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Mystery Shopping Surveys Explained (with Free Template and Questions)

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

29 May 2024

7 min read

Did you know that, according to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) Americas, there are more than 1.5 million mystery shoppers?

It’s like being a secret agent for a business but so much more fun! The best part is when we collect nuanced data from them!

In this blog, we will examine the benefits of a mystery shopping survey and how to create one effectively using a free template as an example. We will also discuss best practices and ways to analyze the results!

Off we go!

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery Shopping is a research technique that involves individuals posing as secret shoppers to evaluate various elements of a business. This includes every aspect, from product details to operations and customer service.

Now, the shopper, or agent, is tasked with observing and evaluating specific pre-determined aspects of the business, such as employee behavior, service speed, product quality, cleanliness, and adherence to company policies and standards.

The ultimate goal is to collect unbiased feedback from the perspective of an ordinary customer.

That brings us to…

Mystery Shopping Surveys

A mystery shopping survey is a tool created to collect feedback from these secret agents. They play a huge role in assessing the overall customer experience and help improve quality and services.

Moreover, they give you ideas on how to build clear-cut strategies to improve satisfaction and increase sales!

Now, you might be thinking ..Can’t the age-old traditional survey do the job? 

Well, it is technically possible, but bias might creep in. A transparent picture of the entire customer journey is vital to identifying minute issues.

Here is a Mystery Shopping Survey Template made with SurveySparrow! Feel free to use it and customize it to your heart’s desire.

Mystery Shopping Survey Template

With the wing feature, you can add new questions, remove the ones that don’t fit the bill, and add a touch of creativity to the pre-filled fields

We’ll talk about survey creation with SurveySparrow in a bit.

Right now, I know some of you might be a little confused.

Oh, hey! Feel free to jump ahead if you’re in a hurry.

How Do Mystery Shopping Surveys Work?

It all starts with pinpointing the specific areas that need to be evaluated.


The process involves these simple steps:

1. The Set Up

Having a clear objective is a must. Which areas do you want to improve thoroughly? Or is it the overall experience you want to gauge?

Do the employees warmly greet customers within the first 30 seconds of interaction? Can staff answer questions about your products or services accurately and confidently?

By defining these areas, you can narrow your research and create a roadmap for mystery shoppers.

2. The Mystery Shopper Questionnaire

This is like a mission briefing!

It describes the shopper’s role and outlines the aspects the shopper needs to access.

You also need to pay attention to the data collection methods here. The questionnaire can include multiple-choice, Likert scale, or open-ended questions for detailed observation.

3. Recruiting the Agents

Now is the time to gather your force!

Did you know that more than 300 mystery shopping companies are part of MSPA in North America?

These companies provide trained and reliable shoppers. You can also use online platforms and employee referral programs.

Now comes the exciting part!

4. Going Undercover

The agents arrive at your store with a clear briefing and set goals. Remember that they are posed as regular customers, and no one knows their real identities. Okay, that’s obvious, I know! But you need to be extra careful here. 

During this visit, the shoppers:

  • Observe the environment (cleanliness, organization, atmosphere)
  • Engage with staff (greetings, product knowledge, service efficiency)
  • Complete pre-assigned tasks (making purchases, asking questions)

Once that’s done, it’s time for…

5. Debriefing

The agents take the survey and provide unbiased feedback. In addition to answering the outlined questions, they might add extra insights. With this information, you can identify the specific areas that need immediate action.

6. Mystery Shopper Report

Now, it’s time to analyze the data collected from the questionnaires. By creating a raw report, you can understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Find out whether you excel at product quality or your employees need a slight nudge in customer service.

Did you get the gist?

These surveys clearly show what’s happening behind the scenes. With a little effort, you can have happy, energetic customers!

Now comes another important aspect: What do we ask the secret agents

Mystery Shopping Survey Questions

It is crucial to first categorize the questions as per your requirements. A detailed and organized questionnaire can be much more helpful than a distorted one.

Here are a few questions that you can include in your survey.

Let’s start with…

Greetings and Initial Impressions

  1. Upon entering the store, did you feel a sense of welcome and warmth within the first 30 seconds?
  2. Was background music at an appropriate volume, not interfering with conversation or creating an overwhelming ambiance?
  3. If signage was present, was it clear, concise, and easy to understand for someone unfamiliar with the store’s layout?
  4. Were the store’s self-service options (kiosks, order screens) user-friendly and in proper working condition?
  5. Describe the overall cleanliness and organization of the entrance area. Were displays attractive and easy to navigate?

