Mystery shopping is a term used to describe the assessment of customer
service by professional shoppers posing as customers. Some companies
have in-house programs, whereby the company hires its own mystery
shoppers. Other firms hire "outside" companies like Campus Consulting
to provide this service for them.
Mystery shopping is becoming more popular among chain stores because
good customer service means higher, steadier sales. Happy customers
will return more often and will spend more per shopping visit.
Competition in the retail sector is increasing and becoming more
aggressive. Companies are entering the market and providing more
selection and better service in order to attract customers. Customer
service is now being used to differentiate one retailer from another.
An effective mystery shopping program improves customer service. Store
staff and managers will respond to such a program by improving service
levels for each customer when they know that a program is in
place. Managers can also monitor the company's own standards and
policies as set out for the store workers.