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Mystery Shopping: What's it Gonna Cost Me?

mystery-shopping-costWHY mystery shop

WHAT to do with the results and ultimately...

HOW much does it cost?

Any organization embarking on an initiative to evaluate and improve their customer experience through mystery shopping will have questions along the way…CSE has the answers!

CSE has been planning, developing, and implementing mystery shopping strategies for over two decades.  Mystery shopping practices have evolved to include innovative execution methods and the use of dynamic technology, yet the vital questions about the industry from organizations has remained consistent through the years: What, Why, and most notably… How much? 

Why should I use mystery shops as part of an organizational development strategy?
Mystery shopping provides a vital assessment of real customer experiences and perceptions.  Real-time, real world customer interactions identify areas of success and opportunities for employee recognition as well as areas for further development and organizational improvement.  A true measure of real customer experiences, mystery shopping provides data to help facilitate the following outcomes:

  • Monitors and protects your brand
  • Improves your workforce
  • Improves customer satisfaction
  • Grows customer loyalty
  • Increases customer frequency
  • Improves your bottom line

Mystery shopping helped this client get positive results and considers it an "investment that not only pays for itself, but ensures our business stays strong and competitive over time."

What should I do with my results?
CSE takes careful measures when executing mystery shopping as part of a larger service development strategy.  The single most important outcome of our mystery shops is improving employee performance utilizing the results of this valuable tool.  When implementing a mystery shop evaluation program, maximize your investment and go beyond just measuring service levels -- IMPROVE them! 

  • LEARN MORE about our services that can enhance a measurement initiative
  • Read about how UMUC (University of Maryland University College) used mystery shopping to identify areas of opportunity that helped them chart a path for improvement: SUCCESS STUDY

And the #1 frequently asked question: How much is it going to cost?
I once heard a story about a manager who complained about investing in his employees.  “Why should I invest in training and developing my staff when they’re just going to leave for another job with a different company?”

You can probably guess the logical response to that argument:

How much is it going to cost that manager if underdeveloped, poorly trained employees STAY?

A similar parallel can be made for investing in mystery shopping.  There is always a cost involved in an organizational improvement strategy. The variable is--can you afford not to do it? Can you afford the lack of metrics and ongoing feedback about the real customer experience within your organization?

Despite the merits and impactful results that can be gleaned via mystery shopping, it is still a line item in every organization’s budget.  While many believe that it’s less of a “nice” to have and more of a “need” to have, there’s a price tag attached to monitoring service levels. 

So, how much does mystery shopping cost? There are numerous options and variables available in customizing a unique mystery shopping program that the standard question of “what’s it going to cost me?” can remain somewhat elusive.

Costs for mystery shopping can vary considerably. Pricing structure depends on the complexity of the evaluation, number of interactions, specifications and demographic requirements for evaluators, reimbursements associated with the assignment and the detail and narrative specifications. Typically, mystery shops are priced on a “per evaluation basis” and range anywhere from $35.00 for basic service audits up to $300.00 for video recorded interactions.

After determining that mystery shopping is a viable option for your company, there are several things that you can do to produce tangible, actionable results to ensure that you maximize your investment. The first step is choosing the right partner to support your efforts--learn what to look for by downloading "5 Best Practices for Choosing a Mystery Shopping Provider" here:

5 BEST PRACTICES for Choosing  a Mystery Shopping Provider