Mystery Shopper: What is the Effectiveness?
24.11.2010 12819

Mystery Shopper: What is the Effectiveness?

People do not buy any product. Only one that has value to them. What do your sellers sell: value or just price? How well do they understand the product? Are they proud of their store? You will not get exact answers to these questions if you ask them directly. Observation, observation and observation again - this is the most reliable option to get a complete picture of the level of service in your store. Moreover, it is desirable that an independent person do the reconnaissance of the service. That is how the technology of Mistery Shopping (“mystery shopper”) appeared.

SR77_Personal_Eсonika_2.jpgThe first Russian shoe network to test the Mistery Shopping method was ECONICA. Here, the "mystery shopper" began to be used back in 2003. Irina Chechel, Marketing Director of ECONIKA Network, spoke about the first results and the current state of affairs of SR.

In the 2003 year, checks with the help of "mystery shoppers" were episodic, and carried out by their own efforts until the sellers in stores remembered all the employees of the office in the face. But then the most important task was to determine not so much the level of service, but how to answer the question: what do people look for in stores besides shoes?

“And what did you understand then?”

“That we work with two products: shoes and a sales service.” And it turned out that the service is no less valuable. How a person feels in a store, how he was met, how he was carried out. By the time of rebranding in 2005, we had decomposed this experience into components. For us, this period has become a time of formation of standards.

Since 2006 of the year, the “mystery shopper” check has been carried out in cassettes centrally and systematically. The method became a real working tool when the standards of the Econika salon were developed. And even then we tied the results of the work of "mystery shoppers" to the salary of sellers.

It is clear that when a person chooses shoes, many factors influence him: the color of the model, the light, the smell and the cleanliness of the store, the politeness of the sellers. In the “mystery shopper,” we can put this elusive atmosphere into pieces and understand what we need to improve in our stores. Another important point: Mistery Shopping is not a one-time event, the most important thing in the audit system is regularity and consistency.

- Do you still carry out a check on your own?

- Usually, a company has either its own division that deals with Mistery Shopping, or enters into an agreement with a counterparty. We went in a non-standard way. We have a full-time employee who is in charge of all inspection matters and conspiratorial better than James Bond. But when we conduct the audit, this specialist collects a temporary team. So the issue is solved with the preservation of "incognito."

- Do you also carry out such checks in regional stores?

- Yes. There we work through a counterparty with whom we conclude an agreement.

- What has changed since the 2003 of the year - in buyers, sellers, service?

- First of all, the requirements of buyers have changed, they have become more demanding. If earlier it was enough just to say a few kind words, now clients have already figured out what is good and what is bad. However, until now, in general, neither buyers nor sellers in our country own a service culture. Russia has always suffered because of a lack of respect for the seller - Europeans notice this.

- So you want to say that in our country a good service is simply not in demand?

- There is a culture of service perception. You can be as kind as you like, but if this is not claimed by people, all efforts will be futile. On the other hand, if buyers are not demanding, then sellers will not be too torn.

- What is primary? Is it possible to cultivate this exactingness through the development of new standards for sellers?

- We are trying to create a special atmosphere in our stores, an atmosphere of increased comfort. Accordingly, the attitude of customers is changing. I will not call this process easy, it is long and painful. Given the turnover of sellers, maintaining a high level of service is especially difficult. But if you do not begin to introduce new standards, then there will be no changes. Our standards are not a frozen system; five years ago we developed and settled on this. No. We have planned an audit of the "mystery shopper". We will look for the answer to the question of what customers put in service in the first place.

SR77_Personal_Eсonika_3.jpg- And how do sellers themselves relate to Mystery Shopping? If they have a “right of appeal,” if they suddenly disagree with the results of the audit?

- To challenge the results of the audit is the seller’s right. But we usually proceed from the simple principle "Before you check someone, you need to teach him." Therefore, in reality, everything starts long before the check - we ourselves are on the “side of the seller”, and our task is to have an experienced colleague next to him at the beginning of the work, who could help the newcomer, so that later the person has a desire to learn more and work better. This is not a punishing sword, this is a hand offering help.

- But still, it seems to me that a person is still slightly aching somewhere in the region of the heart: “If they control me like that, then they don’t trust me.” And how after that to be loyal to the company?

- The question of trust and mistrust arose in us. The directors grumbled: "Well, for what, as much as possible, they check again." Now they come themselves: "And let's check in my store." Much depends on the correct explanation - how, what, and for what we are doing. We still have to convince ourselves that this is an effective way to improve the quality of our work. Fortunately, according to our data, a critical mass of “agents of influence” among the sellers and salon managers themselves has been collected.

When the system was just introduced, we gathered sellers and explained that this is done because we are interested in their work, they said: “If you are polite, your salary will be more.”

- What should be your "mystery shopper"?

- Special training is not needed. No need to dig deep - it is best if it is a one hundred percent average buyer. He does not need to know all the possible ways of fastening, it is important for him to know: “But will the sole come off?”

- What do you do with the results of the check? Do not only your Mistery Shopping specialist know about them, but also other departments?

- A very good question. It seems to me that this is one of the biggest problems for the market as a whole - the lack of communication within the retail companies themselves! And this greatly complicates the work, although sometimes it’s enough to just turn on common sense. We did everything possible so that our communication, firstly, was, and secondly, was effective. Therefore, the results of Mistery Shopping go to both the marketing and personnel services.

The principle, again, is very simple: "The reputation of the entire network is behind one person." The girl that I or you meet in the store - this is the whole "Econika" for a single buyer.

- And how do you imagine this girl? What is the ideal customer image in your standards?

- Friendly, neat, correct, tactful. There are signs that appear very important. The same uniform for sellers, five or six years ago, it was completely optional for sellers. Now it is a standard common to the market. We absolutely can not chew gum or come with a thermonuclear red manicure.

This person may like it madly, but if you came to our company, then be kind, comply with the rules adopted by us.

What is Mystery Shopping Technology (Mystery Shopper)

this is a method of anonymous assessment of the quality of the stores from the point of view of the consumer. Its main advantage is the secrecy and surprise of verification. Fake buyers are specialists: customers, customers, etc. With the help of Mystery Shopping, you can certify the quality of service, sales techniques, hall design and corporate identity, the appearance and manners of sellers, their behavior in conflict situations and other attributes of the service

The main causes of customer loss:

69% - low level of service;

13% - low quality of the product or service;

9% - competitors' activities;

5% - other;

3% - move.

Source: Mystery Shopper

Evaluation technology

Shops are usually evaluated in several ways.

Assortment: how deep the categories and number of models are, how many jackets, skirts, trousers and vests are represented.

Appearance of the store: how clean the room is, whether the goods are laid out neatly, is it convenient to navigate in the assortment.

Service level: how the seller looks, how he behaves, whether he seeks to communicate with the visitor or, on the contrary, evades, whether during the fitting he offers something in the kit, how much he is aware of the brand, its manufacturer and the company in which he works.

The questionnaire has a special column - you can enter any comments there: “very friendly”, “hairstyle attracts too much attention”, etc.

Supervising sellers is the most reliable option to get a complete picture of the level of service in your store. Moreover, it is desirable that an independent person do reconnaissance of the service. ...
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