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Exploding Six Myths About Mystery Shopping Companies

Mystery Shopping
Image by feffreyl via Flickr

There are a lot of myths surrounding mystery shopping companies, but these myths only serve to confuse the mystery shopping industry and all the good it can do for companies. Here are some of the worst ones, and our deflation of them.

1) Special Reports and Information Cost Extra

Some mystery companies will claim that their high price quotes are due to customization of your reports. Untrue. Since every business is different, every report should be customized. As the client, mystery shopping companies are there to serve you in the ways that you need to improve your business. A good mystery company recognizes that taking the time and labor to customize your reports benefits everyone in the long run to develop a long-term professional relationship. If a mystery shopping company charges you for “special reports,” it means either their basic package is lacking, or they’re needlessly charging you more.

2) You Need Certified Shoppers

As you start researching the mystery shopping industry, you might come across mentions of certified shoppers. These are shoppers who have gone through MSPA training to learn the ins and outs of secret shopping. If a shopper is certified, he or she is letting companies like ours know that they are serious about what they do. But it doesn’t affect the quality of shops you get; we still make sure you get quality shops.

3) Mystery Shopping Companies Train Their Own Employees

Professional mystery shoppers number in the tens of thousands, and most of them work for more than one company. So watch out if a secret shopping company promises that their shoppers are “better trained.” Some companies provide training; some do not, but there are very few, if any, mystery shopping companies that have a stable of dedicated employees who work strictly for that mystery shopping company.

4) Mystery Shopping Companies Who Use High-Tech Equipment Yield Higher-Quality Results

It’s easy to get seduced by sophisticated, fancy reporting and recording technology. However, better equipment does not necessarily mean better reports. Advanced reporting systems can offer benefits, but can also affect the cost-effectiveness of the shops. Ideally, you can find a mystery shopping company who can provide the reports in the form you choose. If you want video or audio, you can choose them, but you’re not required.

5) Mystery Shopping is Only Conducted by Business Who are Suffering

Secret shopping is a marketing research tool utilized across all industries, by companies that are or are not experiencing financial growth. If there is a way to improve customer service and profits, why wouldn’t you? Companies that are suffering can quickly pinpoint the areas they need improvement and take action. Already successful companies can fine tune their strategy to be even more profitable.

6) Employees Don’t Like Mystery Shopping Companies and Shoppers

Some business owners are uncomfortable with the idea that their employees are being “spied on.” It helps to look at mystery shoppers not as “spies,” but as “observers.” They are completely unbiased third-party individuals who are there to collect data. In the end, this is for the benefit of the company and the employees. Most mystery shopping companies find that employees do not mind mystery shoppers, because if they perform well, they benefit from the experience.

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