Brands succeed or fail based on the experiences they deliver. That's why it makes sense to monitor and provide constructive feedback on the experience. One way of accomplishing this is through mystery or secret shoppers. These people are trained to experience the brand as a typical shopper would, while taking notes on the brand experience itself.
This is very useful for retail and other location based brands, but can also work for online and telephone shopping and customer service experiences.
Here are some of the things mystery shoppers should look out for:
- The length of time they had to wait to be served
- How many steps it took to be served
- Whether the first person they encountered was able to get them what they needed or whether they had to go through several people
- Whether they were able to get what they came for
- Whether all of their questions were answered well
- Whether they were treated with respect
- Whether they felt listened to
- Whether they were made to feel special
- Whether the sales or service people were polite
- Whether the sales or service people were knowledgeable
- How complicated or simple the transaction was
- How many times they had to provide the same information or repeat themselves
- The ambience of the place
- Adjectives to describe the experience - entertaining, energizing, nurturing, calming, engaging, educational, informative, boring, maddening, etc.
- The emotions evoked by the experience
- Whether the experience enhanced their perceptions of the brand, detracted from it or had no impact at all
If your brand provides any type of customer experience, you should know what kind of experience it is delivering and if it is not delivering what you had intended for it to, how to fix the problem and improve the experience. I wish you much success in this endeavor.
More information on mystery shopping and other research approaches, read the brand research chapter in Brand Aid, second edition, available here.