If you manage a company that deals directly with the public, such as a retail store, consider hiring a mystery shopper. Since the 1940s, companies have used mystery shoppers to anonymously visit stores and restaurants to gather customer service data, reports a 2006 article in "Consumer Affairs." While customer surveys and feedback can be helpful, a mystery shopper's objective reports are critical for any customer service management program. A properly trained mystery shopper provides insightful, unbiased data that company managers can use to keep customers satisfied
Give a specific list of sample questions to the mystery shopper that you want her to ask your employees, such as inquiries about pricing or new items. Have the mystery shopper memorize and rehearse the questions with you. Mystery shoppers must avoid appearing over-rehearsed to create a realistic experience and keep employees from recognizing a staged visit.
Take your mystery shopper out to a local coffee shop and purchase an item together. Ask the mystery shopper to identify specific details about the experience afterward, such as the cashier's name, to teach him the importance of observational skills.
Give a sample questionnaire to your mystery shopper and help her fill it out based on the customer service at the coffee shop. The questionnaire that mystery shoppers complete and give to employers documents precisely what happened during the shop. Check the content of the practice questionnaire for factual information, objectivity and grammar.
Provide a stopwatch to the mystery shopper and show him how to operate it. Have the mystery shopper place the stopwatch in his pocket and practice using it to subtly record time. Documenting the time it takes an employee to complete a sales transaction or greet the mystery shopper provides valuable customer service information.
Let the mystery shopper prove her observational and reporting skills...