The Kraken: An Analysis Sample College Essay

 

Introduction – The collection of poetry that the world has seen is storage of the creations of the different states and stages of a man’s mind, and there are times when the poem captures and freezes the myths and its leading man so that the world has a way of remembering some of the details of the past. Such was the case of Sir Alfred Tennyson and his popular poem The Kraken. Written in 1830, The Kraken is among the earliest works of Tennyson. Tennyson was not the first one to come up with the name and the character since this is a particularly popular myth in Norway and Scandinavia about a monstrous sea creature that destroys ships and kills people and feeds on smaller sea animals.

Thesis – Indeed, Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote the poem The Kraken to create a monster that will symbolize all that is haunting, disturbing and potentially scary and ugly things that people believe will come to haunt their lives sooner or later, like a bothering thought that a person wants to shake off, like a frightening phantom which cannot be extinguished or conquered by human, mortal strength, in fear of entering the subconscious and triggering a nightmare – asleep or awake. The Kraken became one of literature’s many different faces for nightmare and fear transcending different plateaus including psychological, emotional, social and spiritual levels, and Tennyson proved that he was both the creator and conqueror of such monster throughout the poem.

And why not? The origin of the Kraken persona is that of fear, helplessness, monstrosity and death. It was the favorite villain of seafarers even before and long after Tennyson’s time, and while many artists made their own rendition of the Kraken – as the hundred-foot long oversized squid/octopus that devours on ships sailing to sea – Tennyson made his own contribution to the growing literature about the Kraken by using a particular literary style to encapsulate the essence of fear and dread that surrounds the Kraken. Some men spend their lives battling and erasing the memories of evil. while some, like Tennyson, make sure that people separated by generations are nonetheless equally reminded of the presence of evil – real or imagined.

Supporting ideas – The Kraken is always about evil, about the evil that always threatens to usurp the existing status quo of peace and relative harmonious relationship, and Tennyson’s poem provided key proofs about how he delegated his character in the southern region of the human imagination that greatly supports its devilish personality. In the first two lines of the poem, Tennyson refers to the place of abode of the Kraken as somewhere found ‘ below the thunders of the upper deep / Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea’. The idea of ‘below’ and ‘deep’ are both consistently synonymous with death and evil – when people refer to hell they often think that it is something found under the plateau where humans live while about it is the heaven, the representation of good and new life / resurrection/ incarnation. The word ‘deep’ is synonymous to the idea of death or dying (i.e. when people die and are buried, their graves are ‘below’ and ‘deep’). The first two lines automatically set the tone and ambience necessary to establish the character Tennyson is trying to paint the picture of.

The very rationale for the supposed essence of the poem `The Kraken’ is the maintenance of the natural order of things. In the pursuit to create a balance, there are creators and perpetrators of the belief in a benevolent god and the serene angels as there are those who lace bed time stories and bar room fables with images of wanton destruction and an un-godly rage, like the Kraken. Tennyson, knowingly or not, is a tool for that balance, and it was through this particular work of his that literature was never a one sided painting of only what is beautiful – there is also a footnote to what is grim, ominous, quiet and lethal. There are poems of hope as Tennyson’s The Kraken is a poem of fear. It was about the Kraken’s shadowy sides, its giant fins and its green skin.

The Kraken: Character analysis – The role of the Kraken in past and contemporary literature as well as its social role is portrayed via the character it opted to vividly illustrate through words. Many societies and different countries have their own take of the Kraken as a character, but despite these differences, Tennyson’s The Kraken served as the universal semantic representation of the idea that takes different shapes in every individual’s mind, yet possess the same similar ethos.

The Kraken: literary device and technique – Tennyson used several different literary styles, devices and techniques in the creation of his 15-line poem. Tennyson utilized symbolism, incluing and even imagery. As was discussed earlier in the paper, the Kraken is both a mythological sea monster that is believed to be seen by some as it is a mere representation of a particular idea that creates a feeling to a man similar to what the real Kraken can do if the creature was even real in the first place.

