How many times have you formed an opinion of a business based on how you were treated? Whether it was at a grocery store, a doctor’s office or even a market research facility, we’ve all had both good and bad customer service experiences and memorable stories to tell.

Because we believe it’s the way we’re treated as consumers which can make or break a business, it makes sense that there’s significant value to understanding how your business falls qualitatively – especially if there’s room to make improvements. And, let’s face it, even the best have off days!

Secret Shopper

Image Credit: http://goo.gl/21GHZ6

So, the question is, how do you learn more about what your customers experience first hand, and how do you discern a one-off experience from a consistent problem that needs addressing? Sure, you can read the comments and suggestions from your own website or even from social websites such as Yelp. But, these spaces typically become cluttered and inundated with negative one-off experiences. Unless you have a lot of customers that are willing to take time out of their day to actually write about you, it’s difficult to effectively measure these experiences and pin-point specific downfalls in which to improve.

A great method for collecting this type of qualitative data is mystery shopping. This term may evoke thoughts of sending women incognito into big box shops with cash in their handbags, but it’s actually much less exclusive to “shopping.” This method of research could involve making a series of phone calls to customer services centers, doctor’s offices, or whatever the target location may be for the study, and comparing the results over a span of time. Using this methodology, the research has the same first hand experiences that the consumer would and is able to collect and record a series of pertinent data for the client’s executive team to review. The collected data is then used by the client to improve internal processes which in turn better the consumers experience. Do you want to know how your employees interact with your customers? A Mediabarn mystery shopping experience may be what you need!

Posted in client, Research, tips, user research.

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