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When an organization decides to outsource a MS project, the staff in charge is often not sure about what to do. Should s/he take a low price as the most important factor of consideration? The following are some crucial factors that help you to choose a suitable MS provider.

Scale and experience of a MS provider
When choosing a MS provider, you may consider the scale of the company; the geographical locations covered by its pertinent experience on MS projects. Appointing an international company might be a good idea as their resources and geographical locations covered can better fit into the business development of the organization. For example, many organizations not only manage the business development in a single region nowadays but expanding their businesses to the Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. In terms of resources, the company can choose a MS provider with related experiences in market research and training. In regard to the data and analysis, the MS provider is able to offer professional advice and respective training to the company, which assists the company to improve and address their weaknesses sharply.

The experience that the MS provider has is also quite important. Factors including the number of years it has engaged in MS projects, the types of industry experience it has, the number of MS projects it engages a year, and the total number of visits it previously has, can help the organization to gain better understanding on the capability of the MS provider. Rich industry knowledge and experience can enhance the development of the entire MS project. For example, it can stipulate an up-to-date service assessment form to meet the service processes of the industry more closely. Some MS providers offer performance analysis for particular industries, or even announce the service benchmark of particular industries on a regular basis. This can help the organizations gain more information of their counterparts, which help them stipulate their best marketing strategies.

Quality, training and management of MS
Mystery shoppers play a crucial role in the projects. Hence, it is vital to find out how a company recruit and train the mystery shoppers. The MS company should have a certain number of mystery shoppers, and cannot only rely on a few fixed mystery shoppers. This is due to the fact that the target customers of different industries vary, which require different mystery shoppers in the shopper pool in order to maintain the diversity, i.e. mystery shoppers’ genders, ages and their shopping behaviours. An eligible shopper is trained and instructed to comply with the professional conduct in terms of the mysteriousness and confidentiality of information. Mystery shopper has to understand the standards and requirements of the project s/he works on prior to their assigned visits. Therefore, it is essential for the MS provider to have a complete training system, and cannot choose people randomly to become mystery shoppers. Qualified mystery shoppers should have certain knowledge of the service industries objective observation skills and proficient communication skills. The MS provider will offer relevant training and strict selection based on these criteria. Some companies not only provide training classes and tests, but also offer on-site training, so that the mystery shoppers can understand the requirements and assessment criteria of the project. It is the MS provider’s responsibility to manage the quality of the mystery shoppers systematically by providing regular refreshment training and offers feedback and comments to the mystery shoppers during the evaluation process.

Rich project management experience – quality control
Quality and quantity are the emphases in mystery shopper projects. Therefore, the plentiful project management experience of a company is one of the factors of consideration. The project team has to understand the needs of the organization to stipulate a suitable project timeframe, criteria of quality control as well as the performance pledges. The organization should understand the project workflow of and system used by the MS provider, as well as the roles, rights and responsibilities, and the speed of response in the project. To ensure the evaluation results are accurate and fair, strict quality control is necessary, e.g. returning time of visit reports by the mystery shoppers, assessment criteria on the related proofs of visits and content, and the processes of re-checking.

Integrated report of mystery shoppers
Organizations often rely on the integrated data and reports to reward their employees and find out rooms for improvement. Therefore, an accurate and in-depth report is fairly important. Organizations may ask the MS providers for some sample reports as reference for their consideration. Some companies even release their reports via online platforms. You may ask for a sample demo to see whether the reports are easy to use and read.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more about the program of mystery shopper!