If you are interested in conducting mystery shops for your business, it may seem straightforward enough to conduct on your own. Mystery shopping is a market research methodology in which information is collected from a business by undercover researchers posing as consumers.
This is often done to assess a competitor’s company or even your own company to gain a more accurate perspective on customer experience.
You might as well send one of your employees to scope out the business, right? I would caution anybody to hit the brakes before they dive right in. There are numerous factors to consider prior to moving forward with a mystery shopping project in-house. Above all else, you will want to enlist the help of a third-party market research expert.
Here are four arguments for hiring a third-party research company to assist with a mystery shopping effort for your company.
To get the most out of mystery shopping for your company, rely on the experience of a third-party research partner.
1. They have the expertise.
Unless your business has an in-house market research team, you probably don’t have much credible experience with mystery shopping. By partnering with a third-party mystery shopping company, you can be sure the mystery shoppers are asking the best questions and recording the right data.
If store visits are a part of the research, the mystery shoppers will need to be trained on how to inconspicuously obtain information. It is important to not set off any red flags, especially if you are mystery shopping a competitor’s site. Think to yourself, would the average customer ask these questions?
Mystery shopping doesn’t necessarily have to take place in a physical store or location. Mystery shopping services provided by market research companies also include phone calls to sales or customer service representatives.
If mystery shopping calls are being placed, you will need a comprehensive script in many cases for the caller.
2. They reduce the risk.
By handling mystery shopping internally, you are more likely to accidentally reveal your identity as the sponsor. Employees may be able to identify a name, face, or phone number that could sound an alarm. Consider your data worthless if this happens.
It is critical for mystery shoppers to not be treated as anything other than a typical consumer. A known affiliation with the sponsoring company will lead to biased information or a lack of information at all. A third party market research company is careful not to tie any of the outreach back to your business.
Learn more about the value of mystery shopping and how to plan for success.
3. They manage the logistics.
Mystery shopping projects can vary in scale, but always require detailed planning to be successful. Major tasks for any typical initiative include finding experienced mystery shoppers, developing questions/scenarios, scheduling mystery shopping trips/calls, analyzing data, and reporting on findings.
The reason many of our clients who would like to conduct mystery shops reach out to our market research company is because they lack the time and resources to successfully accomplish this study. This research methodology requires a great deal of project management that is needed on top of their already existing responsibilities.
Allow a market research partner, such as Drive Research to step in and give you peace of mind throughout the project.
4. They uncover critical insights.
Lastly, a third-party mystery shopping company is more likely to discover the critical insights you need to make data-driven business decisions. Collecting data and feedback is just the beginning of any market research study.
For example, let's say your organization just gathered data from 20 mystery shopping trips in-house. Where do you go from here? Unless you have an analysis plan, it may be foggy.
Sure, you can cherry-pick interesting bits of information from the trips. However, to get the most value out of the recorded data, you will need to spend time searching for themes and patterns. Who better to get into the weeds of the data than researchers who do it on a regular basis?
You can trust a third-party mystery shopping partner to get the most out of any project. If they are mystery shopping project veterans, revealing the insights and creating actionable recommendations will be second nature.
Curious why third-party market research firms are a good choice for other methodologies, too? Read about five universal benefits here.
Drive Research is a national market research company located in Upstate NY. Our team is well-versed in mystery shopping and experienced with managing these projects from start to finish. We can conduct mystery shops for organizations anywhere in the country.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.