Mystery Shopping and more!

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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