Why real-time, in-store customer experience surveys will give retailers more effective results than a mystery shopper

Do you really, really, know how your customers feel about you? You may already use mystery shoppers to get their opinions, but do you actually talk to your customers, in the way a real-time, in-store survey would?

Retailers and shoppers will rejoice together this Black Friday. For retailers, it is the chance to fill their stores with busy shoppers and steal a march on their competitors, while for the customers it’s a golden opportunity to get their hands on some fantastic deals and bargains in time for Christmas. 

For years, retailers have relied on mystery shopping to gauge their customers’ experience. 

But times have changed, and mystery shopping is no longer the powerful tool it once was. There is a better, more accurate, way of measuring customer feedback. 

By using real-time, continual in-store surveys, retailers can quickly capture customers’ feelings and feedback at the point of experience and, crucially, report trends. 

Assessing trends is something mystery shopping simply cannot do and, as we approach Black Friday 2018, which falls on November 23, there is no better time for retailers to consider dumping their mystery shopping for point of experience surveys. 

After all, why not reap the benefits all year around rather than just Black Friday? 

What are the cons of mystery shopping? 

Mystery shopping has been used by businesses around the world for eons. Individuals will pose as shoppers to secretly gather information about what customers like or dislike about products, services and store policies. 

They will give you an insight into what the customer is thinking, but it’s only a mere glimpse and, in reality, not all that effective or beneficial to your business. 

Mystery shopping does have its benefits, but we feel they are now pretty outdated when you compare it to our point of experience surveys. 

The drawbacks of mystery shopping are: 

·         It’s just one moment in time. A mystery shopper’s experience in a store is focused only on that one visit, which they report back on as if it was typical of the experience. It might have been a really busy day; a member of staff might be having a bad day; or conversely the staff might have been having a great day and were polite and friendly and helpful; other shoppers might be causing a disturbance or were proving difficult; or the store might have been short on staff. It’s not an accurate account of the overall experience. 

·         It can’t analyse trends and data. No trends are being reported because a mystery shopper is just one person making one visit. The data volume will be low because, after all, one shopper can only gather so much information. 

·         The impact on staff. How will staff feel if they believe they are dealing with a mystery shopper? It could make them anxious or behave differently with customers, which will not be a true reflection of how they usually deal with customers. 

·         Is the mystery shopper biased? However unbiased the mystery shopper claims to be, the experience is entirely subjective and personal bias could affect the validity of the results. 

·         It’s just not regular enough. A mystery shopper will tell you how one type of customer shops – because it’s mainly one person’s view – but not how all types of customers will shop. There is a distinct lack of comparison and further research will be required to tell the true story.

Why real-time customer surveys are better 

Consider this: What if EVERY customer was a mystery shopper? 

What if you gave every visitor the opportunity to tell you what they liked and disliked about your business, your products, your services there and then, right at the point of experience

Not only would it give you information that allows you to take action and improve your organisation, but it would actively demonstrate that you care about your customers and their opinions. 

A business’s most powerful tool is their customers. They know what they like, what they dislike, they can tell you everything you need to know about their experience. 

So why not ask them? They are your most valuable asset and, if they are happy with you, they will tell their friends, their family, their colleagues. They become your brand promoters. 

With a point of experience survey in place in your store, you will get feedback as it happens and see first-hand the benefits of real-time trends being reported. 

The pros of real-time in-store surveys: 

·         A more representative idea of what customers are thinking. Relying on a mystery shopper’s subjective feedback will not match the opinions of all your customers. So getting data straight from the horse’s mouth will give you a more representative picture of what your customers think. 

·         Trends. A mystery shopper might spot an incident, but they might also miss a trend. Real-time reporting will tell you what’s happening right there and then, enabling you to act on that information straight away. 

·         Authenticity. A mystery shopper is acting out a role as a customer, and they will have certain targets they are aiming for. But the real customer will rate their whole experience from their point of view, giving you a more accurate point of view. 

·         Happier staff. If your staff are aware that they could be assessed by a mystery shopper they will behave differently, and possibly negatively. You can avoid that by using real-time surveys and therefore removing any suspicion and doubt, making the whole experience more natural and genuine. 

·         It’s less expensive. Compared to mystery shoppers, in-store surveys are cheaper. They require less manpower, and everything is done in an instant electronically. 

·         Speed is of the essence. In-store surveys are quick and immediate, giving you that valuable feedback right on the spot. Shoppers have to think about their experience there and then. 

·         Your customers. If they know they can easily and quickly give their opinion, they are more likely to do so. They value the opportunity to voice their opinions. 

Is it time you changed your mystery shopper for an in-store survey? 

Customer surveys are becoming more and more popular, and a more effective accurate way of gauging what your customer is thinking about your business right at the point of experience. 

The mystery shopper is lagging behind, playing catch-up. There is no better time to think about how you tap into your customers’ thoughts, because it will make you better informed about them and help you make better decisions based on their experiences, for the benefit of your business. 

We make point of experience feedback quick and simple with our cool feedback tools, such as our wonderful Buzz Box, and instant reporting capabilities. 

Our point of experience surveys will capture the feelings of your customers as they happen, for the benefit of your business and your future customers. 

We will provide you with the tools, experience and support, making sure that any feedback you collect allows you to take action positively. 

What is a Buzz Box? 

The Buzz Box is one of the coolest little feedback devices we have ever seen. The Buzz Box is like your best friend. 

Giving you snippets of data every day, the Buzz Box is quick, simple and transparent, and is a really great tool for quick insight. In high footfall areas like retail, it is invaluable. 

With our Buzz Box, you will get: 

·         Quick completion time (20 seconds) 

·         Proven success in a wide range of environments (retail, HR, banking, airlines) 

·         Simple, closed questions 

·         Daily data transfer 

·         Plug and play setup (no IT required) 

·         Long battery life 

·         Use fixed or portable 

·         Unlimited feedback with your annual licence 

If you would like to know more about our in-store surveys, and our loveable Buzz Boxes, please give us a call on 0203 747 5730, or drop us a line here. We look forward to hearing from you, and to helping your business grow.