Top Benefits You Enjoy From a Mystery Shopper Audit
Jun 27, 2016
The Mystery Shopper Audit is one of our most popular services for a number of reasons – low cost, practical recommendations that generate more sales/enrollments, and the peace of mind that comes from having experienced professionals take a look at how you attract and nurture leads.
What exactly is a Mystery Shopper Audit?
The intent of the Mystery Shopper Audit is to experience your organization just like your customer experiences your organization. The Audit allows us to see “how things work” and react/evaluate that experience based on specific criteria.
For example, when we work with colleges, we can play the role of a “prospective student” that is coming to the college’s web site in order to request information about a specific program. In this instance, we want to [a] see how easy it is to request information and [b] see how the college responds over the course of [ex] 2-weeks in terms of providing the information requested and qualifying/prioritizing/nurturing the lead.
Based on that, our first ‘audit point’ is the home page of the web site. We examine the page, searching for a way to ‘request information’ about a specific program. Is the toll free number prominently displayed? Is there an form or link to a form?
Then we can score what we see based on pre-determined criteria – full points for a web form for information requests at the top of the home page to no points for no visible web form or link to a web form.
The purpose is never to point the finger, assign blame – it’s to identify opportunities for improvement. Things to test in order to see if performance can be improved.
And it’s amazing what a fresh set of eyes with experience can identify as opportunities – let alone the experience itself.
Some examples of Mystery Shopper Audit Findings
We tend to find two types of opportunities during the Audit. The first is what we call “tech failure” – and the most common example is the web form that doesn’t work. Either you complete the form, click ‘Submit’ and get an error message OR everything seems to work but the data never makes it to the CRM so you never receive any follow up.
The only way to uncover these issues is by testing the process from the outside, just like a customer would. And these issues happen more often than you would think!
The other type of opportunity identified is what we call “it’s always been done that way” and a common example of this is failure to leverage the technology. Here’s what I mean by that – Customer A comes to your site and expresses interest in Product Z. Your response is the same for Customer A as it is for Customer B through Z. But Customer A has unique needs and wants and expectations – so they really need their own response.
In this realm, we hear a lot of “…IT told us the web form had to include all those fields…” and “…we don’t know how to modify the emails in the system…” and “…we didn’t realize we could take that approach…”
Basically, it’s a mix of not understanding the technology (training) and experience. Which is why having outside expertise with experience and familiarity with the technology is so valuable.
Benefit You Enjoy From The Mystery Shopper Audit
Here are the top benefits you enjoy with the Mystery Shopper Audit:
Low cost, high return.
When we sit down with a potential client that is interested in the Mystery Shopper Audit, we identify what “success” means to them – and then we discuss how we can set up a process for capturing the data necessary to answer “Was this a success?”
Typically, our clients will see a 15 to 1 return on their investment – if not more. You noticed I said “Typically…” and the reason for that is that some have elected to accept our recommendations and then not act on them. That’s outside our control…we can lead you to water but …
Adds Nothing to Your Workload
Beyond telling us “Get started!” and spending about 45 minutes discussing our findings and recommendations, the Audit requires no work on your part. And as you will see in the next benefit, the recommendations focus on refocusing resources and leveraging your capabilities in order to replace X with Y rather than adding Y to everything else on your plate.
Specific, practical, actionable recommendations.
Our team has been in your seat and we know how frustrating it can be to have someone make recommendations that just aren’t feasible. We know you have limited budgets. A limited number of staff. And that staff has specific expertise with only so much time in the day to perform their duties.
That’s why we come back with “…instead of doing X, shift the resources to Z and test it in the following way…” Another way of putting it is we help you work smarter rather than harder- which is a good thing!
Focus on improving results.
What we recommend is tied to improving performance – none of this ‘change for change sake’. We will explain why we believe doing X rather than Y will [ex]improve conversion rates, retention/loyalty, lifetime value, lower the cost per sale, increase the average order size….
Peace of Mind
Marketers are constantly worrying and wondering about what their audience is experiencing with the competition – and in some cultures, the rest of the organization can be really tough on marketing as well. Well, part of our feedback is a comparison to what other businesses/colleges are doing so you can benchmark your efforts.
Let’s Discuss Your Mystery Shopper Audit Today!
The typical Audit is finished in less than 4 weeks so you can start putting the recommendations to work – and seeing the improvements ASAP. To learn more about the Mystery Shopper Audit, call us at 651-666-0934.
Patrick McGraw is VP of Higher Educaton Marketing Services and has more than 25 years experience in market research, competitive intelligence, business intelligence including database marketing and CRM, strategic planning, brand development and management as well as operations/campaign management. His work has consistently helped his clients and employers develop and implement more efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers, enter new markets and launch new products. His areas of focus include the education, hospitality, travel and tourism, hi-tech, telecommunications, financial services, and retail industries on both the agency and customer sides.