Mystery shopping has several benefits, largely to complement other research tactics. But mystery shopping has several disadvantages too, causing the service to not work for all companies.
Mystery shopping encompasses a single customer’s experience at your company with your employees. Even the best employees may provide poor customer service, or something they do is not seen in a better light and seen as something it’s not by the reviewer. It is okay to punish bad customer service, it’s when you interpret that data (and surmise that an employee does not provide good customer service) that is not correct. If it is a judgment you make about someone or something based on a single experience, it may not be true.
Not All Companies Benefit
Not only does your company benefit from mystery shopping, but it can also train the mystery shopper to figure out what they should be looking for. If the company teaches a mystery shopper to go through the sales process at your B2B company, you need to train them how to talk about the products. At the same time, you need to give them enough to discuss for them to make worthwhile the visit. If it’s a small coffee shop with a single employee, it may not profit much from the mystery shopping experience.
Research Required Before starting
Only company-wide changes based on a single customer experience are not a good idea. Mystery shopping may well stimulate new research but it hardly is expected to promote any new changes to your company on its own.
The advantage of mystery shopping is that it is an interesting tool to help you gain insight into the customer experience that in other ways, could be difficult to get. Besides, it is a good motivation tool for employees and can spot errors in customer service. While it’s not much of a standalone tool and doesn’t help all businesses, adding mystery shopping to your current evaluation practices may make the service a value addition.
Mystery shopping is a Costly service
One of the main problems with opting for the service of mystery shoppers is that it is costly in the form of fees and reimbursement of shopping. Not all companies can afford to pay the money thus bringing down its use for large and mid-sized companies. Moreover, this is not just a one-time expense; companies are expected to do it regularly in order to get the desired result and this obviously makes it unaffordable for small companies.
Dissatisfaction of employees
It so happens that when employees find out that the company has hired mystery shoppers to investigate how they are faring, then the employee feels as if the company does not trust them. The employees may feel dissatisfied as their fate lies not with the company or themselves but mystery shoppers decide their fate, which can demotivate the employees of the company.
The bias of Mystery Shoppers
Mystery shoppers are not perfect; they can be manipulated and may be biased towards some employees which in turn renders the entire point of the company hiring an independent agency for checking the customer service of its employees worthless. This exercise is worth it if mystery shoppers are unbiased and honest and give their honest feedback about employees to the company.
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For mystery shoppers themselves, there are a few drawbacks that may face if they are dedicated shoppers.
Earnings may be Infrequent
For mystery shoppers, a downside is that they don’t have a regular paycheck like they would if they were salaried. The shopper is a freelancer who’s paid by assignment, and there may be situations where work may not be available in their area for periods. Since more of the compensation may be based on receiving a free product or service, the payment is rather small.
Wear and tear of vehicles
If assignments are not found in the mystery shopper’s immediate area, the shopper has to drive a long way and maybe put additional wear on his or her vehicle even though they may be reimbursed for their mileage.
Work for Several Companies
The mystery shopper is likely to register with several mystery shopping firms to ensure a steady flow of income, you’ll likely need to register with several mystery shopping firms. The shopper has to learn different work procedures, which can lead to confusion.
Scams all round
There are a plethora of scams in the mystery shopping industry. One scam is when a fraudulent mystery shopping company posts an ad exhorting profitable shopping positions. The candidate is asked to submit a registration fee to the company but receives no job offer in spite of paying up.