Product Knowledge & Staff Interaction

  1. Did you approach a staff member with a specific product question? Rate their level of knowledge and confidence in their response.
    (1- Unsure, 5- Highly Knowledgeable)
  2. Did the staff member actively listen to your inquiry and ask clarifying questions to understand your needs fully?
  3. Beyond your initial question, did the staff member offer additional product recommendations or information that might be helpful?
  4. Did the staff member use upselling or pressure sales tactics during the interaction?
  5. Did the staff member thank you for your visit and express any desire to see you return?

Checkout & Payment Process

  1. Was the checkout line marked and organized?
  2. Did the cashier clearly explain any additional fees, discounts, or promotions that might apply during checkout?
  3. For self-checkout options, were clear instructions readily available and easy to follow?
  4. If you made a return or exchange, was the process smooth, efficient, and handled professionally by the staff?
  5. Did the cashier offer different payment options (cash, card, contactless) and handle them efficiently?

Store Ambiance & Overall Experience

  1. Describe the overall atmosphere of the store. Was it welcoming, energetic, or overly loud?
  2. Were digital elements incorporated into the store experience (e.g., interactive displays, product information screens)? If so, were they engaging and user-friendly?
  3. Did you observe any staff members interacting with each other positively and collaboratively?
  4. Thinking back on your entire visit, what is the single most memorable (positive or negative) aspect of your experience?
  5. If you have any additional comments or feedback about your experience, please share them here.

Now, I’ll tell you how to use these questions to create a survey with SurveySparrow.

How to Create a Mystery Shopping Survey with SurveySparrow

Creating a survey with the drag-and-drop form builder is as easy as pie! Whether you want to build from scratch or seek help from AI, the platform has a solution. Here, I will give you a simple guide on customizing a template.

Step 1: Sign in

  • Log in to your SurveySparrow account right away.

Don’t have an account? It’s never too late to create one!

Here you go! Get started with a 14-day free trial.

Once that’s done…

Step 2: Create

Hit the “Create New Survey” button to build from scratch.

If you choose the template, click “browse classic templates” and select the one you need! You can now search for a mystery shopping survey or click the above-attached template

Step 3: Customize

Here’s how you do it:


You can:

  • Tweak or Toss: Edit the pre-written questions or delete them entirely to fit your specific mystery shopping scenario.
  • Brand it Up: Personalize the welcome and thank you screens with your logo and branding for a professional touch.
  • Question Twister: Edit the questions using the handy “wing” feature to ensure they capture the exact information you need.

Make them your own!

Next up…

Step 4: Integrate

Connect your questionnaire with favorite tools such as HubSpot, Mailchimp (or any other options) for quick and seamless data analysis!

Step 5: Share

That’s it. Your survey is ready to be shared! Wasn’t that easy?

You can share via email or WhatsApp or embed directly on your website. SurveySparrow will automatically save your work so that you can breathe easily!

Oh! That’s not it! Once you collect the data, visualize it on the executive dashboard, analyze it, and make informed decisions.


If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

Benefits of Mystery Shopping Surveys

You get to:

  • See Through Your Customers’ Eyes: Get unfiltered feedback on the customer experience from a stranger’s perspective.
  • Identify Service Gaps: Mystery shoppers pinpoint weak spots in your service chain, whether a grumpy greeting or a missed sales opportunity.
  • Analyze Employee Performance: It helps identify training needs and recognize top performers.
  • Compliance Check: You can verify if your staff follows essential policies and procedures. This ensures consistency and adherence to regulations.

Well, that’s a wrap! Let’s sum it up:

Wrap Up

You see, exceptional CX is not magic. It requires a lot of effort and time from each organization member.
With a mystery shopping survey, you can identify areas for improvement, benchmark against competitors, train your staff, and ultimately boost customer satisfaction!

So, what are you waiting for? Create your survey today!

Happy Surveying!


1. What common mistakes should be avoided while creating a mystery shopping survey? 

  • Unclear Instructions: Ensure instructions and evaluation criteria are crystal clear for mystery shoppers to avoid misinterpretations.
  • Unrealistic Expectations: Don’t set unrealistic expectations for how staff should behave in every situation.
  • Leading Questions: Avoid questions that nudge shoppers towards a specific answer.

2. How to Recruit Participants for a Mystery Survey

You can get help from:

  • Mystery Shopping Companies
  • Online Platforms
  • Employee Referral Programs
Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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