Defining Mystery Shopping Objectives

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Previously we examined different types of mystery shopping.

The first step in building a best in class mystery shop program is defining your objectives.  Defining research objectives prior to making any other decisions about the program will ensure your program starts right, stays on track, on budget, and produces positive results.   The mystery shop best practice in defining objectives for a program is a fairly simple process.  First, generate a list of specific behavioral expectations you have of your employees.

What Do You Expect?

Ask yourself what sales and service behaviors you expect from employees.  This list of behaviors is going to vary broadly from industry-to-industry, channel-to-channel, and brand-to-brand.  Some of the questions you might ask yourself look like this:

  • What specific service behaviors do we expect?
  • When greeting a customer, what specific behaviors do we expect from staff?
  • When meeting with customers after the greeting, what specific behaviors do we expect?
  • If a phone interaction, what specific hold/transfer procedures do we expect (for example asking to be placed on hold, informing customer of the destination of the transfer)?
  • Are there specific profiling questions we expect to be asked? – If so, what are they?
  • What closing behaviors do you expect? How do you want employees to ask for the business?
  • At the conclusion of the interaction, how do you want the employee to conclude the conversation or say goodbye?
  • Are there specific follow-up behaviors that you expect, such as getting contact information, suggesting another appointment, or offering to call the customer?
  • What other specific behaviors do we expect?

Map Expectations to the Shop Questionnaire

Once you have developed a list of the specific behaviors you expect, the next step is to map each of your behavioral expectations to a question or set of questions on the mystery shop questionnaire.  Remember. these behaviors must be specific, objective and observable.

Click here for the next installment in this series: Mystery Shopping Questionnaire Design.

Click Here for Mystery Shopping Best Practices


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About Eric Larse

Eric Larse is co-founder of Seattle-based Kinesis CEM, LLC, which helps clients plan and execute their customer experience strategies through the intelligent use of customer satisfaction surveys and mystery shopping, linked with training and incentive programs. Visit Kinesis at:

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