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Why Using a Secret Shopper Is a Good Idea

In fact, it’s a very good idea. Why? Because with all the whiz-bang marketing tools you have at your disposal today (websites, social media, email campaigns, blogs, traditional media, et al), secret shoppers are still one of the most viable weapons that should be an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. Name one other marketing tool that allows you to quantify, qualify, and in a linear fashion, tell you what you’re doing right – or doing wrong. And it comes directly from the sources you want to cultivate – your customers and potential customers! So let’s take a look at just some of the areas that can make a big difference for your business.



• Get straight-from-the-mouth customer feedback … a carefully structured secret shopper script can reveal how your marketing is impacting your customers from the perspective of the quality of your products/services, the way your buyers are treated, and to your pricing. This is priceless information that let’s you see what’s working, what’s not, and how make adjustments.

• Feedback from both inside, and outside your store … while in-store secret shopping is a fabulous tool, so is outside secret shopping. What is that? Well, outside secret shopping includes how your phone, email, and computer services are working. Are your phone customers served immediately, or are they left hanging on the line. Are computer generated orders confirmed at the time of the purchase, or is there a lag? And are emails to your firm getting timely attention, or are they languishing in your mailbox? This is critical information every company needs to know.

• How your employees are handling your customers … you’re careful when you hire to get only employees who are motivated, sales oriented, and present your company in its best possible light. But, everybody makes mistakes, and a secret shopper can pinpoint which of your employees are doing a good job, and which are not. An employee may smile at you in the morning, but when you’re not around, does he/she turn into Attila the Hun when confronted with a customer? Secret shopping can tell you that.

• Information that can be used immediately … unlike surveys and questioners, which can take weeks to finish and tabulate, secret shopping is virtually an overnight affair. You’ll get the results now! That means you can use the information to make the charges you need, without delay. This flexibility can really add to your bottom line.

• Impartial human element data … not computer generated, not solicited from email, not culled from generic surveys. Secret shopping is a one-on-one, human-to-human way of gleaning information that is both pertinent, and honest. You can’t fake good customer service. It has to be real. Secret shoppers can tell you exactly how you’re doing in that area.


• Retention of customers … customers ill treated, or disappointed in your service, pricing, or how they were treated, will not be customers willing to come back. And since most customers aren’t likely to complain to you directly, you simply won’t have a clue where they went. Again, a secret shopper can pinpoint your deficiencies (and your strengths!), so you can take the appropriate actions to make better marketing decisions.

• They can be used just about anywhere … banks have used them for years, as have retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, manufacturing firms, even health care. The flexibility of using a secret shopper is virtually limitless. Reason? It works!

• Use it on you, and your competitors as well … sure, you want to find out how you’re perceived by your customers/potential customers, but how about your competitors? How do they size up to the same audience? Is this not great information to have? You bet it is. When you send shoppers to your competitors as well as your own firm, you’ll be able to compare apples-to-apples, in immediate time. Who’s doing what’s right, or wrong and who has the edge and who is losing ground. This can be powerful stuff for your entire marketing team.

And these are just a few of the reasons you should hire a secret shopper to be working for you right now. And there’s another point – of all the marketing weapons you have at your disposal, secret shopping, dollar-for-dollar, is one of the most effective, cost viable tools you can use to get the upper hand over your competitors – plus keep and increase your own customer base. Happy shopping!

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