It’s not new, but we’re seeing it pop up more and more in the mystery shopping industry – clients are requesting a debriefing session with shoppers. This typically involves a representative from the mystery shopping provider to talk with the shopper after an evaluation has been completed to get more subjective information about the experience. Sometimes the interviews are recorded, and other times the data is compiled into a report for the client.
We had a project once for an assisting living company that offered a wide range of services and facilities. They requested that one shopper conduct all of the evaluations over a three month period, from phone calls to onsite shops. After each evaluation, the shopper submitted a report as is typically done. The twist? Once the project was complete, the shopper went to meet with the client’s board of directors to offer additional insight into their operations and customer experience. This is definitely outside the norm and not typically done when debriefing is considered, but in this instance the client wanted in depth information outside of the parameters of the evaluation itself.
Why do this? Clients are realizing that shoppers are also their typical customer, and want to get more out of their program than just the operational data that is collected.
While it can’t be done with every shop that you do, there are certain cases in which you might want to consider a post-shop debriefing:
- New locations have recently opened and are incorporated into the shopping program
- Concerns with performance in a specific employee, location, district, or region
- Launch of a new service or store concept
- Obtaining subjective data to pinpoint correlations between exceptionally high and low performing locations
There is an additional cost when debriefing is incorporated, but the cost is well worth it if you need that additional information to make decisions regarding business operations.