Real-World Mystery Shopping Tips
To learn empathy, they say you should “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” That saying holds the secret to mystery shopping. We will talk on the phone, fill out forms, send out an email and chat, all in our consumer’s shoes. A good mystery shopper directly experiences everything your shopper might go through while interacting with your dealership.
Tip: When you review the mystery shop DO NOT cut or fast forward the hold time. It is important to have the entire process in the mystery shop so your staff can hear and experience exactly what it is like for a customer to be on hold.
A. Service/Parts Department
1. Call the dealerships. Request service over the phone and record the call. When your shopper does NOT show up for the appointment, make sure if you get a follow-up call, text or email.
2. Fill out a form/chat. Fill out a form and chat on their websites under different mystery shopper names for service and schedule an appointment and record any sort of correspondence to see if your shopper is followed up on after NOT showing up. Record the results.
3. Ask for info. Phone each dealership service department and ask for the store days/hours they are open. Then ask how much it would cost to have new tires mounted and balanced on any given make or model. The make/model should be 2-3 years old. Record the results. To see how competitive the department is, ask how quickly they can get an appointment made. Compare this to independent repair shops and other franchised dealers' rates and hours.
4. Email a request. Email a request or fill out a form on the dealer website for the service department with the same questions and requests as #3. Also, check for other independent repair shops and franchised dealers' rates and hours and review/record the results.
5. Request a quote. Call and fill out a form on the dealer website requesting a quote for a part or parts (a brake pad/rotor as well as tires). Review responses on the phone, respond to form fill, and review if pricing is competitive.
B. Sales Department
1. Appointment for Test Drive
a. Contact each dealership by CHAT and express interest in a car and set a tentative appointment to take a test drive.
b. Contact the same dealerships above by website form and express interest in a car and set a tentative appointment to take a test drive.
c. Contact each dealership above by PHONE and express interest in a car and set a tentative appointment to take a test drive.
d. It is important to check if you got a follow-up for not showing up to the appointments above.
2. Credit Challenged
a. PHONE each dealership above and have your mystery shopper tell the sales rep that they have credit problems and record how the situation is handled. Set an appointment to come in by having the mystery shopper tell the sales rep that they are afraid to fill out an online form so they want to come in person to see if they qualify. When they “miss” the appointment, record when and how they are followed up.
b. Now with a different name, do the same process over the CHAT with each of the dealers and see when and how you receive a follow-up from missing an appointment.
c. Now with a third fake name, contact each dealership above on the WEBSITE general CONTACT FORM. Don’t forget to say that the mystery shopper is afraid to fill out an online form so they want to come in person to see if they qualify. See when and how the dealerships send out a follow-up and keep a record.
3. Trade Value/Vehicle Acquisition
a. Contact each dealership by CHAT, website trade-in or instant cash offer FORM, and PHONE to express interest in selling or trading in a car and set a tentative appointment for an appraisal.
b. For each mystery shopper funnel, keep a record of when and how the dealerships reach out for missing appointments.
Mystery shopping will inspire great improvements!