Back in the 1940s, mystery shopping was used to assess the integrity of employees in the banking and retail sectors. Today, this tool is used strategically to do so much more. Organizations are hiring mystery shopping agencies like SeeLevel HX to measure staff compliance, product viability, brand awareness, market landscape opportunities and industry competition. They see mystery shopping as an opportunity to get an inside look into their current operations in order to learn how to improve their customer experience. 

How to Improve Customer Experience with Mystery Shopping

Here are the ways secret shopping can influence and improve the customer experience you provide.

1) Realize your current customers’ perspectives.

None of your employees can see your organization from the perspective of a customer. You can try evaluating your performance by role-playing – letting your staff act like a customer and pretend not to know anything about the business. This will only work to an extent due to personal bias already ingrained in them as part of your workforce. This will result in a prejudiced report that won’t support your efforts to properly enhance your CX program.

One of the biggest advantages of mystery shopping is the viewpoint it provides in assessing your brand’s performance. Hiring secret shoppers allows you to see your business from the eyes of an actual customer, from your store conditions and staff behavior, to service efficiency, product quality and more. 

Mystery shoppers are instructed on how to objectively handle each assignment. They do not compare your brand to others to gauge your performance (unless stated otherwise), as this results in subjectivity in your mystery shopping program. 

2) Gauge your customers’ needs for your products.

Have you recently launched a new offer to the market, but customers aren’t flocking to it? This can happen even after conducting thorough research prior to launch. In cases like this, you have to analyze just how much your customers want or need that product. 

By seeing through the eyes of a customer, you can formulate strategies according to your organizations’ strengths and weaknesses. This allows you to avoid spending unnecessary resources using pure guesswork. 

Reports from secret shopping programs offer actionable insights that can help you understand what your customers experience, when they experience it. Data is also helpful in understanding which of your competitors also offer those same products and services, helping you create strategic and effective CX programs. 

3) Analyze employee performance.

One of the most misunderstood areas of a business operations is employee performance. This broad subject encompasses employee behavior, compliance, output, product knowledge and personal satisfaction. All of these components are interrelated, which is why you must pay attention to all aspects of staff performance. 

To improve the customer experience your business provides, analyze your staff first. Employees are the foundation of your organization; they reflect what happens inside the company. Keep them satisfied, and happiness and positivity will extend to your customers as well. 

Sure, you might still receive customer complaints occasionally, as you cannot please everybody. But that does not mean you should stop making an effort to do so, as brand loyalty is strongly linked with customer satisfaction.

Using the feedback of our mystery shoppers, you can assess and revamp your training program to better prepare staff for any circumstance, strengthen employee outlook and enhance your CX. 

Many companies tell their employees about their mystery shopping programs, making staff vigilant and careful of their actions, resulting in heightened attentiveness and performance. Customers are then more likely to receive top-notch service, reducing consumer complaints and turnover rates. 

4) Ensure consistency in brand values.

As your business grows, it can be more difficult to consistently deliver excellent customer service. Employees may forget the core values you instilled in them during training, leading to inconsistencies in your brand image and the CX you offer.

To avoid this, you should implement consistent mystery shopping programs. Secret shoppers can spot non-compliance among employees and pinpoint the root of any issues. With these programs in place, loopholes in brand delivery can be corrected, leading to better employee performance and improved customer experience.

5) Spot areas for improvement.

Mystery shoppers evaluate more than just the employees, the product and the store itself. Since these human experience evaluators are also your customers, they undergo the same customer journey with your brand that every consumer does. But secret shoppers are guided in order to best identify key areas for improvement and offer actionable insights that could help you provide better customer service. 

You might think customers will express dissatisfaction if they want to, but most will instead stay silent, believing organizations tend to disregard their concerns. Surveys do not always work either, as customers typically do not answer long, open-ended questions. In the rare case that they do, they often provide short answers that lack details. These assessments are often ineffective because they barely scratch the surface of any problems or areas that need improvement.

You can learn from your customers, especially when feedback is provided in a structured manner. Mystery shoppers offer you an advantage because they can dive deeper into the details you need to make strategic decisions for improved CX programs.  

Mystery shoppers that work with agencies like SeeLevel HX provide you with honest and consistent reviews. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, the insights provided will enable your organization to make wise decisions that can improve your customer experience.

It is more challenging and costly to attract new customers than to maintain the loyalty of existing customers. With the help of our secret shoppers, we can pinpoint shortcomings in your day-to-day operations and provide solutions that will support stronger customer retention.

6) Receive comprehensive reports.

The ground-level observations and insights provided by mystery shoppers are synthesized into a report with actionable insights on how to improve customer experience. 

Our comprehensive report includes areas that need improvement, holes in your CX programs that need patching and what components of your business operations need to be altered or removed.

The moment you feel complacent with your level of service is the moment you let your competition take the lead. You should always be improving something in your organization, and an ongoing mystery shopping program can help you identify the next element to focus on.  


Customer experience is a powerful driving force for growth and success in any industry. And as more companies shift to a customer-centric model, the demand to understand the strength of your CX increases. Now that the insights provided by secret shoppers are more critical than ever, organizations are utilizing top market research and secret shopping companies to improve the customer experience they provide and get ahead of their competitors.

If you are looking for a mystery shopping agency with an excellent track record, SeeLevel HX should be your next call. Contact us online to get started today.

About the Author (Lisa van Kesteren):

Lisa van Kesteren is the CEO and Founder of SeeLevel HX, the mystery shopping agency for Retail, QSR, and Financial Service brands.  Utilizing over 650,000 professional mystery shoppers in every nook and cranny of the United States, she is on a mission to help brands improve the human experience of each and every customer interaction.

Lisa started her career as a Private Investigator and is considered one of the pioneers in mystery shopping. After building 2 different global divisions for large corporations, she launched her own company.  Lisa is a widely coveted panelist and speaker on customer experience, best in class data collection practices and the evolution of the On-Demand economy.