Mystery Shopping: A Red Feather for Pakistan’s Retail Business

Pakistan is among of next eleven economies driving global growth and showing positive growth in recent years despite of global recession and significant challenges like energy crisis, law & order, regional instability etc.

As per Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) in overall economy the service sector contributes 53% and share of wholesale or retail is 33%; in overall GDP, around 18% and growing. After agriculture and manufacturing retailing is the third largest sector and employing around 20% of the total manpower force with estimated sales of US$ 133 Billion by the end of 2015.

There are lots of companies have considerably spread their retail network in Pakistan like Servis, Bata, Borjan, Hush Puppies, Urban Sole, Wards, Khadi, Levi’s, Shirt & Tie, Breeze, KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone, Pepsi, Hyperstar, Metro, Gourmet etc. and growing.

Retailing involves the process of selling or providing company’s goods and services directly to the customers such as appliances, furniture, food & beverages, clothing, apparel, shoes etc. The retail industry is evolving rapidly all over the word; as reported in 2013 by U.S Commerce Department more than 25 Million people are employed by retailers with sales volume of US$ 5 Trillion in 2013 and increasing.

Retailing is based on the concept of selling goods directly to the customers which significantly added the importance of excellence in customer services. Customer service is the endowment of service to the customers before, Telenor balance save code during and after a purchase (Wikipedia).

The virtuous customer service is an essential part in retail because if a customer feels valued, they are more likely to not just stay with you but they will also recommend you to others and the importance of ‘word of mouth’ referrals should never be undervalued by any retail company when it comes to increasing your sales and customers. However, it has been witnessed that the actual service delivery by the retail store staff to the customer is not as connected with the organization’s standard service delivery procedures.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation or brand and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently, “Warren Buffett”. In a recent research; 54% of respondent said they share their bad service experience with at least 5 other people; it significantly shows how a bad customer service delivery can damage the sales and business of the company.

Importantly, there must be an evaluation system to measure the actual excellence of customer service delivery to identify gaps; thus development and corrective plans be nurture accordingly to fill the gaps.

In a nutshell, mystery shopping is an aiding tool actively used by the many successful companies to measure the quality of their customer service delivery. In mystery shopping, a mystery shopper visits any of the retail or service outlet as a customer to purchase product, talk or ask questions to the sales staff, launch a complaint and based on his experience write a detailed report on it.

In his report he identify the key gaps with respect to expected standard delivery of service. Based on these gaps a company can devised a comprehensive customer service delivery plan to improve their delivery of customer service. By improving customer service delivery; customer will be more satisfied, loyal, attracts new ones and increase sales of the company.

Therefore, Pakistan being the hidden hero of retailing has great opportunities to grow and mystery shopping can play a strategic role to improve quality of customer service delivery and to have competitive edge on business rivals.

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