Why Mystery Shopping Is Here to Stay

April 28, 2017

It should surprise no one that the marketplace is changing rapidly as sales and services move to the Internet.  And with the long, slow decline and consolidation of brick and mortar, one couldn’t be blamed for wondering about how a business could compete in this evolving landscape.

As storefronts move to the Internet and as many of these websites race to the bottom in price, customer service is more important than it’s ever been.  After all, a physical store will find it difficult to compete with a website that has far less overhead.  Instead, a business will need to value-add with its products and services in order to stay relevant, and nothing is more valuable than having a reputation for engaging with and really taking care of customers.  Many people are willing to pay more for that extra mile.

Even Amazon, the behemoth online retailer, recognizes the importance of maintaining a face-to-face relationship with customers, which is why the company is opening 100 physical stores in 2017 alone.  Despite its success with using slick product images and buzz-wordy descriptions, Amazon knows it must put its products in the hands of customers and let them interact with salespeople in order to close the deal with many people.  It’s a special touch that a URL can’t provide.

So what about mystery shopping?  Is it still as relevant today as it was during the height of physical retail?  Yes, because customer service is more critical than it’s ever been, the need to measure and improve that service is as urgent as ever.  There’s no better toolset for businesses than what mystery shopping provides.  And it works, as the president of Office Depot has credited as the source of that company's turnaround.

And even if your business has (or plans to have) a major web presence, just like Amazon and Office Depot, it’s important to make sure these two different channels complement one another.  Again, the feedback that mystery shopping provides will prove invaluable because it will tell you what customers really think.

So in the end, mystery shopping is here to stay because customer service is here to stay.  To learn more about how to equip your business with the tools it needs to survive this new era and how to stick out in the face of online competition, contact us at The Brandt Group.

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