Customer experience is always the core of every business enterprise, much so that companies hire investigators to pose as customers of their own company in order to receive an independent report on customer experience.
This involves in-depth inquiry on products and services that need improvement or simplification. Companies can further hire investigators to visit their competitors to obtain useful intelligence on strategy, products or services.
This is considered mystery shopping. The information acquired can include evaluating the quality of services provided by the staff or franchise policies that are followed.
According to a 2018 study titled determinants of brand loyalty by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), service quality, customer perceived value and brand image are qualifications for brand loyalty.
Based on the findings of the study and the ensuing conclusions, the study offered an insight into supermarkets brand loyalty from a Kenyan customer perspective, which has previously been scarcely evaluated.
“The study provided empirical evidence of how retail service quality, customer perceived value, sales promotions, brand image and customer satisfaction dimensions influence the behavioural intentions of brand loyalty,” the study read in part.
It further notes that whereas sales promotions are an important tool to motivate shoppers to support the stores, supermarket managers should focus more on brand image, service quality and customer perceived value to increase brand loyalty with a view to retain customers and gain a competitive edge.
In Kenya, mystery shopping has not taken root, with only a few companies utilizing it. However, there has been a sudden surge in companies and brands seeking to use customer experience as a differentiator.
Such organizations would not only benefit from a new staff going undercover and experiencing services but also by utilizing mystery customers.
One such startup is Buyology Kenya. The mystery shopping company aims at improving the Kenyan customer experience and identifying profit opportunities. They provide jobs for mystery shoppers who make money by providing feedback on their experience.
“Buyology seeks to place Kenya ahead of market competitors and provide the most conducive environment for customers and shoppers by measuring the quality of service, compliance with regulation, collect information about your products and services, merchandising evaluations and help to benchmark against other market leaders,” says Jacqui Mwangi, the firm’s founder.
Clients, she says, appreciate Buyology’s unbiased and prompt reports and quick data analysis as well as service evaluation.
“We use our modern tools to help understand the customer’s journey from the customer’s view. Customers will tell others about their experience with your brand, whether good or bad. The bad news will reach more ears and customers will ultimately vote with their wallet. There is a clear correlation between a company’s attention to customer service and a customer’s willingness to pay more for good service,” Mwangi says.
When she started Buyology, she was interested in exploring how she could disrupt customer service, an area that was yet to realize significant change then. She had been testing a number of ideas with the company, pushing it on until it gained traction in the market.
“We aim at using crowdsourcing to get in contact with and employ people who would work as independent contractors. People would be required to go on a shopping spree to whatever company that requires their services,” she says.
“The aim is to enable companies and brands really know what their customers feel and their overall opinion of them after they have completed their transaction. The information would be harvested from these independent contractors which would serve as the base for the research.”
The information is used to improve customer service and experience, meet and exceed their expectations, simplify their journey, align to customer management and retention strategies and improve products and services.
Jacqui Mwangi, an experienced marketer by profession, believes that such information would help companies increase and improve on their customer service and all other areas where they are lagging behind, to successfully please their customers.
Buyology works with Telcos, Supermarkets, Hotels and Restaurants, Medical facilities, Government institutions (regulation, anti-corruption) Petrol stations, Retail stores, Clubs, Call centres, e-shops, Airlines, Transport companies, Security companies and any customer-centric company.
Mwangi aims to help firms understand their customers better instead of pushing them away and to ensure their loyalty.
Signing up to be a mystery shopper with Buyology is easy and simple. You only have to go to their website to sign up.
Besides getting an opportunity to make money on the site, mystery shoppers would be paid in full for any products they purchased on a survey shopping spree.
Buyology helps companies develop and deliver delightful customer experiences.