The Kraken symbolizes something. more importantly, it represents many different things for many individual readers who decode the poem and strip it of its several different layers, that is why it has captured the imagination of many different individuals living in different places and timeline with very slim odds that they have all communicated with each other to create a uniform idea of the Kraken. Brittan (2003) shared the same understanding about the symbolisms and the poem The Kraken all in all (not just focused on the Kraken character altogether).

According to Brittan, ” even Tennyson’s poem The Kraken (1830) manages, by the use of a single phrase from the Book of Revelation (“the latter fire”) to use a new understanding of science – in particular of geological time – to make mythological creatures refer back to an essentially Christian view of the unity of all things in nature ” (pg 172).

At some point the symbolism of the Kraken and the author runs parallel. The Kraken, besides the more popular renditions of its known symbolisms, also symbolizes popularity by being remembered by the people on what it has done and can do. Tennyson’s writing of the Kraken may even be a symbolism of Tennyson’s aching to be recognized. While Tennyson was ‘considered by some to be the greatest poet of the Victorian period’, Tennyson was no prodigy. He made his way from becoming an unknown literary writer to becoming a popular poet:

‘He attended Cambridge, but was forced to leave in 1831 due to family and financial difficulties. Returning home, he continued to write verse, his early volumes in the 1830s receiving generally adverse criticism. Persevering, however, he developed and refined his technique, gaining stature throughout the 1840s, and achieved full critical recognition with the publication of In Memoriam in 1850, at which time he was appointed poet laureate ” (Negri, 1999, pg 1).

There was also evidence of the use of incluing and imagery in the poem – Tennyson was close to describing an imaginary world with what he was trying to pass of as reality in light of the discussion in the poetry about the lifestyle and behavior of an imaginary character. And to push the ‘imagined’ world and characters closer to the sense of reality of the readers, the author also resorted to making the poem vivid with details about this particular sea monster – about the darkness that surrounds the monster, about the diet of the Kraken as well as its other behavior and temperament. Even without seeing a picture or drawing of a Kraken as how people would believe it to look like, there is no doubt that the reader of the poem is close to sketching one inside her/his head by the time he/she finished reading the poem.

Giving Life to The Kraken – The Kraken is a mythical sea monster believed to have lived somewhere in Norway and inhabited the Norwegian coasts. It is not ascertained whether or not Tennyson saw the Kraken himself, or if even Tennyson believed that the sea monster existed in the first place. But what Tennyson managed to do, through the poem, was to use a literary device like the poem to immortalize a mythological sea beast by endowing the description of the sea monster with physical characteristics that point to the mythical sea creature’s supposed mystique, power, size and enormity.

Killing The Kraken – But while Tennyson was indeed successful in bringing to life the monster Kraken, he was equally powerful in cutting off the head of the monster and killing it in front of the eyes of the readers. With just one line in his poem, he took all of the monster’s meanness, savagery -every fierce characteristic of the sea monster – and made the monster no more than a whiff of imagination that cannot even hurt a child in his sleep. All Tennyson needed was to say that the Kraken will rise from under the sea where he lives and upon surfacing on the water meet its death in the last line, ” In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die .”

This is representative of the status of the Kraken in the minds of the people and their imagination – in the deep recesses of the mind / imagination of the people, the Kraken is alive, but when it is brought out (or surfaced from the sea), it will lose its life once it is proven that no such monster really thrived and existed in real life.

Conclusion – It is difficult to ascertain whether The Kraken was bigger than the author or if the poem is bigger than the local myths. But the only thing sure is that the poem of Tennyson is more than just the chronicling of the sea beast believed to be real and alive by many individuals – it is used by Tennyson as well as other critics and analyst of poetry as a vehicle to tell something else via the poems innate ability to represent many different things and ideas. The Kraken always triggers that feeling / thinking of fear, wonderment, mystery, raw rage and uncontrollable powers, of the continuing proof that the life on earth rears very complex life forms that continue to become more and more complex and diverse as time goes on. it is the representation of the extent of man’s imagination as well as his skill for telling the truth through works of fiction and ideas that are stored largely in the avenue of human imagination.

