There are various techniques with which the business can know how well the employees and store managers are performing and what could be done by the business to retain their customers. Various techniques include survey method, observation, interviews, etc. But there is one method that has proved to be one of the perfect choices for retail audits. It is known as a mystery shopper audit.
Mystery shopping is not a new concept, it has been in use in the past as well but with time it has gained popularity. But what exactly is a mystery shopper audit? It is the process under which the person visits the store to check the customer satisfaction level such as monitoring how the staff is behaving with the customer, checking how much the staff knows about the product, and so on. This tool is purely based on the observational level of the individual conducting the audit. It is an effective marketing research tool that helps the business to find ways of retaining their customer. It is used by the organization to keep a check on employees and various retail outlets of the business. Its ultimate aim is to enhance the customer experience so that they keep on returning to the business.
Under the mystery audit, the auditor goes to the required store undercover as a customer who monitors all the activities of the retail store and its employees. They are entrusted by the business with the responsibility of fulfilling the task given to them. After the audit is complete, the next step is to report their findings back to the organization so that they can take corrective actions for the purpose of retaining the customers.
Anyone can become the mystery shopper as there are no restrictions. But one must have good observation skills than only it will benefit the organization that is hiring your services. Another important point that must be taken care of by shoppers is that they must keep the requirements and ethics of the organization in mind while undertaking the audit process.
This method of retail audit has gained so much demand in recent times as it helps in knowing the ground realities of the store. It is one of the effective and efficient tools that is being utilized in monitoring staff performance and also helps in understanding customer response. This method can help in improving the sales of the business and thus will enhance the customer experiences. There are various reasons to go with this approach. Some of these benefits include:
- Staff Performance: The mystery shopping audit helps the business to effectively evaluate the staff performance. It will enable the business to know whether they are doing what they are asked to do or not. They will provide the information whether the staff is delivering what was expected them to do. It keeps the business informed about the actual activities of the staff and how it will impact the promises of the business product. It enables the business to get insights about the staff behavior. This is because with the mystery shopper the businesses are now aware which staff performing is as per the requirement and who are performing beyond expectations. It will help the business to detect staff training needs and thus prepare the management in improving customer satisfaction.
- Competition: Competition is very high in the retail industry. A mystery shopping audit is an effective tool in measuring your competitors’ activities. It helps the business to get insights about the competitor day to day operations and how they are responding to the customers. It will provide information on the strength and weaknesses of the competitors and thus one can restructure their approach on the basis of it. The new entrants can really be gained from this tool as the mystery audit tool will make them proactive in dealing with their competitors. The mystery shoppers can be employed by the business to evaluate every single detail about their competitors’ products, staff behavior with the customer, customer preference, etc. Thus it is can be an intelligent move on the part of the business in monitoring the various activities of the competitors.
- Customer Perspective: Mystery Shopping helps the organization to get feedback from a customer perspective which is indeed the most accurate and reliable source of feedback. It provides the opportunity to the business to see from the customer’s eyes and thus accordingly improve its operations. As customers are not aware of the protocols, they will direct and honest feedback which could be used by the business in enhancing the customer experience. This is because the customer will share with another fellow customer without any hesitation and thus will provide valuable information. The business can specifically design the questions that will be used by mystery shoppers to interact with the customers.
- Accessing New Products: Sometimes businesses bring in new products or implement new protocols that they expect will bring in more sales for the businesses but in reality, it is not the case. They might get exactly the opposite. This failure could be because of various reasons and it is vital that businesses find these reasons to correct these. One way of doing so is through the mystery shopping audit. It will help the business to get to the bottom of the problem. It will disclose whether the staff is implementing the plan as per decided, or why customers are not accepting the product or new protocol, etc. In any case, it helps the business to understand where they are lacking.
- Compliance: The mystery shopper also ensures that the entire compliance requirement is followed by the staff in their daily operations. There are certain guidelines and regulations that are laid by the business for better performance of the staff and it is vital that staff must implement these religiously. The mystery shopper will give you an accurate picture of whether they are followed or not.
These are some of the benefits that one can avail of through the best mystery shopper audit for retail. Thus for the next audit, one must choose mystery shopping for more reliable and accurate information.