Current mystery shopping service providers do not focus on the most essential critical details of the operations. Servimer strongly believes that each shopper needs training before evaluating a business in which he or she is not an expert. In addition to industry specific preparation and certification, shoppers are assigned coaches who are experts in the industry and can guide them in the process as needed.
Integrity needs to be a primary focus of quality control; therefore Servimer includes integrity as part of every business evaluation. Servimer’s Loss Prevention techniques help clients identify “shrinkage” due to theft, fraud, or simple failure to follow proper policies or procedures.
Some operations just need to prevent potential losses and turn to Servimer as their local eyes and ears. Some need video monitoring of their day-to-day operations. Some need to test for strengths or weaknesses in integrity, risk management, and customer service. Some take it even further by utilizing Servimer for training their hourly and management personnel.
In early 2005 I had the experience as an operations manager to work with three different mystery shopping companies. The vast majority of reports came with a perfect score, which was not helpful since I knew that neither I nor my operation was ever perfect, and these whitewashed reports gave me no chance to improve.
Other reports made statements that clearly showed a lack of knowledge of the industry I was working in. One day I received a report alleging that the cashier issued neither a ticket nor a receipt and had pocketed the paid cash. Ironically, the facility happened to be a fully automated location. Naturally, I had questions.
When I tried to get hold of the shopper, I learned that the company did not allow mystery shoppers to directly respond to clients. I insisted, and two weeks later I was able to ask the shopper my questions concerning what had happened at the entrance and exit of the evaluated location. I quickly realized that the shopper had not paid attention to any of the important details that would have been needed to approach the employee who was being alleged of maleficence.
I came to realize that if shoppers do not know what they look for, and are not taught, they will not be able to see it, let alone remember it. The shop reports that I was receiving were a waste of time and investment.
The question arose in my mind that consequently gave birth to Servimer, “Was there a mystery shopping company that could provide quality reports produced by shoppers who were educated about the details of the industry they were evaluating?” After six months of research, I could find none. I determined to create one.