What is "Mystery Shopping"?

Mystery Shopping is commonly used for taking snapshots of the product and service quality of businesses and improving the level of understanding of the customer experience. It is performed by trained researchers who act as regular customers at different service touch points. A valuable advantage of Mystery Shopping is the ability to test this both against corporate service standards and from customers' perspective.

Mystery Shopping is widely used throughout the world by companies that are willing to invest in improving their service standards. Its return on investment is considered among the highest in the research industry. Many companies now include Mystery Shopping exercises into their annual action plans as an important means of achieving their financial goals.

Traditional results of Mystery Shopping are generally based on qualitative results used by marketers and customer service managers to identify performance gaps. However, the global scene is full of examples of unstructured, inadequate or impaired Mystery Shopping practices which provide a distorted vision of the service performance and are often far away from providing reliable insights to base corporate strategies upon.

A three dimensional approach to Mystery Shopping

With years of international Mystery Shopping experience and trend watching expertise, Micent® has successfully followed developments in marketing and service management scene, identifying the missing elements of traditional Mystery Shopping. As a result, Micent® offers its clients the contemporary research methodology of the future: The 3D Mystery Shopping™.

As the world's distribution and communication channels became highly fragmented, and the number of service touch points continue to multiply, it is no longer sufficient to measure service performance solely through face to face, telephone or e-mail interactions. Furthermore, customers are more selective and more demanding when buying goods and services and eager to share their positive or negative experiences with others. These trends dictate new standards of measuring customer experience where simple numerical scores are no longer adequate for understanding true dynamics of service performance. Micent®'s 3D Mystery Shopping™ methodology provides a holistic and multi perspective approach with a detailed and objective assessment of all aspects of service delivery and human resource performance. In addition to our comparative quantitative ranking system our qualitative recommendations are based solely on factual evidence and direct observations reflecting internationally recognised standards.

Dimensions of 3D Mystery ShoppingTM methodology

3D Mystery Shopping™ is based on a modular methodology blending a series of structured benchmarks grouped into three key areas of People, Platforms and Perceptions, which determine the overall customer experience and satisfaction.

People are the key component of any type of service provision, and Micent® puts a great deal of emphasis on soft and hard skills of staff, together with positive and negative service extremities, in order to provide accurate and balanced insights across different distribution channels.

Platform performance is often under-estimated by companies, which results in serious customer dissatisfaction and churn problems. We have developed detailed evaluation and usability tests which highlight the strengths and weaknesses of delivery platforms, such as physical environment, premises, online and digital outlets.

Sales, marketing and customer service are no longer an intimate interaction between companies and their customers. Due to the growing global networking, customers continuously share their perceptions of products, services and brands online, which has forever changed the rules of marketing. Micent® consultants know how to keep their finger on the pulse of your customers' views, reviews, likes or dislikes through a careful analysis across different channels and platforms.

Businesses may choose to conduct extended customer journey mapping and service blueprinting exercises for a holistic view of performance flaws and improvement opportunities.