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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Solving the mystery of the shopper

Rosie walked into a posh 5 star restaurant. Her friends order what they like on the menu, but when Rosie sits to dine, she is not thinking about what to eat. She carefully scans the restaurant, checking the ambience, furniture, lighting and décors. She’s timing the restaurant staff, checking toilet paper in the bathrooms, looking for dust on shelves as well as making sure her steak is cooked to order and her Chardonnays chilled. She’s finicky and pernickety, a little obsessive, perhaps, but it’s all in a day’s work. Rosie's biological name is not revealed in order to protect her identity, she is a professional mystery shopper — part critic, part undercover spy, part consumer advocate.

Rodger was shopping at a large retail store, he noticed an innocent looking customer beside him. But Instead of a shopping list, he notice her carrying handwritten notes about the appearance and cleanliness of the store. She's been timing the progression of the queue on her phone. He was puzzled, he had just spotted a mystery shopper.

With online marketing at a fast pace progression, as more and more spending takes place online, the demand for mystery shoppers is growing.
Retailers look for a services and an experience as good as an online, when they set foot in a physical store. Mystery shoppers are meant to walk into a store, analyse the store and provide a detailed feed back. The customer feed back is then implemented. It is not a service offered for a company but for shoppers and shopaholics everywhere. 

Mystery shopping is tricky in fact, if one has to walk into a mall which is approximately 502,000 square metres with more than 1200 shops to explore, it is certainly not easy. A shopper will have a lot to remember besides he or she must provide a focused, detailed- oriented and articulated report about the store or restaurant they visit. 

One of the leading real estate company which invests and develops properties, provides property management services and engages in hospitality services, decided to hire mystery shoppers for their services. The master developers also have large malls to add to their accounts. Which were rented out to boutique outfits. With time the shop owners started facing maintenance issues which were reported to the Developer. The Developer then felt the need to develop a system which will manage all customer concerns thereby improving customer (shopper) satisfaction.   

Mystery Shopper Management tool developed by Arowana for the company. The system has a survey model, which defines what information and improvement factors the client company wishes to measure. These are then drawn up into survey instruments and assignments that are allocated to shoppers registered with the company. 
The Solution termed as “Mystery Shopper Management” system provides a mechanism for organizing, maintaining, and tracking the resolution of issues that cannot be resolved at the individual level at the retailers level. The approach consists of issue control mechanisms and a well-defined process that helps in identifying, addressing, and prioritizing issues in centralized and secure manner.

What the Mysterious person does on the system:

Shoppers are often given instructions or procedures to make the transaction atypical to make the test of the knowledge and service skills of the employees more stringent or specific to a particular service issue. For instance, mystery shoppers at a restaurant may pretend they are lactose-intolerant, or a clothing store mystery shopper could inquire about gift wrapping services. Not all mystery shopping scenarios include a purchase.
While gathering information, shoppers usually blend in as regular shoppers at the store being evaluated. They may be required to take photographs or measurements, return purchases, or count the number of products, seats, people during the visit. 
MSM application allows its users to create observations based on Division, Asset, Building and Department. The observation moves through different statuses these can be seen under different modules based on the current status.
The agents login with their user ids and passwords. The system has an agent dashboard which will show him details of all his entries. He can add details,edit it, and update his observations.
Based on these observation the company makes changes at their stores. 

Mysterious Features:

  • Online Shopper Registration and profile management.
  • Create/ Amend Observations (Issues)
  • Facility for Admin to moderate submitted observations
  • Workflow functionality to channelize the observation between Agent (Shopper), Moderators and Department (Resolution owner)
  • Resolution Tracking and Reporting.
Mystery alters the service: 

A mystery shopper would spend about two to four hour evaluating the store and giving detailed feedback about the store and its service. 
If you were to ever walk into a huge mall like Dubai mall for instance with over 1200 shops and having an amazing customer experience, there are mystery shoppers working on giving you the best shopping experience.
MSM- Mystery Shopping Management system, a solution to improve retail service. 

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