Ever wonder how your employees perform when you're not watching? A mystery shopper can help you find out.
Mystery shoppers pretend to be customers and provide an evaluation of your employees' performances. The reports can be used to improve customer service, develop training, and reward workers for superior performance. If you use a shopping service that's also a private investigation company, it can provide reports on employee honesty.
Silia A. Smiley owns SAS Associates in Bettendorf, Iowa, which provides investigations, protective shopping, business consulting and loss prevention services. Smiley offers these tips:
Decide what you want from the service. Do you want to measure customer service or identify training needs, or are you concerned about possible theft?
Ask about the shoppers' backgrounds. You want a service with professionals trained in observation skills.
Check references. Find out what other clients think of the service.
Make a commitment. Commit to at least one year and have a shopper report on each location once or twice a month.
Look for mystery shopping services in your telephone directory under "protective shopping" or "price comparison shopping"; also check under "market research" and "investigative services."