Video Mystery Shopping
Video mystery shopping is nothing but regular anonymous mystery shopping with the difference being that the mystery shopper carries a miniature recording device during the assignment. Used for quality assurance purposes by employers, this popular technique uncovers the gaps in the customer experience through the use of third party agents that pose as shoppers. Instead of relying on only the agents observation and notes in the basic kind of covert shopper methodology, this method allows the management and quality consultant to actually view tapes of what happens, which is a lot better. This kind of technique has advantages for both the agent as well as the company employing him.
1. Better remuneration- Assignments involving video mystery shopping pay up to 5 times more money than regular ones. This is because only very experienced agents are able to carry off a hidden camera without letting on that something is amiss.
2. Less Paperwork- Another great advantage is that one does not have to come back and write a lengthy report. Most agents spend more time recreating their purchase experience compared to the time spent in the outlet or restaurant. Without the burden of paperwork, they are free to go and do more assignments and therefore end up making more money overall.
3. Better Focus- Sometimes, in trying to remember what all they need to observe, agents miss out on crucial details. In the case of video mystery shopping , they can focus on being the customer rather than get diverted with questionnaire details. This is better for the project.
Even for the employer this technique proves superior to the traditional one. First of all, the accuracy of the results is always better since they are no longer subjective. Judgment of the people varies greatly and what one person will find acceptable could be unacceptable for another. With proof of what actually happened in the form of a reel, the management can decide based on their judgment and expectations.
Also, however hard one tries, questionnaires can never be exhaustive i.e. they can never include everything. So, while there may be a customer gap, it may go unchecked because it was not part of the list of questions given to the agent. Video anonymous shopping, on the other hand, gives a complete record of what happened making sure that nothing gets missed out.
Another great benefit is the training opportunity. The objective of the entire exercise is increasing customer satisfaction. This requires clear feedback to the staff as regards the gaps in the service and opportunities for improvement. Tapes are hard evidence that can be shared during training sessions to advise people on the mistakes they need to avoid. Some companies even use these tapes for evaluation purposes.
Apart from video mystery shopping , there is also an audio option that is also popular. Of course that does not allow watching expressions or the store display or the food setting etc. so it is not as powerful. Yet even introducing an audio option is better than just a third party report which is often colored by the persons own prejudices, opinions, mood, etc.
It is important to find out the laws in your region. It is sometimes illegal to record employees without their permission. Make sure that you inform the employees about the quality initiative well in advance so that they do not feel they are being targeted. Sharing of the video mystery shopping tapes needs to be done with a lot of sensitivity otherwise people can end up feeling humiliated, defeating the entire purpose of the exercise.