Assess Needs & Problems

Assess the needs of your company and define the research objectives. Based on the initial data, we plan our mystery shopping sessions to satisfy your data needs.

Research the Market

MKOR's team goes in full throttle and starts collecting the most relevant data based on our initial objectives. You'll always receive accurate, actionable information, regardless of your niche.

Deliver Results

We stand by the findings of our mystery research and we guarantee their data. Our reports are easy to read and offer practical, actionable insights for staying ahead of the competition.

Businesses that employ mystery shopping techniques score higher with their clients

Mystery shopping is a research method most often used by companies for the objective evaluation of their own products or services.

However, at MKOR, we use this method to bring value to market research and to competitive intelligence analysis reports. This method is one of our favorite when it comes to collecting accurate data about our customers’ competition or about our clients businesses.

What is a mystery shopper?

The term Mystery shopper / mystery shopping is used to describe a field research technique that uses external auditors who claim to be real customers. Using this method, mysterious customers gather information about the quality of products and services offered by an organization.

Customer’s perspective is highly appreciated in all areas of marketing, so it’s easy to understand why this research method is so common.

How does mystery shopping work?

When a mysterious customer visits a location, he uses a series of evaluation criteria developed by the target company along with the consulting firm. These criteria firstly focus on the quality of service and the employees’ sales skills.

The reports, usually written, are provided to the business client and can be used to evaluate the business against the competition as well as the quality of their own services and products.

The first step in mystery shopping consists – as in any other research effort – in identifying the research objectives and the current situation of the company (or the analysed department, service / product) as it is currently perceived and the description of the ideal situation. Starting from these three sets of information, we proceed.

Further, we design a series of variables that will be measured in the mysterious client’s questionnaire by the company along with the consulting firm.

The questionnaire can include both predefined responses as well as open-ended response areas, where the auditor will complete the field observations with his own words. Examples of variables that can be evaluated:

  • customer service,
  • suggestive selling techniques or up selling,
  • teamwork,
  • employees’ / managers’ activities,
  • visited location’s aspect, cleanliness and organization,
  • the placement of goods and available stocks,
  • signage and advertising materials,
  • wait time (in queue) and serving time,
  • product quality,
  • order accuracy,
  • return policies.

After pre-testing the questionnaire, field auditors, the so-called mysterious clients, are employed to evaluate the selected criteria. The assessment can be done at the location, by phone or online.

A sample (of respondents / locations, etc.) and the period of data collection are set and we employ strict deadlines on every project.

Why should you use this research method?

Using mystery shopping is a way to become more competitive, but there are other reasons for which this research method can be extremely useful. For example, it can help retailers develop customer retention strategies.

Employee recognition. Managers can use mystery shopper field studies to evaluate their locations and results can be used to offer rewards to employees, who can become more satisfied at work and more loyal. As the economic environment becomes more competitive, more and more restaurants, banks, supermarkets, clothing stores, hotels, furniture stores, gas stations, car dealerships, bars are turning to mystery shopping to  objectively assess the quality of the services offered to customers.

Evaluation of training programs. Reports from mystery shoppers can measure the impact of training programs and customer service quality before and after a specific training program.

Assessment of promotions. Shopping reports can show the effects of a promotional campaign, as well as employee involvement in promotional activities.

Employees honesty. During a mystery shopper evaluation program, you can evaluate how honest employees are with your customers regarding pricing and other company policies.

Customers perspective. Using mystery shopping helps you understand which areas of customer relationship are the most important and need improvement from the customer’s perspective. However, even if the research uncovers problems, it is advisable to use the obtained feedback to offer rewards, not to apply penalties.

Quick feedback. This research tool is especially useful for small or early-stage business who need quick information to assess their position against the competition.

Keep employees alert. Employees who know they can be visited by a mysterious customer anytime are more willing to be friendly with all their customers, providing them with excellent service, ensuring they get good feedback when they are evaluated.

Research ideas. One of the problems companies face is to come up with new research ideas for improving the business. Without a client perspective it is often difficult to do so, and the mystery shopping method is a tool for stimulating research ideas for new market research.

Competition analysis with the help of mystery shopping

When working with customers, it’s important to know how to keep them happy, how to increase their loyalty to the products and services you offer. What if your customers seem to be highly satisfied but the competitors attract more customers than you?

When a group of managers brainstorm in order to figure out what the competition is doing to attract new customers, there is a risk of misunderstanding what the items that truly work are. Hiring a mystery shopping agency [ (hint: MKOR 😉 ] will eliminate these errors by looking at the experience your company offers through the objective eyes of a customer. Moreover, he has the experience and skills to detect all the shades of customer service. Thus, the next step in having a really good study is the quality of the questions in the survey.

Competition analysis through mystery shopping can reveal a number of criteria important for customers that make the difference between your company and your competition. For such an approach, it is recommended that you also analyze your competitors according to the same criteria and surveys as those you apply in your case (if applicable). This will give you the opportunity to make a comparative analysis for each aspect.

At MKOR, an important part of competitive intelligence is the information obtained through this method. Here are some of the advantages of using mysterious customers to analyze competitors:

  • You will learn more about their customer relationship strategy;
  • You will be able to generate more accurate sales forecasts;
  • You will have the capacity to better understand the total traffic, deducing by competitors traffic;
  • You will be able to make comparisons between products and services, and thus creating the opportunity to improve yours (if needed);
  • You will be able to compare the appearance and the design of your store;
  • You will be able to see how competitions employees interact with their clients;

However, this researches have to be adapted to the analysed competitors strategies, because either way, it is possible for you to make “logic errors” coming from eronated presumptions; for example, the presumption that you and your competitor have the same values about clients services (serving time).

A first step in order to avoid this kind of situation is making a list of strong and weak points of your competitors, as you perceive them.

Also, don’t forget to test one of our mystery shopping business intelligence dashboards, it’s free!

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Clients from Retail, FMCG and other sectors

Recent mystery shopping projects in Romania

Read some stories from our research portfolio to get an idea of what we've worked on. We can take on any kind of assessment project project, in every business niche.

Feeling stuck? Take a look at previous mystery projects and see what our clients said about working with us

Most projects we've worked on employed different techniques of competitive intelligence. We like to think that if you want to get a complete overview of your target market you should analyze your competitors trough mystery shopping. At MKOR, we make sure that we supply our customers with accurate and thorough data, data that you can use to grow your business successfully.

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