Used as a means of market research since the 1940s, mystery shopping services are useful in improving customer retention. Via customer service data surveys, unannounced service evaluations, and real-time reporting solutions, our mystery shoppers at JM Ridgway can help you better satisfy your customers and improve industry standards. 

How does mystery shopping work?

A professionally hired mystery shopper conducts anonymous surveys within a specific industry. These questionnaires and checklists usually measure the quality of a customer’s experience at a particular shop or restaurant by asking them to list how they are greeted by staff or the maximum amount of time they would spend waiting in line, among other things. 

Who uses mystery shoppers?

Nearly all types of industries can benefit from using mystery shoppers. These include: 

  • Retail stores and malls
  • Restaurants and fast-food chains
  • Banks
  • Hotels

Each industry caters to a different type of customer, who demonstrate varying pain points and specific needs. 

1. Retail Stores

Much to a retail business owner’s surprise, features such as the location, size, and cleanliness of fitting rooms or arrangement of stocks can affect a customer’s experience. Retail surveys can evaluate:

  • A store’s level of cleanliness
  • The quality of customer service and employees’ behavior
  • How convenient it is to shop at a particular store

This information can help determine whether you need to hire new staff or simply rearrange a window display. 

2. Shopping Malls

Considered a collective hub for various services, shopping malls need to meet customer expectations regarding all its facilities. Mystery shoppers will analyze: 

  • Overall customer experience 
  • Quality of customer service
  • General cleanliness
  • Employee and business partner performance
  • Quality of competing services

Renting businesses must adhere to the mall’s code of conduct as well as its KPIs.

3. Restaurants

Any restaurant owner should know how important loyal customers are to their operations. To attract regular customers, mystery shoppers help to determine aspects that foodies might consider such as:

  • How servers treat restaurant-goers
  • The cleanliness of the dining area, facilities, and kitchen
  • The quality of food served
  • The general ambiance of the restaurant

Schedule cleanings regularly and remember to upgrade your menu as the times change. 

4. Banks

Banks hire mystery shoppers to ensure that customers are receiving the best services possible. To provide the best solutions to external and internal audits, mystery shoppers collect information regarding: 

  • The time spent waiting in line
  • Whether employees are available at all times
  • If there are additional services to keep customers entertained while waiting

Banks also need to meet international standards, which is why it’s important for mystery shoppers to evaluate the quality of service customers receive on the phone, via mobile, at ATM machines, or online. 

5. Hotels and Hospitality

In order to provide five-star service, hiring mystery shoppers at hotels is a must. They conduct testing aspects that cover:

  • Hotel customer service
  • Quality of food and cleanliness
  • Responsiveness of hotel staff
  • Room service
  • Overall hospitality

It’s imperative that hotels ensure all guests are receiving the same quality of customer service. 


Collecting the right type of information is imperative to achieving business success. At JM Ridgway we offer customer feedback services that not only help you satisfy future customers but boost employee morale. We understand that success doesn’t happen overnight but can better your chances by providing profit-focused services.

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