The most recent HBR ( >Harvard Business Review) features Kevin Peters, president of Office Depot, taking on mystery shopping himself (at first) to drive results. He discovered what most of our clients tell us; Mystery shopping works.
The problem is most companies (and unfortunately sometimes their supplier) don't do it correctly. When they don't get the results they hope for, they end up "throwing out the baby with the bath water."
- Office Depot had a mystery shopping program that did not work.
- The president went out the stores and did the job himself.
- Peters found they were not measuring the right things.
- Office Depot is now recalibrating and rolling out to its stores
- Talking directly to his customers in the store yielded information that Peters was not getting through his executives or customer satisfaction survey program.
- Peters wanted to find more ways to find out why people are leaving the store without making a purchase.