Brick-and-mortar shops will not be history anytime soon. Customers like to meet service providers face to face as it builds trust faster and better. At times, this trust tends to fade even if the services are up to the mark. It so happens when there is a dip in the quality of the customer experience. Underlying issues that are hampering customer experience need to be identified or else, a brand will lose its authority in a competitive market.
What is Secret Shopping?
One of the best methods to find out the unknown issues a brand is facing is secret shopping. This is a unique market research technique where a secret shopper is sent live to a brick-and-mortar shop to experience what a customer sees and feels. This secret shopper delivers valuable feedback to the hirer. The hirer then evaluates the feedback and finds out the hidden issues to work on the customer experience part.
Secret shopping is used to analyze service quality and various other factors that are related to customer experience. Even a small eatery to a multinational hotel brand can avail of such services. Let us find out how secret shopping works.
How does secret shopping work?
As mentioned earlier, a service provider is hired for secret shopping. Based on the locations to be covered for a business, a team of secret shoppers are hired. These shoppers have experience pretending to be well-informed customers and are avid enough to focus on the points mentioned by the hirer.
They get a questionnaire from the service provider. This question includes questions related to specific factors that determine service quality and customer experience. For instance, a retail outlet is facing downtime in terms of customer turnouts. The prime focus of the questionnaire will be based on parking, retail floor design, staff knowledge, staff attitude, service quality, billing, checkout time, etc.
During the visits, the secret shoppers will fit themselves in the customers’ shoes and will carry on with a buying journey. Based on their feedback on the questionnaire, data-driven reports are generated using analytics tools. The service provider will help the hirer to design actionable insights that will make the customer experience better. The evaluation is either done using paper formats, apps or website portals.
Aim of secret shopping
Secret shopping allows a brand to diagnose the hidden issues that are hampering its image. It allows the brand to think like a customer and find out what is actually wrong or what can be better in the brick-and-mortar shop. Now that digital portals are taking over, brick-and-mortar shops will need to deliver better services to consumers in the first place.
Hence, secret shopping is the perfect tool to find out issues with product accuracy and/or service quality. The genuine unbiased feedback offers a 3rd-eye view of the problems that customers were facing day in and day out. Hence, this service enables a brand to become better at serving its customers and encourages repeat buying decisions. It will eventually increase profit and add an extra edge to the brand’s competitiveness.