The Making of an Effective Mystery Shopping Questionnaire

Intellishop exists to help our clients see their business through the eyes of their customers, and in so doing, find a road map to improvement. At the most basic level, our process can seem simple and easy.

We send mystery shoppers to our clients’ businesses, have them gather information about the business, and then present that information to our clients in an easy-to-understand format.

On the surface, that may look like a straightforward task. In practice, achieving worthwhile results is a bit more complicated.

We define “worthwhile results” as actionable data that points out tangible ways for our clients to improve their business and the performance of their employees. Uncovering that actionable data takes careful steps, including a serious, focused design process for the questions contained in the mystery shopping questionnaire.

How does questionnaire design lead to actionable data?

Our design process starts with objectifying every question. While many other companies focus primarily on yes/no questions, Intellishop takes a tier-option approach to every piece of data we’re trying to clarify.

Here’s a simple example: most mystery shopping questionnaires include a fairly standard question about interactions with employees. Most companies will ask their mystery shoppers to answer yes or no to a question resembling “was the employee you spoke with friendly?” This question is flawed. Upwards of 95% of mystery shoppers will answer that question with a “yes” unless they had an exceptionally bad experience.

This data doesn’t deliver actionable insight. The question must be designed in such a way that it probes deeper. An Intellishop questionnaire would ask the question this way: “How would you describe the employee’s performance? Would you describe it as truly exceptional, as expected, or needs improvement?”

With our design, clients immediately have a straightforward path to success. They’ll be able to take concrete steps toward moving their employees from “meets expectations” to “exceptional.”

Questionnaire design should be an adaptive process

Structuring questions this way is the only dependable way to find actionable data. Cookie cutter yes/no questions simply can’t give businesses the information they need to make meaningful changes.

As you consider the steps you’re taking to improve your business, consider what mystery shopping companies may have done to help you understand the areas in which you can improve. Did their data bring positive changes to your business? Could you clearly see areas where you needed improvement? Did they help you understand how you could work with your employees to improve your scores?

If not, it’s possible you may not have gotten the actionable data that can help your business reach the next level. A questionnaire design process that adapts to your business’s unique characteristics is the right solution for finding the data you need.

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