CX Speak

5 Undeniable reasons why mystery shopping is not your answer to a Grander Customer Experience

Written by: Kushal Dev – Co-Founder, Customer Guru

The idea behind mystery shopping is to identify areas of improvement for better customer experience. With lack of alternatives, mystery shopping is the age old tradition followed irrespective of its lack of clarity on ROI. Lets see what are the top 5 problems with it.

Resource intensive

High costs make it possible to implement only to a few stores at a time. Decision making on this small sample of data is like a one shoe fits all strategy.

Not regular

Exhaustive and expensive surveys conducted periodically (quarter/half yearly). This gives a lot of information to work on. Usually leading to expensive and big change. All is well if things work as planned but lead to loss of time, energy, money and opportunity in case of a failure.

Delay in receiving information

Such exercise require manual intervention which is time consuming. Issues bothering customers may get missed out in one mystery shop will have to wait for their turn to be unearthed in the next periodic cycle. Unfortunately customers have to continue dealing with such issues till then.


It’s difficult to get real information, as the mystery shoppers have a built in negative bias with pre conceived notions. The nature of the interaction with store staff is artificial as the shoppers are paid to be critical.

ROI hard to calculate

Majority of retailers believe that the return on investment is poor but they continue to invest in them due to a perceived lack of alternatives.


So what is the alternative? How about making every customer a potential mystery shopper?


Ask your shoppers for regular feedback and make sustainable and incremental improvements in the customer experience. Store managers can take action by turning customer feedback into actionable tasks to improve the overall customer experience.


Providing store staff with real customer feedback – good and bad – puts things in perspective and allows them to focus on areas with maximum impact on customer experience.


Reach kushal at


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