August 18, 2017

Mystery shoppers give detailed feedback to improve customer experience

NRG Research Group is proud to announce the launch of our Mystery Shop program!

For those who are unfamiliar with Mystery Shopping, this research methodology involves participants visiting a location and reporting back with a detailed account of their visit. Feedback gathered through Mystery Shopping can help the client organization to identify what a client is excelling at and what needs improvement in the customer experience. This feedback can lead to improvements in frontline staff performance, customer interfaces, and overall experience.

How does Mystery Shopping work?

Participants are asked to visit a particular location, such as a restaurant or store, and are sent a survey link via email. The survey is specially designed to be optimized for smart phones, so that the participant can simply click on the link in their email while they’re on the go. These surveys typically consist of both closed-ended questions (such as rating scales) and open-ended questions. For instance, we might as the participant to describe the best aspect of their experience, or provide detail of something needing improvement.

The survey also normally contains guidelines at the beginning of each section to indicate when that section should be performed. For instance, there may be sections to complete before entering a restaurant, after being seated, after receiving their meal, and after leaving. This step-by-step structure serves both to make the process as easy as possible for the participant and to improve the recall (and therefore the accuracy) of information at each stage.

Upon completion of the survey, the data is sent securely (via NRG’s Canadian servers) to our data team who review the responses and identify any areas requiring further follow-up. These responses can be sent to the client in their raw form; alternatively, they can be uploaded to a customized interactive report on our dashboard system, NRG Views, which allows for instant updated reporting and subgroup analysis once the file is uploaded. Regardless of delivery method, the Mystery Shop data is often available to the client by the morning following an assignment’s completion. This data can also be used to create a report at the end of each period, which can show trends both during that time and throughout each period.

How do we find our Mystery Shoppers?

To recruit Mystery Shoppers, we initially invited experienced panel members who we’ve worked with before and who have been reliable and professional in opportunities such as focus groups. These members filled out an online form and were later contacted for a short discussion to ensure they were a good fit. Since then, we have refined our process and have over 60 members currently signed up, with more being added each month.

Members advise us of their availability at the beginning of each month, which allows us a good amount of flexibility in matching research shifts to the right team members. Several factors go into the selection of the right team member, including the aim to minimize repeat visits to the same location as well as specific requirements of the client at hand.

If you would like to learn more about our Mystery Shopper program please feel free to contact me or your NRG contact person. If you would like to sign up to be a participant in future Mystery Shops, please visit us at or email us at

David Gabor

Research Consultant