Mystery Shopper

Verve Secret Shopper

Company: Verve Portraits |  Platform: Evolve

A Secret Shopper feedback tool that is professional, organised, accessible and transparent

Company: Owned, run and defined by visionaries in photography, illustration and design, Verve strives to set itself apart from the pack by offering a truly unique experience. At Verve they aim to develop something that extends beyond portrait photography, transcending the common and delivering an immersive experience. They carefully select the best photographers from around the world and provide continued training and development to ensure their team are the best in the business.

Summary: Verve Portraits has used the Secret Shopper tool with great success. This tool has provided an efficient and organised way to collect very valuable information for the company. Verve has been able to introduce great improvements in customer service, based on the feedback from the survey software. Verve has described the tool as “professional, organised, accessible and transparent. In the following case study, the team from verve portraits will describe their experience.

How much training did you need to launch this tool?

One of the great advantages of the Mystery Shopper is that we needed very minimal training to launch. Basically we announced the roll out of the Mystery Shopper to our Senior Management Team and explain to them how to view and print the reports that were generated. Managers then were able to generate the reports on their own and provide them to their teams for an opportunity to discuss areas for improvement.

What goals did you want to achieve when you decided to launch this secret shopper software

As a customer service focused company, An online Secret Shopper program is a big part of our guidelines for constant improvement. We were already having Secret Shoppers coming through the studios, however their feedback consisted of around 20 pages of handwritten notes that were difficult to track and compare. When we decided to launch the Secret Shopper tool within World Manager®, we were expecting to track improvements in our service and to access retrospective Secret Shopper reports quickly and easily. One of our main goals was the use of secret shopper survey software tool that would be professional and easy to use from the point of view of our Mystery Shopper, as well as being transparent from the point of view of our employees.

Do you feel that those goals were achieved?

We believe that we were able to achieve most of our expectations with the Secret Shopper tool. We had to do a few adjustments while using the tool to suits our more specific needs. We needed to complete the reports over 2 weeks and since the tool didn’t allow us to resume the process once it had started, we had to divide our reports into 8 “mini-reports”. Although that extra step made it a little difficult to navigate the Secret Shopper, we were able to adapt the tool to our process. However, after our request, World Manager® upgraded their tool to include a ‘resume’ feature. We were very excited to hear there were many improvements coming with the 5.0 upgrades, and a lot of these were based on our feedback. We no longer have this issue.

How much training did you need to launch this tool?

One of the great advantages of the Mystery Shopper is that we needed very minimal training to launch. Basically we announced the roll out of the Mystery Shopper to our Senior Management Team and explain to them how to view and print the reports that were generated. Managers then were able to generate the reports on their own and provide them to their teams for an opportunity to discuss areas for improvement.

Please describe your launch strategy?

Our launch strategy for this secret shopping tool was very simple since we were already completing Secret Shopper reports. It was easy to load our existing Secret Shopper questions into the World Manager® survey software tool and administer. Once the Managers were all aware of how to access the reports on the World Manager® platform, we were ready to launch the feature. There was very little pre-launch planning required.

How long did it take for the prep work and launching of the tool?

It took approximately 3 hours to load the questions into the Secret Shopper tool (that’s because our reports have many questions) and it took us about an hour to learn how to add new Mystery Shopper accounts and also announce them to the managers. The whole process required very little planning and time to launch. The most challenging task that we encounter now is finding suitable candidates to become a Mystery Shopper!

Did you do Mystery Shopper surveys before you decided to use World Manager®? If so, how do you find the current process compares to the previous one?

Yes, Mystery Shoppers are part of our usual practice within our business. As I mentioned earlier the way we were collecting information in the past was very hard to understand and very time consuming to transform into usable data. The Secret Shopper tool is more organised, professional, accessible and transparent and provides live reporting daily.

What is secret shopping? And are the employees and your peers able to complete Secret Shopper reports easily within the platform?

Our Secret Shopper reports are completed by candidates that are recruited by the company to pose as prospective clients and go through the entire Verve experience from sales enquiry through to after-sales care. They have reported that it was very easy for them to login as a Mystery Shopper and complete the reports.

Did they need any training or instructions to complete reports?

The initiation to the process is very simple. We send a welcome email to all new Mystery Shoppers which contains:

  • The purpose of the Mystery Shopper exercise
  • Their unique login details
  • Step by step instructions on how to add their contact details into the Mystery Shopper tool
  • A company contact in case of questions/problems.

Do you get positive feedback from your employees or peers about this tool?

The entire idea of a Mystery Shopper can be a bit confronting from the employee’s side. Some of them can perceive it as their service being “scrutinized” by their customers. But the teams realize that the tool allows our organization to keep improving and reach our potential as a company. The employees get a sense of satisfaction when they see that a problem has been addressed and rectified, thus improving customer experiences in the long term.

In what ways has the tool added value to your business?

This tool has added great value to our business. It allows us to identify problem areas or opportunities for improvement and we can create quick action plans towards these items. What is mystery shopping? Since the Mystery Shoppers are candidates that are paid to complete the reports, they give us honest feedback that we could not acquire elsewhere. The fact that the team knows that regular Mystery Shoppers are coming through really keeps them focused on the game. There is no room for sloppiness or complacency. We now have a higher standard of service which gives our company a competitive edge and a more customer focused culture within our teams.

Are there any specific examples where this tool has helped you identify a problem quickly?

One great example of the tool being so effective, was through several Mystery Shoppers’ reports that we had collected, we realized we were not responding to client’s enquiries as fast as they wanted. Quickly finding this issue encouraged us to make some changes and improvements to our enquiry procedures. As a result, we were able to give clients what they were requesting.

What advice would you provide to other brands that are about to launch this tool within the platform?

Some general suggestions about the Mystery Shopper tool would be:

  • Be as thorough and specific as you can when it comes to formulating your questions
  • Don’t take anything for granted
  • Ask your Mystery Shopper their opinions on every aspect of the buying experience
  • Ensure that your employees understand that the purpose of engaging the Mystery Shoppers is to improve the customers experience, not to “checkup” on your employees and “catch them out” doing something wrong
  • Share your Mystery Shopper reports with full transparency for maximum effectiveness

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