The information below will provide you with general information on mystery shopping, the benefits and value of using mystery shopping to evaluate customer service, and will also review some frequently asked questions about mystery shopping. If you would like additional information, please feel free to view our list of available services or contact us via email for more information.

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              What is Mystery Shopping?                                                            Benefits and Value of Mystery Shopping          
               Starting a Program                                                                           Frequently Asked Questions


What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery Shopping is a program used to objectively evaluate many aspects of your business, including:

              Store cleanliness                      Merchandise displays                   Telephone interactions

             Employee interaction               Employee knowledge                     Sales Techniques

Mystery Shoppers (also referred to as silent shoppers or secret shoppers) are sent to a retailer’s locations on a regular basis to conduct business as a typical customer would. Shoppers then submit objective reports detailing their experience. These reports are submitted to the company for review.

According to a recent Market Size report, more than 8 million mystery shops were performed last year. This includes a vast array of industries, and these numbers continue to grow each year.

Click here to learn more about the services we can provide. Ann Michaels has the ability to create a package of programs to best suit your needs.

 Why Use a Mystery Shopping Program?

Mystery shopping (also referred to as "secret shopping" or "silent shopping") is used in almost every industry on a regular basis. As the focus on customer service increases, the need for objective evaluations of your business increase as well. The level and quality of service you deliver to your customers is vital to your company's success. Your customers' total experience with your company and your staff dictate whether your company will succeed or fail...whether you will be profitable or not.

Simply having expectations about what sort of experience your customers will have is not have to measure, you have to inspect. Objective, anonymous, third-party assessments of the customer experience will provide the information you need to ensure that your expectations for customer experience are carried out in reality.

In addition to providing the results of each mystery shopping experience, Ann Michaels also provides you with a multitude of analytical reports, which can help you in quickly identifying areas that are exceptional as well as areas that are in need of improvement. You can drill down into specific locations, or review information by a specific employee to get the best information for your company. Click on this link to view a demo of our reporting capabilities, which are available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 Why is Mystery Shopping So Valuable?

Mystery shopping programs are valuable because...

Most customers who have unsatisfactory experiences will not complain...they will just never come back.

Dissatisfied customers are likely to tell many others about their experience, who in turn may avoid doing business with the retailer.

The use of mystery shopping provides independent and impartial feedback, which reduces any perception of favoritism in employee incentive programs.

This impartial feedback allows you to evaluate employee performance and sales skills in a way that you could not do otherwise. Additionally, you can easily use the analytical reports to review the data collected and improve customer service levels across all employees.

Mystery shopping helps determine whether customers' actual experiences are as intended.

Shopping programs can identify areas of training that are working particularly well and which areas need improvement.

 Frequently Asked Questions

How does the program work?

Ann Michaels will customize a survey based on your company’s needs. Mystery shoppers will then be employed to conduct mystery shops – this will happen without the retailer’s or employee’s knowledge. Objective reports are completed, which are sent directly to the retailer.

Can I use Mystery Shopping once in a while to “check in” on my employees?
This is possible; however, it is best to use the program on a regular basis to track results and maintain your expectations of your employees. Companies typically have the option of shopping bimonthly or monthly. Based on our results, our suggestion is to maintain a monthly schedule to achieve the best results.

Is Mystery Shopping expensive? Is it worth the cost?
Mystery shopping can actually increase revenue! While it may be an expense in the beginning, the results and data available to you are well worth the cost of starting a program.In most cases, we can actually show you how the cost of your program is offset by the increase in revenue.

Isn't it easier and less expensive to get feedback from our customers?
There is a difference between mystery shopping and customer feedback programs. Mystery shopping is an objective, third party program to evaluate your business. Mystery shoppers are specifically trained on your standards and expectations of your staff, and the information they provide you is objective and unbiased. Customer feedback, on the other hand, is information directly from your customers about their opinions of their experience. Both mystery shopping and customer feedback are extremely valuable, and it is recommended to use both types of programs to fully evaluate the service provided. However, they are not interchangeable; you cannot use customer feedback to evaluate such things as wait times, as most customers do not specifically time how long they wait in line or wait to receive assistance. Likewise, you will not get opinions from mystery shoppers about their visit. They will only provide objective and mesureable information.

 Starting A Mystery Shopping Program

It is very simple to learn more about how Ann Michaels can start a mystery shopping program to meet your needs and assist you with improving customer service levels:

1. View the list of our services to determine which you are most interested in. You can use this link to view our complete list.

2. Contact us at 630-922-7804 ext 102 or via email if that is more convenient. When you contact us, please be prepared to discuss your company needs, how many locations you have, and what your customer service concerns are. From there, our Business Development Manager will assist you in determining what type of program would best meet your needs.

3. Once you are ready to start the program, you will be in close contact with the General Manager at Ann Michaels. Your program will be discussed in detail and a survey will be created to measure your specific needs. From there, your program will start and you will be seeing results very soon!

Thank you for taking the time to learn about mystery shopping! If you still have questions or would like to speak to someone about the details of your program, please do not hesitate to call us directly at 630-922-7804 ext 102 or contact us via email. We look forward to working with you!