According to experts, during the last few years many companies in the U.S. and Europe have begun to offer mystery shopping services, so caution from clients is required when selecting an agency.
HOW TO CHOOSE A PROPER MYSTERY SHOPPING AGENCY?
In choosing a contractor or an agency we advise you to pay attention to:
- Whether it is a specialized agency or a company that is also engaged in other activities, so that the execution of mystery shopping is an additional activity;
- What knowledge and experience this company has (a review of reference lists is advisable, as is confirmation of the number of years it has been engaged in the implementation of this service);
- The organization of their mystery shoppers (the way they choose them, whether they are local shoppers, how many shoppers are working for this company and whether they are of different ages and educational backgrounds, how the agency educates shoppers, how the agency monitors their work, whether the agency provides mystery shoppers with a contract for their work, how they are paid, …);
- What the quality of service is (quality of the organization, data processing and data transmission speed);
- What kind of survey report you would receive as a client at the end of the study;
- Whether the contractor is a member of the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Professionals Association).
WHO IS PERFORMING MYSTERY SHOPPING SURVEYS IN SLOVENIA?
These are: market research agencies, training companies, security companies, HR agencies, private investigators.
Their chief characteristic is that they are performing mystery shopping service as a sideline job and they offer this service to clients mostly free of charge as a part of carrying out their main activities, for example, an education company that carries out staff training and therefore provides a free implementation of the mystery shopping. Another example would be a market research agency that conducts another major research study, and offers mystery shopping free of charge – this practice also applies with security companies. This is not the case with specialized Mystery Shopping agencies which carry out mystery shopping as their main activity, and therefore in contrast to other companies conduct their service in the most professional way.
INTERNAL PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICE
Some companies conduct the survey mystery shopping by themselves – the reasons are:
- they assume that hiring an external and specialized mystery shopping agency will be a major cost, but do not consider how much a workday actually costs when employees are “not engaged” in the work for which they are hired,
- they assume that their employees are highly skilled, because they know their business; however employees can never play the role of the actual purchaser because they are too familiar with the situation in the company or profession.