“Don’t use amateur detectives to solve the customer experience mystery.”

Mystery Shopping shouldn’t be a “mystery”.

A bad customer experience can undo all that’s good about all the other parts of the marketing effort. It doesn’t matter if the product or service is good, promotion is effective, distribution gets it to where it should be and pricing is competitive. If a customer’s experience at the last step of purchasing is negative, most everything that went before can be meaningless. And that’s why researching the actual customer experience, using “mystery shoppers”, has become more and more widely used.

Mystery Shopping is still relatively new in Cambodia and not frequently used. This is because many marketing people are relatively unfamiliarity with it and many times it is difficult finding experienced, trained providers among in-country market research agencies. Some confuse “mystery shopping” with “customer satisfaction” research. However, mystery shopping is very different.  Mystery shopping explores the actual customer experience as a snapshot in real time (rather than asking respondents to think back and remember their views of what they experienced).

Mystery Shopping is a very powerful and useful tool for management and the customer service manager to measure and monitor the service delivery or shopping experience. In addition, it is even more useful in the competitive business environment where a business has a competitive advantage due to its better service. The company then can see how well it is maintaining its competitive advantage and see what areas can be improved.  Achieving a high level of positive customer experience translates to high customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to higher customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

It is critically important when using a Mystery Shopping methodology to have a research agency with extensive experience in the area. Their most critical contribution will be to provide experienced and trained “shoppers,” who understand the technique and what the client is trying to learn. Don’t use amateur detectives to research the customer experience mystery.

A research agency with mystery shopping experience also will be capable in development of the detailed methodology and coordination planning to be used for a particular customer environment. And, last but not least, they can be responsible for developing any necessary physical materials needed.

Leverage Research Solutions is such an agency.