We are the Mystery Shoppers for business websites.
Mystery shopping services have been a staple for department stores and restaurants for years as a way to evaluate customer experiences and service. Because employees are unaware of the secret customer’s identity, the shopper receives the same service as every other visitor that day. The process lets stores detect potential problems with service, access and client representatives.
A survey by American Express in 2011 examined the business effects of good vs. poor customer service, providing support for the value of mystery shopping programs. Mystery shopper programs hire qualified consumers to measure the extent to which a visitor’s interactions with a company reflect the experiences the business desires. They evaluate how well a company’s promises stand up to the real customer environment.
Bricks and Clicks
Many traditional companies are now turning to the Internet to improve sales. As online shopping and e-commerce grows in popularity, the need for similar programs on the Internet is apparent. Companies and IT departments believe they know their websites and how well the sites work. However, finding out what real customers think is crucial. Online mystery shopping programs are not the same as website reviews, which concern themselves with the appearance of a site more than the functionality of the site.
E-commerce clearly needs mystery shopper programs, as shown by the American Express study. That research revealed that 78 percent of consumers have cancelled a transaction or not completed an intended online purchase due to a poor customer experience on the website. At the same time, three out of five visitors indicated a willingness to try a new company or brand to get a better web service experience.
Unfortunately, many online businesses still rely on a “customer contact form” or an email link for customers to use when reporting a problem. These are ineffective, add to the workload of the support staff, and can even be targeted by spam programs. Only web-based mystery shopping providers can give business owners and executives true insights into how the company is performing at the internet point of interaction with the customer.
Unbiased third-party secret shoppers objectively document their experiences and help businesses understand what average consumers experience online. They clearly show what areas of customer interaction and website functionality need improvement. Online customers come and go with the click of a mouse. It is essential that businesses find what they want and provide the products, services, and ease of purchase demanded in the e-commerce world.