Mystery shopping keeps automotive supplier in top gear

Mystery shopping keeps automotive supplier in top gear
April 16, 2017 PCP Market Research

Mystery shopping keeps automotive supplier in top gear

The challenge

A leading UK based automotive supplier felt their level of customer service to trade and retail customers could be improved. They wanted to understand areas of weakness and assess the impact of training schemes on performance.


  • To monitor levels of customer service on an ongoing basis and identify strengths and weaknesses
  • To identify branches where improvements in customer service can be made
  • To identify training needs and establish how those needs can best be met

Our approach

Mystery shopping was the perfect way to fulfil these objectives. Our experienced mystery shoppers posed as potential buyers. They called up with questions about price and availability. We used a range of different scenarios each quarter. So that we could make valid comparisons, we repeated each scenario identically across all the client’s branches.

We posed as both trade and retail customers, recording the calls. Our client’s staff were evaluated against specific criteria. These include speed of response, their manner, selling ability and knowledge. To make sure our comparisons were consistent, our PCP specialists carried out marking centrally using the call recordings.


We produced reports and presentations each quarter on a branch-by-branch basis. These highlighted where improvements could be made and recommendations of how to do this. We then re-assessed that branch a few months later to see if this had happened.

We also ran on-site practical training sessions. Some staff played the role of customers whilst others responded to their enquiries. Then we constructively discussed their performance in the context of the mystery shopping findings.

We were delighted to work with this client for more than a decade. As their business expanded so did the scope of this automotive mystery shopping project. We used to assess three branches. Now they have more than 50.

Because of the success of this automotive mystery shopping, we were asked to carry out other market research work by this client. This included identifying factors which influence the trade’s choice of supplier through qualitative research.

We also looked at trade awareness of the client and their competitors and the effectiveness of their advertising through quantitative research.

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