Please enable javascript, or click here to visit my ecommerce web site powered by Shopify.

Using Bots As a Mystery Shopping Solution

Have you ever heard the term “chatbots?” Do you understand what it means?

It’s basically a bot — a small computer program that acts like a human — that can have a conversation with you. It’s sort of like the old Eliza computer program you could have a conversation with. You would ask it a question or make a statement, and it would repeat back to you in a way.

You: I’m sad? Eliza: Why are you sad? You: I’m sad because my car wouldn’t start. Eliza: Why wouldn’t your car start?

And so on. She never really answered your questions, you did. Sort of like therapy. In fact, if you listen to the Radiolab podcast episode where they talk about Eliza, you can hear a few stories of people just pouring their hearts out to Eliza, even knowing she was a computer program.

Well, chatbots work like that, but they’re a little more sophisticated than Eliza was 30 years ago.

Bots can be a part of a mobile feedback mystery shopping program. Picture of a hand holding a phone near a computer.People use chatbots in financial institutions, asking questions about account balances or moving money around. The travel industry uses them for booking flights and hotels, as well as checking on flight status. They’re used in customer service, answering questions on certain websites that you visit. (You didn’t really think Kevin was actually online waiting for you to online chat with him at 2:00 AM, did you?)

So why not use chatbots as part of your mystery shopping?

Chatbots, or any kind of bot, use artificial intelligence and machine learning to plow through large piles of data, as well as examine past conversations to learn how they’re supposed to answer. In that sense, chatbots can help themselves grow and learn.

(Just, you know, make sure there’s an easy-to-reach off switch so we’re not all fighting an army of Geico Insurance terminator robots in the next five years.)

The great thing about using chatbots for mystery shopping is that you can use them to engage customers as part of a mobile feedback system.

For example, when asking customers for feedback, you can ask them to provide more detailed information, such as something they specifically liked about their experience, or something they did not. And if there are important details missing in an answer, the chatbot can prompt the customer to give more information.

They can also use pre-determined/canned responses to get customers to provide additional feedback — “That sounds interesting. Tell me more.” And they can even be used to turn around and encourage people to follow up with another visit — “It sounds like you had a good time. Would you like to schedule another reservation in a few weeks?”

They can even be used as a part of a phone survey system, where the bot asks questions, receives spoken answers, and then translate that into quantitative data that can be further studied.

Bots can even handle simple conversations, such as making reservations or handling customer satisfaction surveys so you don’t need to use up your staff time to do it. If you wanted to do a phone survey of 1,000 people, you’re limited by the number of people you can hire to do this sort of work. But with a chatbot, you can double and triple your biggest number of staff members and still do the surveys in a fraction of the time.

If you would like to learn how to use bots as a mystery shopping solution, please visit our website. You can also speak to one of our mobile feedback experts to help you develop your own mystery shopper program for your own business.

Photo credit: John Jackson (, Creative Commons 0)