the dealership would too.
For the owner of the dealership, the service management equation (at least for this customer) is:
- = High PCLV (car repairs + periodic replacement car purchases) x socially engaged customer
Most people would agree that not returning telephone calls is a blatant service-quality misfire, but the question arises: ‘how often does this happen?’
A mystery shopper solves two things:
- It shines a light on service-improvement opportunities – big or small
- It keeps management and staff ‘on their toes’, and aware that the organization takes service delivery seriously, and links service delivery with business sustainability.