Mystery shopping or a mystery consumer or secret shopper, is a tool used externally by market research companies, watchdog organizations, or internally by companies themselves to measure quality of service, or compliance with regulation, or to gather specific information about products and services. The mystery consumer’s specific identity and purpose is generally not known by the establishment being evaluated.
Mystery shoppers perform specific tasks such as purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way, and then provide detailed reports or feedback about their experiences.
Secret shoppers are often given assignments to simply test the service skills of the employees. Some of the common things secret shoppers will be looking for include:
- How long it takes before the secret shopper is greeted
- How was the secret shopper treated during their visit at the location
- Cleanliness of location and employees
- Quality and taste of meal served
- Selection of products/food and prices
- Speed and efficiency of service
After the visit, the secret shopper will then submit their opinions about their shopping experience. That information is then reviewed and analyzed by the business to find areas in their service that need improvement.