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Franchising and Mystery Shopping - the perfect combination

Worldwide Mystery Shopping Services

Worldwide Mystery Shopping Services

Munich - Mystery shopping is now considered the most successful way of securing and optimising quality standards at franchising companies. INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK is an international mystery shopping provider which has focused exclusively on this key competency since the company's foundation in 1996. The special method used by INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK - sending representative test customers to the point of sale in a wide range of industries and countries - guarantees adherence to clear and fair ground rules. Test customers operate in sectors ranging from retail and service provision to catering and petrol stations.

It is hard to imagine a retail segment in which mystery shopping could not be effectively used. INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK tests the entire spectrum from discounters and supermarkets to fashion brands, chemist and cosmetics chains, shoe shops and telecommunication service providers. An ever increasing number of clients come from the premium segment. Testers in this sector visit exclusive stores and boutiques to assess the quality of service and advice on expensive jewellery, watches, leather goods and accessories. Testers always receive training in preparation for the job and document the quality of customer service using a set questionnaire.

No other survey method offers such an objective and revealing comparison of service criteria such as friendliness, cleanliness and customer loyalty measures at a national and international level. This is confirmed by independent sources, for example the business magazine impulse: in its rankings of Germany's 100 best franchise systems selected by a professional jury in 2009, McDonald`s is in first place and Fressnapf in third. Both franchising groups are longstanding and satisfied clients of INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK - McDonald`s in over 40 countries. Clients often present franchisees with the findings of mystery shopping "on the scene" immediately after test customer visits, as this allows targeted staff training to deal with negative aspects. Continuous improvements in quality standards are clearly apparent at INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK franchising clients who commission regular mystery shopping.

Maintaining consistently high quality in all branches of a franchise is extremely important: the entire franchise system can suffer from the poor quality of just one franchisee. Service checkers, as the testers from INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK are called, can verify simultaneously and across the board whether the quality demanded by the franchiser is actually being provided in all outlets.

In combination with regular customer satisfaction analyses, mystery shopping helps uncover weak points. This is another explanation for why half of the 950 franchise systems (according to impulse) operating on the German market in 2009 used mystery shopping. Yet test customer visits are not only effective for large franchise systems such as McDonald`s. Mystery shopping even in small networks shows just how important continuous quality assurance in public relations is for the franchiser. The data collected during mystery shopping is analysed and the client then receives precise and targeted recommendations for improving its system.

The experts at INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK believe there is still enormous growth potential in the now key combination of franchising and mystery shopping. Franchising needs mystery shopping if it is to survive as a hybrid system in the hard-fought daily competition for each individual customer. In franchisers, mystery shopping providers such as INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK have found their ideal clients, as this is the sector in which test customers are most efficient and effective in the long-term.

The INTERNATIONAL SERVICE CHECK/Multisearch GmbH was founded in Munich in 1996 as market research enterprise specializing in mystery shopping services worldwide. Currently over 500.000 test clients, so-called service checkers, are registered with International Service Check.

Tobias Kurzmaier
Chief Press Officer
Dachauer Strasse 37
80335 Munich
Tel. +49 (0) 89 54558228
Fax +49 (0) 89 557443

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