I just completed a large mystery shopping project for a client of mine, sending a number of shoppers (in couples) to check out the overall experience. Primarily I want to know how the winery treats their guests. In short, what kind of Experience (with a capital E) the guests have.
I am realizing more and more that getting the right kind of shoppers for the different wineries that are being shopped is critical. If, as a winery, or any retail outlet, you are going to employ a company or individuals to mystery shop your business understand who you should be hiring. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Connection cancels out objectivity: Don’t hire people you know, as these people will not want to tell you any bad news and will therefore minimize it.
That is also true of people who have a connection to your winery (wine club members or regular customers). They are already connected with your winery and therefore (even though they may not realize if) have a difficult time being objective. As they are good customers, they are usually treated well, in many cases better than strangers who walk in the door.
Do not use people who work in your industry. These shoppers, many times, are overly critical. They may try to catch employees out by asking esoteric or convoluted questions. You want to hire people who are interested in what is done correctly as well as what is done wrong. They may also evaluate the Experience they expect to have, rather than the Experience they actually have.
Mystery shopping is very important to your business. You want to get good information from your shoppers, so screen them well and make sure they are clear on what is expected of them.
A tip of the glass from me to you!