Mystery Shopping and more!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How best to follow-up?

The act or an instance of following up, as to further an end or to review new developments:

The follow-up is often as important as the initial contact in gaining new clients.

It is really simple -
You send a proposal, you follow-up with your prospect;
You offer some services, you follow-up with your Customer for repeat business;
You sell a product, you follow-up with your Consumer to get feedback.

All this to better your business by improving your Customer Service offerings.

Follow-up is an act which resonates with your Client or Customer, which says that 'You Care'. It need not be an aggressive or a mechanical act - rather it is a must which helps any business improve through regular feedback as well as ensuring that the Client remembers you FIRST when he is on the lookout for a follow-up purchase!

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Friday, September 18, 2009



The first recorded employee evaluations were held in the late 1940’s in the United States when banks and retail stores hired Private investigators to check the integrity of their Staff Members. These investigators posed as employees to keep an eye on the employees. Later, everyday services used by customers were evaluated by these investigators and the term “Mystery Shopping” was coined. It was the use of pre-recruited and qualified consumers (typically independent contractors) or professional staff trained to evaluate a business anonymously using a prescribed evaluation form.


The industry is growing rapidly due to presence of the Internet. Now the industry evaluates a wide spectrum of areas covering customer service within several different industries. Along with retail chains and banks, movie theaters, restaurants, fast food chains, petrol pumps, car dealerships, Automobile service centers, Health clubs and health care facilities also use Mystery Shopping services. It has evolved from a method to monitor bad employees to an indication of the customer service, customer satisfaction and retention of any business. It has evolved into a 1.5 billion dollars world wide industry. Audio and video documentation is another innovation which has improved the reliability and accuracy of the reports.


The next focus of attention for Mystery Service Providers across the world and especially in India could be the largely untapped public sector. The general apathy towards work present in any government run business could be easily addressed by timely reviews with proper documentation. Just the knowledge of the existence of such a service could deter corruption and inefficiency.
The innovations in the hardware and communication industry could enable live telecast of a mystery visit which combined with live score displays could enable prompt decision making to improve the business. This will also introduce flexibility in the review as the reviewer could be informed about a change in scenario while in the outlet. With the advance of technology, the possibilities of innovations in this business are endless

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Has recession affected the Mystery Shopping business?

The crash of the U.S banking structure has had a profound impact on the history of world economy. The effect of the slowdown was felt evenly across the globe across all sectors. India and China were tipped to be economic power horses by 2025 and both countries were saved from a total crash because of certain regulatory principles followed in both countries. The Market Research business like any other business had to bear the brunt of the recession, but this was partially negated by the core principle behind the Mystery Shopping business i,e. “Better Customer Service, Bigger profits”.

Some companies had to cut-down on their expenses; so many a programs were cancelled. But then there were other businesses that realised that one factor that couldn’t be compromised on was the performance of the sales staff. When sales volumes are low, the key is to have the best sales staff on hand to provide optimum service to the customers. The key was to convert every potential customer into a guaranteed sale. This led to the customer service factor becoming more important than before. Lack of motivation among the employees due to pay cuts and insecurities regarding their jobs could have an adverse effect on their performance on the sales floor. Timely reviews and appreciation of the Star employees has certainly addressed this problem to a certain extent.

The world economy is on a slow road to recovery, but the Mystery Shopping Industry is moving slightly faster.

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