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Mystery customer research: Cognitive processes affecting accuracy

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journal contribution
posted on 04.08.2008, 15:13 by Lisa J. Morrison, Andrew M. Colman, Carolyn C. Preston
Mystery customer research is a technique of quality assessment in the retail sector, where it is called mystery shopping, and also in the service sector. It is growing rapidly in popularity, but research in cognitive psychology suggests a number of potential threats to the reliability and validity of data collected through its use. In particular, various factors associated with the encoding, storage, and retrieval of information by mystery customer assessors are likely to influence the accuracy of the results, and individual differences between assessors should also be taken into account in designing mystery customer surveys. A number of specific recommendations designed to minimize errors arising from memory failures and distortions are outlined and discussed.



Morrison, L. J., Colman, A. M., & Preston, C. C. (1997). Mystery customer research: Cognitive processes affecting accuracy. Journal of the Market Research Society, 39, 349-361.

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Mystery customer research and factors associated with memory likely to influence its accuracy



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