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Customer Service Tips: Improve Your Business by Becoming a Mystery Shopper

Customer Service Tips: Improve Your Business by Becoming a Mystery Shopper

Delivering excellent customer satisfaction should be your business’s priority; without happy customers, your business is just an expensive hobby. Are your employees properly trained to assist your customers? Is your website helping or hurting your online sales? What do your customers face when returning a product?

Answer these questions by following this week’s customer service tips that teach you how to become your own mystery shopper. To dramatically improve your customer’s experience and exceed their expectations, you first must learn where you’re falling short.  

Customer Service Tips on Mystery Shopping for Better Business


What Exactly Does a Mystery Shopper Do?

Mystery shoppers are people hired by a company to pose as shoppers and perform certain tasks, such as:    

  • • Observing store cleanliness and appearance.
  • • Asking a lot of questions to multiple employees.
  • • Purchasing products or ordering services.  
  • • Making returns and/or making difficult requests.  
  • • Acting as a stressor and reporting how they’re treated.

You can outsource this job to an objective third-party if you have room in your budget. But if you don’t have the extra cash to invest in a contractor, go ahead and perform the mystery shopping on your own. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything a business owner needs to know about mystery shopping.    

Mystery Shop Your Ranking on Google

Start your mystery-shopping trip by deciding on a product you want to buy. Try shopping for your business’s most popular product. This will give you great ideas on how to improve your current marketing approach on your most sought after merchandise. Or, if you’re looking to launch a new product, go ahead and use that to perform preliminary market research on how you should sell it in the future.

Google search the product and try to find a company that sells them online. What websites and/or companies are ranked highest? What words are you typing into Google to find the product? Make note of your global competitors; product price points; and, any other information that’ll help you make clear comparisons between you and the competition. 

Take your search a step further by trying to find the product in your specific area. Add your city or state into the Google search box and make a note of your local competitors. Try to find your website when searching for the specific product you’re looking to buy. Unless you have a very small niche or have little to no local competition, chances are your site is not going to be on the first page.   

When you find your website in the search results, make a note of what landing page you’re taken to. Is the product you’re looking for on the page you landed on? If not, can you easily locate information for the product you’re researching?      

Mystery Shop Your Website

Next, go to your home page and attempt to learn more about the product you’re mystery shopping. How easy is it for you to find information, pricing and details about the product? Remember, finding the products on your website should be as easy and straightforward as possible.   

In our recently published article, 15 Ways to Deliver a Killer Customer Experience Online, we discuss how to audit and improve your customer’s journey through your site. Read the article to learn customer service tips and how to:

  • • Attract New Customers with an Eye-Pleasing Design
  • • Make Your Site as User Friendly as Possible
  • • Entertain or Educate Customers to Get Them to Stay
  • • Offer Help Throughout Your Site for Easy Navigation           
  • • Encourage Customers to Come Back and Visit Again

If you’ve got an eCommerce site and accept online orders, make certain you focus on your “buy now” customer journey. Is it easy to buy from your website? Check it out and make notes of things you like; steps that are difficult or confusing; and areas that need to be improved.

Mystery Shop Your Employees

It’s a well-known fact, employees act differently at work when their bosses aren’t around. Whether they’re having a bad day or were not trained properly, mystery shopping gives you the anonymity to find out how your staff performs.  

Try any of the following stealthy ways to discover how your employees treat your customers on an everyday basis. 

  • Start a Chat

Test out your online customer service agent’s knowledge of your website and products. Can your CS agents navigate online customers through the site? Are they able to answer your FAQs in a timely and professional manner?      

  • Send an Email 

Go straight to your contact page and send an email. Who gets a copy of the email? Do you receive an auto confirmation that your message was sent? Who responds? Are you happy with their response?

  • Fill Out a Support Ticket

Test out your online support system and ask a technical question in your inquiry. How long does it take an expert to respond? Was the advice given accurate?   

  • Call Your Business 

Disguise your voice and call your 1-800 number or your main number advertised on your website. Pretend to be a new customer and ask questions about the product you’re looking for. Ask questions about company policies and practices. 

  • Stop by a Location 

If possible, pop by your busiest and slowest locations to make note of how your retail shops are being received. Are your products featured in a satisfying way? Are your bathrooms clean and presentable? How are your employees’ demeanors and attitudes?    

If you’re easily recognized in your company, send a trusted person to mystery shop and report directly back to you.

Order your product during any of the situations above and make notes about your purchase. If you started a web chat, ask the customer service agent for a link to buy the product. If you called in, consider providing payment via telephone to determine how telephonic orders are processed and received.     

Mystery Shop the Post-Purchase Experience

You’ve made your purchase and now, just like a customer, are waiting to see what the next steps are. Answer the following general questions to gauge the post-purchase experience:

  • • How difficult was it to purchase the product?
  • • Were there any issues with the shopping cart?
  • • Was the delivery fee clearly stated before confirming the purchase?
  • • Do you know what the return policies are?
  • • Did you receive an email confirming the purchase?
  • • If mailed, how long did it take to reach you?
  • • Was there anything extraordinary about the purchase or delivery?
  • • Did the quality of the product meet or exceed your expectations?

Come to a full customer service circle by calling or emailing to complain about the product you received. How are your customer complaints handled? Are your employees properly trained in empathy, compassion and caller control when assisting with a return of the product? Would you trust the company to order a replacement or are you dissatisfied and want a full refund?

Review Your Experience and Make Changes

Sit down with your team and go through the entire mystery shop experience. Let them know what services are exceptional and what areas need to be improved. Sharing your data also gives your team the ability to put their input into the solution.    

We Hope These Customer Service Tips Inspire You to Try Out Mystery Shopping!

During this mystery shopping experiment, did you learn that your business’s customer service is not good enough? One of our customer service tips is to outsource your lines to our 24-hour digital call center, A Courteous Communications.  

We’re experts when it comes to providing elite customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Give us a call at 1-800-785-6161 to discuss your business’s specific needs with our account specialist and learn how we can help.

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