When people think of mystery shopping, they typically think of the more traditional shopping where mystery shoppers submit reports detailing their experience. There are two kinds of shops that are emerging as popular alternatives – video and recorded phone calls.
Both types of shops give a new dimension to mystery shopping – instead of reading through narrative reports to visualize the shopper’s experience at one of your locations, you can now see and hear it for yourself. We’ve always trained shoppers to write so that when a client is reading through a report, they can feel as though they were sitting right next to the shopper the entire time. This newer methodology brings it to a whole new level.
These types of shops are more expensive and more detailed in nature, but are a great alternative for companies who would like a different perspective of their business. Specifically, these shops are great for:
- Training purposes: when telephone calls to your customer service center are recorded, they can be edited to remove identifying information and used as training materials.
- Employees with challenges: if you have employees whose performance is consistently not up to par, yet they are disputing the details of the report (“I ALWAYS greet customers within 30 seconds – that shopper is wrong…again…”), having the experience video or audio taped makes it very clear as to what transpired. The results of the video and/or audio shops can be a great starting point for retraining and overcoming challenges in the workplace.
- More complex businesses: where there are employee interactions that involve a lot of detail, such as new home sales or mortgage evaluations, video shops can capture all of the details needed, along with the facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. These types of shops are typically done less frequently than more traditional retail or restaurant evaluations, so the cost will not play a significant factor in implementing this type of program.
There are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering trying a video or audio recorded shop:
- Audio recording laws: each state has either a one party or two party consent law. In one party consent, only one of the parties in the conversation, in this case the shopper, needs to give consent to the conversation being recorded. In two party states, both parties need to give consent. Here is a list that outlines which states are one and two party consent for your reference.
- Volume of shops: if you are doing a traditional mystery shopping program, you need to think about your current frequency of shops and how that will change by incorporating recorded shops as they are more expensive. It’s not meant to replace the entire program, but it is a good option to target your locations with the most challenges or even rotate traditional and recorded shops so each location gets a video or audio shop once in a while, but continues with the traditional program.
There are many options available to enhance your mystery shopping program thanks to technology. If you’ve not thought of it before, it might be a good time to consider it and try it out.