Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mystery shopping and the customer experience

The year has started with several requests for mystery or secret shops. I could or should have expected it. Why? Because aside from being used for measuring quality, mystery shops are an excellent tool for developing customer experiences. And, the focus on unique customer experiences is increasing, also outside of the hospitality and entertainment industries.

While mystery shops are great for checking out the competitor, auditing prices, and checking the integrity of team members, I believe the thrust has been to measure quality and whether team members adhere to certain standards when providing service.

But now, companies are going a step further, to use mystery shops to help them develop a unique experience or to measure if they have been successful in providing the experience they sought to create.

An example: Some time ago I walked into the lobby of a hotel. One of the first things my eyes rested on was a garbage can: a clean, empty and neatly placed garbage can. In traditional mystery shops that would not necessarily be counted as a negative. After all, nothing was done wrong and nothing was filthy. But when trying to map (or create) the customer journey, it certainly will because who wants to have a view of a garbage can.

And, by the way, creating a unique experience is as easy in a small market and for a small business as it is in a large market and for big business.


  1. I am really interested in the mystery shopping and the customer experience as i would like to become a mystery shopper myself one day.

  2. Cherise, thank you for your post. The first one! You are lucky because we are constantly recruiting shoppers and consumer panel members. Other interested people, please send me you contact information at