The longer I am in the business of mystery shopping, the more I see a lack of integrity in the way some mystery shopping companies do business. Because it is such a subtle value, and one that is hard to test for, many don’t know what to look for when it comes to choosing a firm that has integrity.
If you are looking to use a mystery shopping company for the first time in your organization, or are considering making a change this year, let me give you a few helpful hints on what to look for in the firm you select.
A mystery shopping company with integrity will follow this code of conduct:
1. The company you are considering will demonstrate a willingness to spend the time to understand the scope of your project. Just asking a few questions before they give you a quote may not be enough. A firm with integrity will probe to make sure they “get you” and will also offer ideas that you may not have considered for your project.
2. A mystery shopping company with integrity will stand behind their work. A good way to test for this is to see if they offer you a guarantee.
3. Having integrity means that the mystery shopping company has fully disclosed their approach to your project in their contract with you. What? No contract? Demand one so that you are protected by the agreement.
4. A mystery shopping company with integrity is also one that protects your data. They do not change/corrupt the feedback from their field researchers in an attempt to sugar coat your results.
5. Choosing a firm with integrity means that you will experience communication throughout the process, checking in with progress reports, letting you know that things are running smoothly and when they are not.
When choosing a mystery shopping company, take your time and consider the core values of the firms you are considering. If integrity isn’t one of those values…keep looking!
What does integrity mean to you?