One of the most important aspects of setting up a successful mystery shop program is to ensure that the shop form you are using is properly constructed and that the mystery shops completed using the template you have put in place provide the value and data that you are seeking. At 360 Relay, we have a dedicated client team that works with you directly to provide support and guidance as you go through the template creation process. Below are the main components that you want to think about when creating your mystery shop form.
The questions on your form are the top priority in the formation of your shop template. Think about what you are looking to measure; steps of service, service timing, product and food quality, cleanliness, management presence, etc. – whatever it is that made you decide to put a shop program in place in the first place. Identify what you are focusing on in your staff training and what you want to hold them accountable to.
The way you phrase the questions is also important; while you may have internal verbiage that makes sense to you and your team, you want to word the questions in a way that will make sense to the shopper. You also want to be as definitive as possible. For example, don’t just ask, ‘Was your food delivered in a timely manner’; define what timely means to you and your team, ‘Was your food delivered within eight minutes’.
*Question Types and Answer Options
The majority of questions on your shop’s form should be objective; questions that have a definitive answer and don’t involve opinion. We recommend having a few subjective questions within your form as the comments can provide actionable feedback, but only placing scores on questions that don’t involve a shopper’s opinion. This aids in consistent scoring across your shops, which makes the data and reporting steadier and more reliable. It’s also important to think about answer options; if it’s a black-and-white question, you should use a Yes|No or Agree|Disagree scale. For questions with the potential for some grey area, you should use a sliding scale such as 1-5, or Agree|Somewhat Agree|Neutral|Somewhat Disagree|Disagree.
Text responses provide great feedback; our recommendation is to always force a comment when a question is answered negatively, and to always include a summary at the end of each section which provides a short narrative covering all the questions asked in a given section.
*Scoring and Weighting
We recommend focusing on what’s most important to your business and your brand and making those questions worth more of the overall score. Our scoring system works as an overall average of points achieved divided by the points possible, not an average of averages, meaning that the individual point values are not as important as the weighting scale that you choose.
*Photos and other Attachments
Most of our clients take advantage of the photo attachment feature within the system. If you choose to require photos for your shops, it’s important to let us know exactly how we should instruct our shoppers to take the photos; from what angle, what depth perception, what size, etc.
While it can take a few rounds of revisions to get the template set up correctly, it is time well spent to ensure your form is set up to capture the exact data and feedback that is most important to your business. We are always willing to make changes along the way, and we understand that the focus of the shop may change. However, we do recommend keeping the form as consistent as possible as it’s much more valuable to track the same data points month after month versus constantly changing the data set you are evaluating. There are a lot of factors that go into getting your template set up for success, and as always, our client team is here to assist in whatever way they can.