Mystery shopping is probably the last thing that crosses your mind when doing what you do best- shop. Now, have you ever wondered how the whole idea works and who is eligible for the tittle mystery shopper?

Customer experience is something that has a high value for any retailer or brand. In every interaction with a customer the experience of the customer matters: automotive, retail, catering, government, medical sector, bank and insurance, etc. The customer contact is important “tool” for enhancing customer satisfaction and the forming the idea of the brand. We all do know the terms, but how can we do it? I guess the answer is obvious- mystery shopper. I got interested in this aspect of purchasing and took some time to check how it works. In addition, I was wondering if there is some well organized network  in the Balkans.

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First things first, what is mystery shopper?

The mystery shopper is a regular consumer and only does what a regular consumer would do: shopping for groceries, making inquiries, exchange an incorrect purchase, get advised about a new outfit, search for information on a website, etc. The experiences and impressions are recorded in a survey afterwards.

The definition is taken from the website of one of the European research agencies specialized in research with real customers- Multi Value. Through their website browsing, I realized there are communities of mystery shopper that we are not even aware of. They explained in their video what mystery shopper should do. No surprises there.

Multi Value relies on their premium MSPA certified partners when it comes to international projects. For those less familiar,

The MSPA is the representative Trade Association for companies participating in the Mystery Shopping industry. The Association operates on a regional basis worldwide, with Chapters located in North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America.  Member companies unite as a common body for the purpose of strengthening the Mystery Shopping industry through combined efforts and actions.

Once I learned there is an association that keeps all bricks together, the question popped up:

Is there any company in the Balkans that is providing mystery shopping services?

There are.

Established in 2001, 4Service is one of the fastest-growing mystery shopping agencies in Europe. They grew 100 times in 2004-2013, having expanded from a tiny business in Ukraine onto 50 countries of Europe and Asia. Guess what? The South-Eastern Europe is a part of their network too. 4Service has also been a member of MSPA Europe since 2005, strictly adhering to its quality standards and ethics. More about the company can be found on their official website.

As for the local ones, I have come across the market research company based in Belgrade, Serbia called Intelligence d.o.o. They gather and process the knowledge about consumer behavior, markets, market trends and public opinion. One of their services is mystery shopping and they are members of MSPA too.

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Besides the companies that have mystery shopping as a service inside their portfolios, the individual companies in the Balkans often search for mystery shoppers. The vacancies are open for public and they often look like this. In case you feel for some paid shopping experience, go for it.

On the other hand, if you are a marketer, remember this- the customer’s perception is your reality.