Five reasons why you shouldn’t use mystery diners & what you can do instead

Retail businesses have used mystery shoppers and mystery diners for many years. The adoption of technology has significantly reduced the demand for this service and certainly in our years of trading we see less and less need for mystery diners. Typically, a mystery diner is used to help keep your brand standards on track. But how much can you trust that this service will do it’s best for your brand and shape the actions that come out of any visit? Here are 5 good reasons why you should consider not using mystery diners and what you can do instead.

5 reasons why you shouldn’t use mystery diners

Budget usually only allows for 1 visit a month. That’s a tiny fraction (something like 0.003%!) of your customer base so not representative at all.

Mystery diners are not necessarily your typical customer. They don’t know your brand, they don’t love you and don’t know what the typical experience should be.

A person performing a mystery visit can often be spotted as they are usually tasked with asking compliance-based questions. If your teams are bonused and incentivised on such a visit they are going to ensure that their best performance is given. What happens to other guests also in your venue at the time? Do they receive a lesser experience?

A mystery diner one month may visit a Monday lunch, the next month it might be a Thursday night and the 3rd month it might a Saturday brunch. You need to know what happens every Monday lunch, every Thursday night and every Saturday brunch. You can then know if something is operationally not working or was a one off due to circumstances outside of the teams control

There is a time lag between the visit and when you receive the data. Real-time data is needed to address issues quickly and help recover guests quickly. 10s of thousands of other customers could have passed through your door experiencing the same issue without resolve.

What you can do instead and how we can help

Create an internal audit for all staff

Use our audit survey to set up a survey to measure key performance concerns. These questions can be different for brands, regions or even branches addressing what is crucial to that particular site. This survey should be made available to all Head Office staff, Ops Managers and other GMs visiting other sites. Peer to peer critical appraisal will also help GMs compare against their own site and spot where they can also make further improvements.

Use your own customers and run your own programme

Use your own database of loyal guests to ask them to sign up to be a brand champion for you by running your own programme. Encourage your guests to visit and complete a more detailed survey in return for a voucher or reward which further creates brand loyalty. We can set up a separate dashboard giving you real time access to view the data and additionally we can provide a bespoke report.