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We are the only specialized mystery shopping agency in Slovenia , and we have been a member of the MSPA since 2005 – this is the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association. This means that we not only follow their guidelines, but as members receive information and details of good practices from other countries and share them with you – our clients. Indeed, this service has been practiced in Europe for more than 35 years, and in the U.S. for more than 65 years.

ABSTRACT MSPA EUROPE GUIDELINES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MYSTERY SHOPPING

The full Guidelines can be viewed in English on the website of MSPA Europe at https://www.mspa-ea.org/ethics-and-standards.html

Ethical principles

Mystery shopping notes the nature of the attitude of the staff, and how procedures are carried out during an interaction with the customer, in comparison with pre-established standards.

The aim of this study should be to further develop standards and to increase customer satisfaction.

Mystery shopping may not be used as the reason for dismissals and reprimands.

In order to ensure an ethical approach, the employees should be informed that the quality of their services will be periodically checked by mystery shoppers.

Technical principles and guidelines

The basic
Scenarios for the implementation of mystery shopping should be safe, so the mystery shoppers are not exposed to criminal activities that could in any way endanger them physically, or pressure them into involuntary submission of personal information, or which could be recorded in unwanted registers.

The goal and purpose of usage of the results, and the form / method of the report must be explained in detail to the participating staff.

The names of employees and their identity may be disclosed on video, tape etc. only if they have been informed of this in advance. Where the employees of a competitor cannot be informed about the service, their identities may not be disclosed.

The agency and the client must agree on the storage and destruction of all material, whether questionnaires, videos, tape recordings or other materials.

Recommended
The questionnaire should be focused on objective questions designed to collect actual (real) data. Some subjective ratings may be used as an aid to interpreting the results.

In the pilot study, prior to the whole project, it is recommended that employees are informed about it, but this is not essential if their identity is not disclosed.

When the mystery shopping is performed at competition premises, it is ideal to perform the actual purchase (e.g. product) that reflects the type of business that is being tested. If the purchase is not made, then the burden on the staff and the competitor should not go beyond what is normal for the procedure in this sector.

Good Practice
The scenario should be realistic, in that it is similar to natural, realistic consumer behavior.

The spacing between visits, their timing and content should follow the natural course of the interaction between customers and staff.

Simplicity, brevity and maintaining tasks at the appropriate level contributes to the fact that the mystery shopper correctly recalls all the details and so also reports them.