For Mystery Shop Success:
Don’t Shortcut the Preparation and Planning Stage
(Preparing for the Unexpected from a Position of Strength)
For all market research assignments, the time spent on project preparation will be the cornerstone that determines whether the project will be a failure or a success.
The project description form helps guide both the market research consultant and the client as to the objectives of the project, the methodology or methodologies to be used to gather the information, preparation of key personnel, and deliverables.
Below is a sample of a project description form for a Competitive Intelligence project involving a mystery shop.
Let us look at some of the more important sections in the form.
Project lead(s): This identifies the persons who will be responsible for the overall success of failure of project. Usually, this identifies the contacts from the market research company and the client company.
Purpose of the project: If the client company is going to spend money on a market research project, it makes sense to identify the purpose of the project if for no other reason than to ensure that those involved focus on the objectives and are not side tracked. In other words, it helps to prevent “mission creep.”
How the research findings will be used: This section follows naturally from the previous one and can answer any of the following sample questions: Are the primary objectives to better understand CX (Customer Experience)? Or uncover business opportunities? Or find and defend against competitor threats before they can harm the company? If the findings show unacceptable performance levels, will the company endeavour to correct the problem?
This is also useful for preparing the client to deal with any unexpected findings.
Timing of the Project: When will the final results be delivered to the client company?
Deliverables: Reports? Presentations? Screenshots? Videos?
Mystery shop recruitment and preparation: In this project, the important work of information gathering will be done mystery shoppers. Obviously, great care must be taken during the recruitment and preparation process, especially in a B2B environment.
Analysis required: In this case, it may include gathering corroborating information, making follow-up calls, secondary research and any research required to fill gaps in the research.
Resources provided to the vendor: Any resources or information, usually confidential, that the client company may provide the market company.