Imagine a customer coming to your retail store/ touchpoint, contacting various shopkeepers, enquiring about multiple products, spending a good 15-20 minutes in the store & then leaving without making a purchase. How would you analyze whether this customer had a good experience and will return? How was your sales team's interaction with him? When it comes to understanding the impact on a customer, there are multifold things to analyze & interpret. Barely being observant is not enough. Businesses, especially retailers, regularly need to invest in practices like Mystery Auditing to stay in sync with their customer experience & improve. The importance of the same to enhance CX is what the retail industry has realized over time.
With a population of over 1.3 billion people and a diverse range of industries, businesses in India recognize the need to understand and improve customer experiences to stay competitive. In today's modern retail industry, where customers can access essential information about a company with just a few clicks, competition has intensified significantly. This serves as a clear reminder to businesses that maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction and preserving brand reputation is of utmost importance. Mystery shopping is used to evaluate customer experiences and holds great relevance in the market.
According to industry estimates, mystery shopping is a rapidly growing business in India, with annual revenue of $150 million (approximately ₹ 835 crores) by 2022 already. The industry is experiencing significant growth, with a yearly increase of 30-40%. This growth demonstrates the increasing recognition of the importance of evaluating customer experiences and the value that mystery shopping brings to businesses.
Impact on the Retail Industry
Mystery Shopping and Retail Industry are very closely associated and go hand-in-hand. The retail Industry is a huge sector which comprises individual sellers, small stores and also huge businesses. They are the ones who reach their products or services directly to customers globally. Hence, customer service plays an important role in the Retail Industry. In order to ensure good customer service for a company, a mystery shopping program is the best one to be incorporated. Mystery Shopping is a process in which pre-recruited and qualified auditors measure the extent to which a customer’s interactions with a business mirror the experiences the business intends. This is how it benefits:
1. Enhancing Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty:
Studies have shown that 79% of customers are more likely to continue doing business with a company that delivers excellent customer service. Mystery shopping provides retailers with a firsthand assessment of their customer service standards, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and ensure consistent, exceptional experiences that keep customers satisfied and loyal.
2. Identifying Service Gaps and Improving Performance:
According to a report, 51% of customers switch to a competitor due to poor service experiences. Mystery shopping provides retailers with critical insights into service gaps, enabling them to address deficiencies promptly and improve their overall performance. By leveraging these insights, retailers can bridge the gap between customer expectations and the actual service delivered, fostering long-term customer loyalty.
3. Driving Sales and Revenue Growth:
Researches tell that 73% of customers cite customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Mystery shopping helps retailers evaluate the effectiveness of their sales strategies, assess product knowledge among staff, and identify opportunities to enhance the customer journey. By delivering exceptional experiences that align with customer expectations, retailers can drive sales growth and boost their revenue.
4. Benchmarking Performance and Competitiveness:
Mystery shopping allows retailers to benchmark their performance against industry standards and competitors. By comparing their service quality, product offerings, and customer experiences with others in the market, retailers can gain insights into their competitive positioning and identify areas where they excel or need improvement. This competitive intelligence empowers retailers to make informed decisions and stay ahead in a rapidly evolving retail landscape.
How do technological advancements aid mystery auditors?
This integration of technology has not only enhanced the accuracy and efficiency of mystery shopping but has also elevated the overall customer journey by identifying areas for improvement and implementing targeted strategies to deliver exceptional experiences.
• Technology has played a pivotal role in revolutionizing the field of mystery shopping, bringing together a complete ecosystem that enhances the entire process.
• One significant advancement is the introduction of digital platforms that enable seamless communication and collaboration between businesses and mystery shoppers. Through these platforms, retailers can provide real-time access to information, ensuring transparency and empowering shoppers to perform their evaluations effectively.
• Additionally, technology has facilitated the development of innovative tools such as rebuttal mechanisms, allowing businesses to address and resolve any discrepancies or concerns.
• Furthermore, the use of technology has streamlined the reporting process, enabling to generate custom reports efficiently and providing businesses with comprehensive insights.
Helping Retailers Conquer CX
Mystery shopping proves to be a valuable solution in addressing various challenges faced by businesses.
• For instance, it can help tackle issues like baggage drop, where mystery shoppers can provide feedback on the efficiency and ease of the process, allowing businesses to streamline their operations.
• Additionally, mystery shopping presents an opportunity to convert window shoppers into actual buyers by engaging them, understanding their needs, and offering personalized assistance.
• Mystery shopping enables businesses to address the issue of customers leaving due to a lack of assistance, as mystery shoppers can evaluate the level of support provided and provide insights for improvement.
• Moreover, in the context of online and offline channels, mystery shopping enables businesses to evaluate the seamlessness of customer journeys, ensuring a consistent and integrated experience.