Evaluate your customer experience through mystery shopping. Mumbai based entrepreneur, Pankaj Guglani, is enabling people to do that through his venture, Red Quanta. He speaks to Swati Maheshwari to tell it all, exclusively for YourStory.inPankaj, what is RedQuanta all about?
RedQuanta is a mystery shopping specialist. We work closely with the management of retail and hospitality companies to design mystery shopping programs & then execute it with care & high quality. All our clients have been able to drive substantial improvements in the customer service levels by working with RedQuanta. Our services also include competition mystery shopping, telephone mystery shopping, online mystery shopping, etc. We are a portfolio company of Morpheus Venture Partners. Also, we are in final stages of finalizing an angel funding round.
Mystery Shopping sounds interesting. Can you please tell us more about it?
Mystery shopping is a method of using anonymous shoppers matching the target group of customers to objectively evaluate the customer experience. This gives management an unbiased view of how their strategies are being implemented on the ground. This technique is around 30 years old in developed markets, and in those markets nearly 60% of all retailers use it.
Can you tell us in detail how the process of mystery shopping works at RedQuanta?
A mystery shopper is sent to an outlet to purchase particular items or observe specific aspects about a company’s product or service offerings. After you have completed your assignment, you are required to fill out a detailed questionnaire providing answers to all the things you noticed while you were shopping.
Becoming a mystery shopper is very easy. You just need to sign up on our website which doesn’t cost anything. You need to complete the online forms, read and understand all the training material, as well as successfully complete the online test, and provide details of your preferred shopping locations.
Then depending on your profile and the requirement of the client, we get in touch with our shoppers and check if they are available to do an audit. This could be for a free meal at a trendy restaurant, watch a free movie or even enjoy a day at the spa! We rate our shoppers depending on the reports we receive from them and their adherence to time lines. This way we’re able to churn out the bad ones and keep only the good ones listed. You have to behave as if you're just another customer at the store. Mystery shopping is an anonymous project and the employees at the store aren't supposed to know that you're a mystery shopper.
Can anyone sign up as a mystery shopper?
Anyone who has a natural inclination to observe while shopping and cares about the service they receive; can become a mystery shopper. Also, they should know enough to write down his/her feedback in detailed format. You can be a housewife, a student or an entrepreneur and you’ll get assignments if you suit the target group of the client. We may require a student to conduct a coaching class audit while a frequent traveller to do an audit at the airport. As long as you’ve an eye for detail and a joy for shopping, you can be a successful mystery shopper.
Tell us more about the methodology at RedQuanta.
There’s no one-size-fits-all mystery shopping program that can meet every company’s needs. RedQuanta's mystery shopping programs are designed keeping in mind a company’s specific needs. We partner with our clients to improve customer experience using the MS program, and not just act as a generic data provider. Shoppers are key to our business. We treat them as another set of our clients. Special emphasis is laid on shoppers. We have strict hiring criteria in place. Shoppers need to demonstrate the observation and communication skills through online tests and interviews before they get to take real assignments.
Is this concept popular among Indian brands? Do they sign up for it?
In India, due to various factors, the use of mystery shopping is still very low and service providers have to take up the role of generating awareness. Other reason for not using this technique is lack of training for the frontline staff. There are other similar reasons and all of them point to a notion of first achieving operational excellence and then measuring it. What is needed is a practical approach that works i.e. of continuous measurement and improvement. In our experience, industry leading retailers/brands are more open to use this technique as they want to move to the next level or atleast maintain their standards.
How much investment was required to start Red Quanta?
We spent around 2-3 lakhs in initial months towards travel, networking, website etc.
What is RedQuanta’s team size?
I started the company with my wife Shweta. Currently, we have a team of 12 people.
Tell us about your background.
I am a PGDM from MDI Gurgaon and B.E from PEC Chandigarh. I worked for around 4 plus years at critical positions across Reliance, BCCL and TATA groups. I have also taught at business schools like Welingkar and ITM as a visiting faculty.
Finally, share your expansion plans with us.
Expansion is planned across various dimensions like industry verticals, services offered and geographies. We are looking to build separate business units for different sectors like automobile, real estate, hospitality etc. to offer more specialized services. In terms of services offered, we have few innovative services in pipeline to complement our existing offerings. Some of our clients have overseas presence and we are in the process of building shopper presence in countries like Dubai, Singapore, London etc. to cater to their outlets in these cities.
To know more about RedQuanta, please visit their website http://www.redquanta.com/
Do share your thoughts on mystery shopping and RedQuanta by writing to us at email@example.com And also become a mystery shopper, if you please!