Three Top Tips for Selecting a Mystery Shopping Provider
First, you are no doubt going to do some desktop research, it is the obvious place to start. Does your gut feeling tell you this company is going to walk the walk? Are they active on all media channels and do they look like a dynamic responsive organisation that is going to work hard on your account? Is there immediate evidence this company seems to treat all stakeholders well? You may also want to check if they follow the Mystery Shopper Provider Association code of conduct (MSPA).
Top Tip 1 – Start with the Mystery Shoppers and visit a Mystery Shopper Facebook page
To begin with, start with the Shoppers not the clients. What do their shoppers say about them? Mystery Shoppers are not employees; they are almost all self-employed. Nevertheless, you should look at shopper-engagement in the same way you would look at employee engagement. It really is just as important. The shoppers are the people who will come into your business and interface with your staff and provide that “gold dust” feedback that makes gathering consumer insight so important. Can you imagine a scenario when a shopper will do his/her very best if they are worried that they won’t get paid on time or if there is any suggestion the company does not treat its shoppers well? Do your research and visit the shopper Facebook page to see whether recent communication gives you comfort that the shoppers are at the heart of the company’s plans. Can you find evidence the company looks after its shopper team and offers them training and support?
Top Tip 2 – Although it is convenient to have the meeting at your office, our top tip is to take the time to go to the mystery shopping providers HQ and get “under the hood”.
Get under the hood. Once you have shortlisted, why not meet at the mystery shopper company’s head office and see it in action. Proinsight is based at the Metal Box, a Workspace building with multiple businesses under one roof. Mostly we hold meetings at client’s premises and when our clients or prospective clients come to us, we meet downstairs in the lobby area or trendy Metal Box café. The downstairs area at our office complex is a hive of business activity and the perfect spot to meet. It is designed for that very purpose and the coffee is good too! But you should still come upstairs and see the Proinsight office, look at the activity levels, speak to any member of our team about the role they play. We are in the business of insight and you are looking for an insight partner. By taking just fifteen minutes to look at the “engine room” you will get much more of a feel as to whether we, or any other provider, can really back up what the glossy brochure says.
Top Tip 3 – It will take 30 minutes more but pick up the phone and speak to clients of your choice.
What do their other clients say about them? As with any process when you are trying to find a new partner, pick up the phone to at least two of their existing clients. Do not allow yourself to be pointed in the direction of one or two favoured clients, although this might be useful if they are in your sector. You should choose who you speak to out of all the company’s clients, not just the ones the company knows it will get rave review from. The big takeaway from this is to actually pick up the phone. The easy way out is a quick exchange of email, but just like it is worth making the effort to visit the office, you will get much more insight from a call with a client than an email exchange.
Although we promised just three top tips, here is a bonus fourth!
The world has changed for all of us over the past 12 months as the country is back in lockdown due to Covid-19. If you are looking for a mystery shopping company to help you out of lockdown and beyond, look at what the mystery shopping company has done during lockdown. Is their evidence the company has evolved and responded well? Better still have they developed specific products that can help you.
The Extra Tip – Your business has changed, investigate the options for a Covid-ready mystery shop.
If you would like more information about how Proinsight can provide you with customer insights via mystery shopping, please fill out the form below: