Category Archives: video mystery shopping

Video Mystery Shopping Company

Video Innovations in Mystery Shopping

At Tern, we’re fortunate enough to meet and work with a range of business sectors. Most love the idea of mystery shopping, however as technology keeps advancing we are being asked how we can add extra interest for senior management teams. At some point most companies have considered using video, but video mystery shop isn’t always practical. To bring customers’ stories to life we have added an extra dimension to our standard written reports, VoxPop videos!

How does it work?

The VoxPop is a circa 1 minute ‘selfie’ video which the shopper makes immediately after their visit.  They speak directly to the camera effectively giving you face to face feedback on how they felt about the experience.  You get to hear the tone of voice and see the shoppers facial expressions as they bring your mystery shopping report to life.  This short but powerful video is embedded into the standard mystery shopping report thus providing you with the hard stats and the softer, more subjective video feedback.

Coupled with NPS score data you can quickly group the videos into sentiment groups that support the mystery shopping data.

Quick visual overview

Video VoxPop

The Video Feedback Process

Video is quickly becoming the perfect tool which can add a qualitative element to  quantitative mystery shopping research data.

Videos can be quickly combined into sentiment show-reels if required, allowing you to group multiple elements of video feedback by NPS rating or other important key surveys requested as part of the exercise.

If you’d like to learn more, then our video VoxPop feedback sessions could be a great addition to your mystery shop reporting. Give us a shout to find out more.

Consumer Credit Mystery Shopping

Rent to View Mystery Shopping

The Rent-to-Own Sector

With the FCA shifting its focus towards companies supplying in the Rent-to-Own  marketplace, high cost credit providers are continuing to attract the attention of the financial regulators.

So, is it now the right time for these high cost credit companies to focus on the customer first? After all, the rest of the financial services industry has faced a deeper level of scrutiny for a much longer period of time.

The number of consumers accessing high cost credit in the UK

 “In the UK, up to 400,000 people use rent-to-own firms to buy household appliances, paying the money back over three years.” Source BBC News

With such high numbers of people accessing these lines of consumer credit, it’s essential for compliance and arrears teams at these firms to take a pro-active approach in support of the customer.

If the high cost credit industry is to continue unrestricted, avoiding enforced price caps, then those supplying short term credit to consumers through lease agreements or rentals need to have a more inward looking philosophy.

Date Source: Citizens Advice Bureau

Providing clear communication on consumer credit

It’s time for the sector to be more diligent with customer communications, whether that’s transparency on contract terms, clarity on the overall cost of credit or termination fees. Helping customers to have a clear understanding of the product offer and the costs of purchase ensures that companies sell in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading.

Staff play by far the biggest part in the way consumers interpret the information given. They are also the highest risk area when it comes to the consumer failing to understand what they are committing to. Making sure the correct affordability checks are conducted and that the customer has all the required information to make an informed decision should be standard.

Areas of customer risk for consumer credit providers

  • Clarity of Payment Terms
  • Termination Fees and right to cancel
  • Transparency of overall cost
  • Affordability checking
  • Contract Terms and the small print
  • Treatment when payments are missed

 Taking the right approach

By doing things in the right way, the benefits gained are not only for the consumer, they are also for the company. Making sure that complaints and arrears figures for consumer credit don’t form a bigger part of the business means that companies can avoid ratings downgrades, damaging newspaper articles and greater regulation from the FCA.

There will always be a demand for short term higher cost credit however it’s in everybody’s interest to make sure the customer doesn’t become distressed when gaining access to it.

 Mystery Shop Research for Consumer Credit Companies

Tern provide second line of defence mystery shop research to some of the biggest financial companies in the UK. We provide our clients with evidence based research in the form of digital mystery shop reports . These reports are feature rich and can include embedded audio, video and survey scoring.

For more information on how we can support your compliance and operations teams call us on 01939 235555

Mystery Shop+ Your mystery shopper giving you direct video feedback

VoxPop Video Feedback Survey Stats
VoxPop Video Feedback Surveys

Put your senior executives back on the shop floor by giving them direct access to video feedback from your customers.  If your board is separated from your customer feedback by charts and graphs, is the time right to give them direct voxpop style video feedback surveys  via our revolutionary Mystery Shop+ service?

Video is a persuasive tool for business performance measurement.

Few things are more captivating than a good story. With online video views far surpassing most text-based content, telling the story of your customer journey in video has the potential to engage your staff more than ever before. The good news is that Videos ranging from professional productions to spontaneous interactions captured on phones all have the potential to be powerful.

If you need help developing a powerful internal communications plan, video is the method help bring your content to life.

With viewers spending about 100% more time on pages containing video (Source: Marketing Sherpa)  you can be guaranteed that customer video feedback will be effective at delivering key messages.

Stimulating our Senses

Video draws on our senses, you get to hear and see the things that are otherwise left to interpretation. Together, audio and visual stimulus can often evoke a deeper connection, allowing viewers to engage with content on a much more personal and emotional level.

Humans Process Visual Data Better

“Visualization works from a human perspective because we respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.   Since we are visual by nature, we can use this skill to enhance data processing and organizational effectiveness.” Source: T-Science

Delivery of Key Messages

Collecting content rich videos is key to areas within a business which might not have direct interactions with frontline staff. Video completely removes the hierarchical structure within a business putting the ‘Voice of the Customer’ directly in front of the Chief Executive.

Voice af the Customer Survey Feedback

Voice of the Customer Survey Feedback

Short and Sweet

We know that because Senior Management teams are often short on time video length is also important. According to Wistia the longer a video is, the lower its retention. Videos under 1 minute enjoy 80% viewer retention up to the 30-second mark, while videos 2-3 minutes in length only experience 60% retention.

Our VoxPop videos are no more than a minute in length a give you the key highlights of the store experience.

Stop Reading this and Take a Look for yourself

If you looking to give your retail mystery shopping customer experience programme a boost watch our VoxPops Video Feedback Surveys to see how some of our customers have been engaging with our clients through video.  We can also conduct covert video mystery shopping which can be used to record the entire experience from the customer viewpoint.

New Consumer Ombudsman Launched

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  20/08/2015

With an overhaul in consumer rights due this October, along with a proposed Consumer Rights Bill, it’s time you brushed up on your customer service standards. The new Consumer Ombudsman will allow customers to raise a complaint about businesses in any sector, bringing focus to areas which may have been previously overlooked.

The new consumer ombudsman will be positive for both business and consumers alike and will seek to clarify core consumer rights:

New Consumer Ombudsman Launched

The New Consumer Ombudsman Website

The core consumer rights as defined by the bill will be:

  • Right to get what you pay for;
  • Right that goods and digital content are fit for purpose and services are provided with reasonable care and skill;
  • Right to have faults in what you buy put right free of charge, or to be provided with a refund or replacement.

According to the latest figures released by the Ombudsman services, 66 million complaints were made about products and services last year – equating to a complaint every 1.2 seconds.

Find out what this will mean for you as a consumer by visiting Which or the new Consumer Ombudsman websites.

How will the new Consumer Ombudsman help to shape a better customer service experience?

Experts in dispute resolution the ombudsman will be available to sort out complaints about the companies which have joined the organisation. They will provide an independent, impartial and cost effective means of resolving disputes outside the courts.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will mean that the new ombudsman will be available across all consumer sectors. Ensuring your service standards are in order will avoid consumer complaints down the line.

Using mystery shopping as an effective measure of customer service experience:

The financial services and energy sector have both been proactive in the use of mystery shopping as a pre-emptive tool against poor service for many years; gaining insight into their call centres, face to face interactions and online service delivery.

Mystery Shopping is an effective means of driving up your core standards and will make sure your customer journey is clear and understood by all.

Looking to improve your own customer service standards?

Tern can support you with telephone calls to assess your contact centre, video mystery shopping for detailed evidence gathering and standard written mystery shop reports which are all delivered through our easy to use online platform. This will provide you with all of the evidence you need to form a detailed audit; see the  rmystery shop report examples page to see what this looks like in practice.

Read more on this story from around the web

This is Money
Retail Week

Mystery Diners for Restaurants, Bars, Cafes and Pub Chains

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  21/07/2015

The UK dining and restaurant sector is a hugely competitive marketplace and the experience of the consumer is key to the ongoing success of individual brands and the growth of the sector as a whole.

In a time where online reviews through sites like have become an integral part of the consumer decision making process it is even more important to check that service levels are right from the start. Many companies are using ‘Mystery Diners’ to see whether their service standards exceed, or fail, against company expectations.

Mystery Diners


Eating-out spend reaches 13 month high

By Sophie Witts, 09-Jun-2015
Consumer spending on eating and drinking-out reached a record peak in May, according to the latest Barclaycard Consumer Spending report.

Creating a mystery diner programme, that is both engaging and rewarding for staff, can help to identify any areas of weakness throughout the consumer experience. Making your staff members ‘champions of the business’ can be a great motivational tool and really improve overall service standards.

We were commissioned by Sam Smith Brewery to conduct a Mystery Diner Programme to do just that. We provided them with a carefully blended programme of standard restaurant mystery shopping and under age sales testing. The customer journey was carefully documented through the eyes our mystery diners and recorded on our online reporting system.

Sam Smith, owner of the independent Sam Smith Brewery and pub chain said:

‘I can only speak very positively about Tern and the service we have agreed. There have been some challenges getting our managers to take it seriously and holding them accountable for poor service. A highlight was running a trip for our Customer Service Champions – the managers who achieved the top three scores – where they had a VIP experience at our breweries, including getting involved in the brewing process themselves. We are slowly but surely seeing progress in the service delivered at our sites.’

Commissioning Mystery Diners

When commissioning a mystery dining programme you should give consideration to some of the following points;

  • Understand the mystery dining criteria against your company standards.
  • Keep visits objective.
  • Seek to understand performance and benchmark over time.
  • Create segmented views of the business;
    • For example looking at how the service level changes at different times of the day or when ordering at the bar or in the restaurant.
  • Let the data identify the gaps for training your staff.
  • Understand sales and service upgrade opportunities.

Whichever method of mystery shopping you decide upon, video, audio or written, the reports you gain will be invaluable for your business.

See some of our mystery shopping report examples and download the free mystery shop survey template to get you started or find out more about Tern, one of the leading mystery shopping companies in the UK on our home page.


Mystery Shopping Return on Investment

The business case for Mystery Shopping Return on Investment in 5 Steps and how to make it happen.

Mystery Shopping return on investment

It may seem counterintuitive to invest in Mystery Shopping when your customer satisfaction scores are already very high, particularly when a business focus is to cut costs. However, there is growing recognition that mystery shopping services and detailed views of the customer experience can deliver a strong return on investment for companies.

1. Focus on your brand objectives to help increase profit

So you want more conversions, you want to increase your average transaction value and ultimately you want more loyal customers.  Aligning the mystery shopping programme to these key objectives will help you achieve all of these things. By conducting mystery shopping you are helping to understand that all the right elements for success are in place on consistent basis.

Doing the right thing for the customer is more than just good practice – it’s a long term business strategy that will stand the test of time.

So how do you do this?

 2. Increase the relevance of the mystery shop reporting for your business

By focusing and understanding the key business areas within a mystery shopping programme you can investigate how your overall score can be improved. This works at both the company level and at a more granular regional or store level as you are able to see the overall strengths and weakness within a business.

After all you should be able to focus easily on how an individual store could achieve 100% by making small but measureable improvements in certain situations.  When you actually show staff how easy it is to do this they go on to become a positive promoter for both the business and its objectives. Improvements in mystery shop scores benefit both employer and employee and this is when mystery shopping can truly become a tool for success.

3. Take your employees with you on the journey

Ensuring that all stakeholders have input at key stages results in better engagement and fewer challenges. Encourage staff to feedback on reports and become part of the improvement process. By ensuring that the mystery shopping evidence gathered is robustly quality checked and is factual rather than subjective also alleviates and concerns store staff may have about the programme.

Verifying the reports with either picture, video or audio evidence supports each individual report and helps the business build upon its training and development programmes for staff.  Mystery Shopping should ultimately be seen as an investment opportunity to develop your staff.

With video mystery shopping, it is true to say that the majority of employees become fascinated with their own performance and how they can make personal improvements. No other method gives you quite the insight on an individual level or the ability to engage with your employees.

4. How do I correlate the improvements in mystery shop scores to ROI?

Any improvement in conversion rates, transaction value, and customer loyalty is a by-product of excellence customer service and this will be unique for each business. By benchmarking your mystery shop scores over time and matching them against your sales data for individual locations will help to give you a measure for success. This in turn will give you the justification you need to run the programme and continue its development.

Knowing what good looks like is the benchmark for everybody to aspire to and showing how excellence in customer service can impact the bottom line is the ultimate measure.

 5. Show your employees how they can benefit

Supporting employees with understanding the objectives of the business is key for both parties. If you are not helping employees to aim and reach for a 100% mystery shop score by the same token you are also not supporting the business to deliver its objectives. Remember that in a situation where the ultimate goal is to outperform you competitors the key component that will make a difference is your employees. By looking after your staff and mentoring them to understand your business goals and values you will benefit from a productive and coordinated workforce.

Motivated employees can thrive on delivering improved customer service which ultimately gives a sound return on your investment. This benefits both the business and employee.  Your internal awards and bonus structure can be aligned to both sales and mystery shop scores.

6. Finally remove the distractions from Operational Managers

A high frequency mystery shopping project can gather a large amount of data very quickly. By choosing a provider and a platform for report delivery which allows intelligent and easy segmentation you are able to focus on areas which require immediate attention. Whether  that is to give praise, or to deliver a manager action plan which instigates positive change.

Training and development of staff is key to successful company performance and giving yourself an independent reference from a third party is an invaluable starting point.

Mystery Shopping places the customer service at the heart of the business. Knowing that each customer is a potential mystery customer ensures that means staff are continually challenged on behalf of every customer that walks through your door.

Written by James Harper – Tern Consultancy Ltd – Linkedin  09/02/2014

Mystery Shopping with Tern Consultancy

Tern Consultancy has a reputation for mystery shopping that is industry specific, practical and based on common sense. We have the unique distinction of combining the skill sets of operations managers, trainers and insights delivery teams to the required objectives for a business.

Tern Review the NL10 Necklace Camera

Written by Victoria Swan│Tern Consultancy Ltd│05/02/2015

With a little help from one of our editors, Steph Cassidy, we have tested the latest Lawmate accessory for Video Mystery Shoppers – the NL10 Necklace Camera.

The launch of the NL10 created quite a buzz amongst our Video Shoppers so we wanted to test it for ourselves.


Look and Design

✔  The design of the NL10 is unlike anything else you will find on the video mystery shopping market which is great for putting people off the scent of Video Mystery Shoppers.

X  With no attempt to disguise the black wire connected to the camera the NL10 does draw attention to itself, even more so when worn over light clothing.

X  Although interchangeable, the pendant does stand out which we feel will bring more attention to the NL10 and the camera element in particular where the pendant is attached.

Setting up the Camera

✔  Unattached from your body, the NL10 is easy to set up and attach to your recording device.

✔  The wire acting as the necklace ‘chain’ can be easily altered in length to get you the perfect camera angle.

X  However, the design of the NL10 means that the camera can move around quite easily when setting up and recording. It certainly does not feel as secure as a button camera for example.

Quality of Recording

✔  In bright, natural lighting the NL10 produced acceptable footage, similar to that of the BU18 Button Camera.

X  In poor lighting the NL10 produced grainy footage which would not be accepted by many Mystery Shopping Companies.

✔  The NL10 would be best suited to a stationary visit such as an appointment or an interview

X  Our biggest concern with the NL10 is the amount of movement you experience when recording. Even when making a conscious effort to slow down our movements the footage was enough to make us feel sea sick – you can see for yourself in our sample footage below!


What does this mean?

If you’re considering investing in an NL10 Necklace Camera we would strongly recommend that you think about what type of visits you will be using it for and consider all of our points above!

Remember, it is down to you to provide video footage at the standard set out by the Mystery Shopping Company you are working for.

Contact Victoria, Field Team Manager, if you have any questions on covert video equipment – [email protected]


Event and Exhibition Mystery Shopping

Whether you’re a business which showcases products at a number of annual calendar events or a company which employs an external agency to deliver on site promotional advertising, the investment you make in your exhibition is significant. To ensure that it’s performing to its optimum you can employ mystery shoppers to evaluate a number of different elements of your service offer. Utilising a mystery shopping company to conduct event and exhibition mystery shopping can help your business to ensure both your demonstration stands are delivering to your company standards and are available on site when required.


Events and Exhibitions Mystery Shopping

As a company you may like to consider the following approach to your event or exhibition stand mystery shopping.

  • Is the pop up or exhibition stand manned?
  • Are your sales and promotional staff knowledgeable and approachable?
  • Do they reflect the brand as required aligned to company standards?
  • Are they able to handle sales objections and queries confident and correctly?
  • Do they close sales effectively and capture customer information if applicable?

At Tern we are experts at delivering programmes which can be tailored to you needs. We will work with you to provide a tailored mystery shopping brief which stretches your staffs ability and also  helps you to understand if the know your customer element is being captured.

The Benefits of Event and Exhibition Mystery Shopping.

When one of  countries the premier Luxury Garden Room and Gazebo companies - Crown Pavilions wanted to asses sales staff performance at one of its popular calendar events, Tern were able to provide video mystery shopping to help measure its sales standards. The staff were encouraged to review their performance and were also scored by the mystery shopper who was given a detailed role play which put the team members through their paces.

For Crown Pavilions the sales process is paramount. Sales consultants must show that they know the customer requirements and that they are also understood clearly in return. They must be able to field technical questions about the product and build and also be able to answer questions in relation to local planning requirements. They must be able to do this whilst also building a rapport with the customer with a view to being able to progress the sale.

Head of Sales Marketing at Tern,  James Harper, said: “Crown Pavilions are a progressive company and really want to ensure that both the company and sales staff maximise their potential with a view to providing excellent customer service. By providing a challenging mystery shopping brief we were able to identify some key areas for customer service and sales improvement”

Crown Pavilions Consultant, Stuart Gauld, said: “At Crown Pavilions we exhibit at between 30-40 shows a year, ranging from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to Grand Designs Live, to Burghley Horse Trails, and even county shows, a very diverse set of shows. With this in mind the strategy and delivery of our sales pitch is key. We chose to use Tern to help us evaluate our performance. We had our own stand filmed, which has been a huge success in order for us to improve the what and how we do.  From start to finish Tern provided us with what every good company should do. They listened to exactly we wanted doing and how, they made suggestions along the way to help us, and they delivered the service they said they would, in the time they set. We will look forward to using Tern again next year to help us to continue to improve.

Alongside the mystery shopping activity, Crown Paviions will use Tern’s online portal to review results and monitor performance via a customised mystery shopping report dashboard.  They take advantage of surveys with built in manager action plans, streamed best practice video content and a tracked appeals process. You can see a short sample video demonstrating our mystery shopping reports below.

Find out more about our approach to event and exhibition mystery shopping fill in our contact form  or call us on 01939 235555.

Written by James Harper – Digital Sales & Marketing Manager – Linkedin Google+ 20/10/2014



Video Mystery Shopping for your company

Video Mystery Shopping

Video Mystery Shopping Company

Video Mystery Shopping

Customer experiences can be impacted in many different ways.  Some of these are obvious and measureable and some are more subtle and can only be witnessed first hand. Video mystery shopping can help you to see this remote and important viewpoint whilst at the same time capturing hard evidence which relates to the key business measurements. We often hear the phrase ‘people buy people’ and ‘first impressions count’. Having the ability to see how a service is delivered from the outside looking in can be a valuable and important asset in evaluating how we truly behave as individuals when representing a company or brand.

The Benefits of Video Mystery Shopping for Companies

So you’ve recruited your staff, trained them to deliver or sell the product/brand and you wait to see the results through the performance frameworks implemented at senior levels. However once an employee has left the training room it is not always possible to have a view of staff performance measurement in the real world which goes beyond the numbers. This is where video mystery shopping becomes an invaluable tool for customer experience managers and sales teams alike.

You might wish to view a mystery shopping video visit for compliance and audit purposes or to see if new staff handle and manage common sales objections in a competent manner. Secret Video Shoppers role plays can be defined ahead of the visit and can focus on areas where you feel that you might be underperforming or failing to deliver a service your customers would expect and demand. It can also be used to collate important training material for use in future improvement sessions.

Mystery shopping sample video:


The Benefits of Video Mystery Shopping for Customers

In competitive marketplaces where there is little differentiation in terms of price, the importance of building a great customer rapport and delivering a quality customer service will help you to build a customer base with a higher customer lifetime value.

Ultimately your happy customers are likely to spend more and make quality referrals for future customers.  The reduced requirement to churn new customers to grow your business will improve your cost per acquisition and create a positive feedback loop. This will result in the the ability to ultimately deliver a superior service over your competitors by diverting budget to aftersales care.

The Benefits for your Staff

Knowing your own shortfalls not only as a company but as an individual allows the opportunity for both parties to improve. Our own view of ourselves is very often clouded by our daily routine and other external factors which influence the way we conduct ourselves as we work. In the same way as anonymous 360 degree feedback methods from your peers can be both beneficial and  enlightening, an external view of performance through a mystery shopping video can yield similar benefits to individuals. The ultimate goal feeds through as the reward of improved service to the customer and career growth for the staff member.

 Buisness Areas which Benefit from Video Mystery Shopping

Video Mystery shoppers give you the benefit of a unique form of customer feedback and can be aligned to your business needs.

For example:

  • Assessing campaign delivery and performance, product promotions and store layouts
  • Benchmarking new store capability
  • Checking sales and services are delivered in a compliant manner
  • Reviewing adherence to regulatory requirements
  • Audit of franchisee operations to see that company standards are maintained

Tern is an agency providing mystery shopping and video mystery shopping services for companies in the UK. Give us a call on 01939235555 to find out a little bit more about our approach.

Written by Gary Edwards – Managing Director – Linkedin Google+ 01/09/2014

Automotive Mystery Shopping Company Case Study

Automotive Mystery Shopping Compnay

Selecting the right automotive mystery shopping company for your sales improvement programme is important.

When one of the UK’s leading BMW dealerships– BMW Rybrook selected Tern to conduct thier video mystery shopping  we were delighted to be able to share our 25 Years of Mystery Shopping experience with this premium brand.

Rybrook understand the importance of providing a quality customer service and utilise our measurement services to ensure standards are not only maintained but built upon through continuous improvement and training.

Tern Digital Marketing Manager James Harper, said: “Working with a progressive and forward thinking business like Rybrook is key to our own success as we seek to define, advise and develop upon our service offer within the automotive sector. Not only will this approach result in a more attentive client experience for Rybrook customers but it will also mean that the dealership sales and aftersales team reaches its full commercial potential”

Dealership Principal, Gareth,  said: “Video mystery shopping benefits us because seeing is believing, so when you show somebody how they interact with customers, how they act when they are asking questions and when they’re communicating, video is far better tool for communication for employees than any other medium. For me it’s all about it making it easy and being able to deliver the objective that we’re trying to achieve and tern has helped us deliver that every single time.”

Automotive Mystery Shopping Reports

Alongside the mystery shopping activity, the management team will use Tern’s online portal to review results and monitor performance via a customised mystery shopping report dashboard.  Rybrook BMW can also take advantage of surveys with built in manager action plans, streamed best practice video content and a tracked appeals process. You can see a short sample video demonstrating our mystery shopping reports below.

Find out more about our approach to automotive mystery shopping or call us on 01939 235555.

Written by James Harper – Digital Sales & Marketing Manager – Linkedin Google+ 06/08/2014