Do businesses keep up their regular schedule of mystery shopping over the busy holiday season, or should you expect a slow December? Although some clients will maintain a typical number of mystery shops, some will temporarily suspend secret shopping programs, and others may actually increase the number of shops. Here’s how the holidays affect the number and timing of mystery shops available . . .
Each client decides how often they want to be shopped, and during the busy holiday shopping season many would prefer that their employees take care of “real” shoppers rather than secret shoppers. They may reduce the number of shops in December, or even temporarily suspend mystery shopping until January.
Another perspective is that even if the business is busy customers still expect quality service, and it is more important than ever that the company’s standards be maintained. Many mystery shopping clients want just as many secret shops performed in December as in any other month to make sure that everyone is living up to expectations.
My experience is that some retailers will do even more shops during or just prior to a busy season such as back to school or Christmas. They want to know that all of their locations are prepared for the onslaught of customers and they handle them well. For example, I have done shops where I had to check to see that certain seasonal products were in stock, promotional signage (e.g., “Free Gift Wrap with Purchase!”) was displayed, and employees were able to answer questions knowledgeably.
No matter how many shops are being done, schedulers will want to get them done as early in the month as possible. They know that once everyone is in full holiday mode, it will be difficult or impossible to get shops scheduled and completed. Many mystery shopping providers try to get as many shops completed by mid-month as they can. You may find that deadlines are tighter in December because of the coming holidays.
December can be a tough month for schedulers. Make sure your shops are done on time. If your shop volume is a little light in December (and you want more) let schedulers know what you can do to help them out with shops that other shoppers drop or hard to schedule shops.
And have a great holiday season!