Due to the nature of our industry, and in particular, the fact that our mystery shoppers are all independent contractors, we cannot guarantee 100% execution on shops for our clients. Since this is a topic that we receive many questions about, I want to take some time to peel back the curtain on our operation and all the various factors that may impact our ability to fulfill shops.
I want to start by saying that it is in our best interest to execute at 100% — the way we set up our agreements, you only pay a single price per shop (no setup fees), and we only bill you each month for the shops that are completed. We operate in the manner so that we are aligned and on the same team about building and maintaining a successful secret shopper program. That being said, here are some important things to consider:
Shops in Different Verticals
Different shop types in different industries may be easier or harder. For example, everyone must eat food every day, so it is much easier for us to find shoppers willing to do restaurant shops on a regular basis. For retail and other verticals, it takes a little bit more coercing to find people. The pay and the requirements need to be “worth it” for the shoppers to be interested in taking the extra time out of their day to go do them.
This is a huge factor. Yes, we have over a million shoppers in our network, but certainly, they are more concentrated in urban areas. It is easier for us to find shoppers in cities, simply because we have more people within a small enough radius.
Unlike some of our competitors, we spell out in our pricing exactly how much our fee is and exactly how much money goes to pay the shoppers for a given shop. Of course, our goal is to keep the overall price of the program as low as possible but skimping on the shopper pay amount only makes it that much more difficult to find people. At the bare minimum, we recommend setting the pay to cover whatever the required expense is for the shop, but the more you are willing to add on top of that, the easier it is for us to find shoppers and the more selective we can be about who we send in.
Many of our clients make requests about when to conduct shops, the demographics of the shoppers, and other specifics. Yes, we can accommodate these requests, but again, these things only make it harder for us to find qualified people interested in going along with the instructions.
Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes here. If you are looking at possible opportunities, all else being equal, are you more interested in going out and doing the shop with 30 questions on the report or the one with 60? Please keep this in mind when you are designing your template. Condensing as many questions as possible and focusing only on what is most important to you will help us execute more shops for you.
Shopper Rotation & Shop Volume
We typically recommend a shopper rotation of 60 or 90 days, meaning that once a shopper completes a shop at a location, they won’t be able to go back for at least that amount of time. Sometimes clients will request that we set it at 180 days or more — however, keep in mind that if we are doing four shops per month, for example, and have a rotation of 180 days, then we need to find 25 different shoppers in that span. This is not impossible, but if you combine this with the factors above (geography, pay, restrictions, etc.), it can significantly impact the execution rate.
Shop Complexity & Leniency With Completed Reports
We try to remind clients that shoppers are customers too. Suppose we constantly have to decline shop reports because they missed one thing, or we inadvertently set them up for failure by giving them too much to remember. In such instances, shoppers will ultimately see this as a reflection of you, and they may not come back to your establishment at all, let alone as a shopper.
COVID-19 & Overall Staffing Situations
Just like many businesses have been facing since March 2020, it has generally been a bit tougher across the board to find shoppers to do the same work for the same amount of money as before. Ultimately, we leave it up to our clients to determine the shopper pay amount, but this is a factor worth keeping in mind throughout any shop.
360 Relay places a high value on efficiency and accuracy through all of our mystery shops. As such, we keep these best practices in mind for any business that is willing to use us to improve its customer experience. If you are interested in our store auditing program and using the marketing research and results from successful shops to enhance your company, contact our team today!