Are funds or merchandise mysteriously going missing from your business? Do you feel that your employees are not being honest? Is your business the target of frequent shoplifting? Maybe it is time to consider investigating these problems. If you are a business owner and you wish to investigate the suspicious or unsettling activity, but want to do it discreetly, undercover shoppers may be the solution. Undercover shoppers or mystery shoppers are used to investigate customer service, criminal activity, violations of company policies, and honesty in the workplace.
Undercover shoppers are people who are hired to pose as clients or customers and investigate by going into the restaurant, store, or business to find out if employees are being honest and diligent. Not only will business owners get the inside scoop of what is going on within the business, but they will also be able to do so without an investigation that disturbs the natural environment of the workplace and interferes with clients and customers.
Undercover shoppers provided to a business can perform differently, depending on the individual business owner’s needs. Shoppers can shop and purchase items, speak with employees, ask questions about the business, speak with customer support staff, take notes on the quality of their experience, go undercover in competing businesses, and use text or social media services. Undercover shoppers can gather information using these methods and relay the information for businesses to use.
Undercover shoppers are a reliable way to gather information on how a business is functioning. Employees are usually the most diligent when their managers and employers are watching, and therefore, it makes it difficult for managers and employers to do investigating or observing. It can also be difficult for employers to have another employee investigate into other employees because he or she may be biased.
Services like undercover shoppers can uncover a plethora of issues going on within businesses. This service can be revealing in several ways including:
- Finding out legal issues going on within a business from professionals who understand the law and how to obtain information that can be helpful in court or in litigation.
- Having an investigator who knows what red flags to look for.
- Gathering information that can later be used to uncover more serious issues like fraud and employee theft.
The benefits of using an undercover shopper are tremendous for any large or small business. Investigations can lead to the discovery of issues that could be costing a business profits, customer loyalty, a positive workplace, risk of legal issues, poor customer reviews, credibility, and reputation. Even just one customer who leaves a business dissatisfied because of poor customer service can cost a business that customer and all the potential customers that could be warned to stay away. Reputation is everything when it comes to any business and when even just one customer is unhappy with the experience at a business, it could seriously damage potential profits.
Unfortunately, other methods that business owners attempt to use to investigate employee dishonesty are usually ineffective. Employees are often loyal to friends and coworkers they make while working with one another. Employee feedback often fails to be revealing of wrongdoing. Customer service surveys and incentive programs usually do not have great outcomes either because many customers and clients are unwilling to participate. Most surveys often turn up partial information or snippets of information that do not reveal the full story.
According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, employee theft, fraud, and dishonesty happen more frequently than one would think. Employers and business owners want to trust that the employees they hire have the business’ best interests at heart. However, it is estimated that about $50 billion dollars are stolen annually from U.S. businesses. This staggering number could be a result of both employee theft and fraud and shoplifting caused by lack of employee diligence. It is also estimated that the average time that employee fraud occurs before it is detected is about 2 years.
If you believe that your business could be suffering from frequent shoplifting, lazy and dishonest employees, and loss of profitability, consider getting an undercover shopper. Undercover shoppers can serve a business’ individual needs and can reveal problems that are occurring and put a stop to them before it is too late.