Innovations in the methods of the assessment of the quality of service using Mystery Shoppers.

14/03/2012 More

Publication in the magazine “Marketing researches in Ukraine» issue № 1 January-February 2012.
Olesya Krivdenko, head of the quality of service evaluation department.

The method of “Mystery Shopping” is becoming more popular among the managers of service sphere companies. As this is a really effective tool, using which one can evaluate the current situation and identify the gaps in the service.

But the reliability of the received picture of service mostly depends on the carrying out of procedure of the data gathering. In our time of digital technologies an electronic evaluation forms came up to take paper questionnaires place. Therefore, the time of receiving the data from the scene нas reduced. And at the same time an unlimited number of persons concerned can have now the access to it. Now an opportunity to react quickly to the results of the visit of the Mystery shopper has appeared. As you can see, there are quite many benefits. If it were not one small “but’’ …

Usually, within the evaluation of the quality of the service, the standard approach for conducting of the project by the “Mystery Shopping” method is used, which includes the following steps:
1. Mystery shopper, after having passed the registration, receives the out from the specialized web-site of the agency.
2. Mystery shopper visits the service location for the purpose of conducting the evaluation.
3. After the visit is fulfilled, Mystery shopper fills a questionnaire by himself on the special web-site, attaches audio and other materials. On average, from the moment of the visit made till the moment of the agency has received the results, it takes about 20 hours.
4. The assessment department of the agency evaluates the reliability of the received results. From the reception of the results of the visit till the moment of the giving them to the Client, it takes about 10 hours on average.
The side effects of the standard approach consist in the fact that the employees of the agency cannot control the course of the carrying out of the visit, and accordingly, track the reliability of the received data in time.

As a result, the agency can see the full picture of the visit only after 30 hours after the visit is done on average. And in the case of any irregularities, the rapid reaction is lost, which may lead to the postponement of the project time-frame.

Having worked for several years using the standard method, we came to a conclusion that a more effective tool is needed which would allowed us to get the results of the visit much faster, as well as it would give the possibility for additional control.

So, the employees of the agency «IRS Group» have developed the innovative methodology for the conducting of “Mystery Shopping” projects, which has been used successfully within the assessment of the quality of the service by many companies for more than two years.

We managed to reduce the time of the results gathering from the Mystery shopper down to 10 minutes from the moment of the end of a visit. Due to additional control of the conducting of the visit in real-time mode, to the control of quality of the form filling in, to the verification of data from the audio recording it takes, on average, about 20 minutes.

As a result, the full picture of the visit is available for us for the analysis during 30 minutes after the finishing.

The advantages of the methodology:

  • Availability of additional control on the conducting of each visit in real-time mode. As a result, the ability to control the course of conducting of the visit from the beginning to the end.
  • Availability of project manager, who works directly with Mystery shoppers and is immersed more deeply in all details and nuances of the conducting of the project. As a consequence, the assessment is more efficient, as the assessment is made not only by Mystery Shopper, but by manager-coordinator as well. An additional plus is on the request; the Client can conduct trainings for a project manager from his part.
  • The absence of postponed works concerning the visit of the Mystery shopper.

As a result, we are able to react to the whole process of conducting the visit of the Mystery shopper in time and quickly. The visits are carried out on a more high quality level; the risk of the project deadlines breaks is reduced to minimum.
And what is very important, due to the savings on the logistics of materials, we are able to offer to our clients the services at competitive prices, which are only slightly higher than those which are demanded for the works carried out using the standard method.

Besides, a completely different level of quality is provided, allowing to exclude any external distortion and to ensure the objectivity of the assessment.

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