The retail financial services, for instance, use Mystery shopping for two reasons – research into potentially high risk areas and identify key issues in areas of concern (FSA, 2006).
The checklist should also reflect the key performance indicators which is a part of the organization’s vision and mission. Mystery shoppers should be independent, critical, objective and anonymous. Each location should be visited multiple times by different shoppers. While the employees should be notified that mystery shoppers would be around, the exact time and date should not be disclosed, which should remain a mystery (Kocevar-Weidinger, Benjes-Small, Ackermann & Kinman, 2010). The shopper however needs to be trained in evaluating employee behaviour and to ensure accurate data collection.
The President of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) agrees that in-person visits can capture the “soft” issues that surveys often cannot: friendliness, courtesy, names, and knowledge (CRM Magazine, 2009). Facts emerge in a natural setting and this is not always possible in an interview or any other data collection method. Mystery shopping as a research tool helps to identify whether known customer requirements are met, to assess whether communications need to be improved and to check the consistency of standards across all branches (Beck & Miao, 2003).
Calvert (2005), to evaluate the effectiveness of “mystery shopping” as a technique for service evaluation, interviewed public librarians in New Zealand who have used mystery shopping. Libraries used mystery shopping for three major reasons - improving process, improving staff behaviours, and benchmarking with similar organisations. It is used as a diagnostic tool to track the service delivery process; it is used extensively in staff appraisal and most importantly, organizations send mystery shoppers to rival firms to understand their service delivery process. This helps them to benchmark against the rivals. Mystery