The Mystery Shopper is based on covert participant observation (the auditor interacts with the test person according to a predetermined scenario). Its purpose is usually to verify compliance with customer service standards, test the level of recommendation or brand image. The method assumes that trained auditors play the role of ordinary customers visiting the facility and interested in purchasing a product or using a service.
The auditor follows the developed action scenario and, following the guidelines, checks the customer service process – verifies its compliance with the accepted standards. The visit ends anonymously – Mystery Shopper does not reveal the true purpose of the visit. The essence of the study is the fact that the employees of the surveyed facilities do not know that they are participating in the study and behave exactly as if it took place in everyday contact with the client. Thanks to this, it is possible to study a given phenomenon without distortions that may accompany other research methods. The survey may take the form of direct visits to the facility, telephone conversations (e.g. verification of the work of telephone consultants) or online contacts (e.g. chats on the website).