Slide With Gandhi’s Picture

Mahatma is a Sanskrit term of reverence ‘mahatman’ meaning ‘one of great soul’. –  Gandhi was recognized as India’s Father of the Nation” because he was one of the most charismatic leaders who fought for the freedom of the country with ahimsa (non-violence) and satyagraha (way of truth) as his only weapons.

BIOGRAPHY

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born into the Hindu Modh family in Porbandar, Gujarat, India., in 1869. He was the son of Karamchand Gandhi, the diwan (Prime Minister) of Porbandar, and Putlibai, Karamchand’s fourth wife, a Hindu of the Pranami Vaishnava order; In May 1883, at the age of 13, Gandhi was married through his parents’ arrangements to Kasturba Makhanji (also spelled “Kasturbai” or known as “Ba”), who was his age. They had four sons: Harilal Gandhi, born in 1888; Manilal Gandhi, born in 1892; Ramdas Gandhi, born in 1897; and Devdas Gandhi, born in 1900

EDUCATION

Gandhi showed no particular brilliance, played no games, and was quite an introvert. He read little beyond text books, but respected his teacher, and was determined not to copy from his neighbour’s answer sheets. – Gandhi was a mediocre student in his youth at Porbandar and later at Rajkot. – In 1887, he barely passed the matriculation exam for Samaldas College at Bhavanagar, Gujarat. He only remained for one term because he found it difficult. At age of 18, Gandhi went to University College London to train as barrister.

TIMELINE

1888 – During his time in London, as a promise to his mother, he made a vow that he should observe abstinence from meat, alcohol and promiscuity. He was introduced to Bhagavat Gita. 1893-1914 – Gandhi defended Indians in South Africa because they didn’t have anypolitical rights.

That was where he first practiced his theory of non-violent resistance which is based on truth, love, celibacy and striving towards God. 1906 – Gandhi called on his fellow Indians to defy the new law and suffer the punishments for doing so, rather than resist through violent means. 1915 – India called it Satyagraha Ashram (Sabamati Ashram). It is a vow of truth celibacy, ahimsa (nonviolence, love), nonpossesion, control of the palate & service to Indian people.

1918 – Satyagraha means devotion to the truth 1930 – Broke salt law by picking salt up at seashore as whole world watched. It is a 400-km march from Ahmedabad to Dandi, Gujarat to make salt himself. This campaign was one of the most successful at upsetting the British rule who responded with the imprisonment of over 60,000 people. 1931 – The British government agreed to set all the political prisoners (from Salt March) free in return for the suspension of the civil disobedience movement.

1933 – Fast concluded after 21 days at Poona. 1942 – Gandhi continued to struggle through non-violent disobedience until he was arrested for the last time and was imprisoned for seven years. 1944 – After decline in health, was released unconditionally from detention (this was his last imprisonment; he had spent 2338 days in jail during his life time). 1947 – Fasted and prayed to combat riots in Calcutta as India was partitioned and granted independence.

1948 – Gandhi was assassinated on his way to evening prayers Nathuram Vinayak Godse  Gandhi’s Principles Truth – Truth is God, thus “Satya” (truth) in Gandhi’s Philosophy is God. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. Nonviolence – Satyagraha is itself a whole philosophy of nonviolence. As a technique, Satyagraha was developed by Gandhi in South Africa to give the Indian population there a weapon with which to resist the injustices being perpetrated upon it by the colonial government.

Brahmacharya – It is largely associated with celibacy and asceticism. Vegetarianism – He wrote the book “The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism”Simplicity – A person involved in social service should lead a simple life which Gandhi thought could lead to Brahmacharya. Faith – All religions should be equal and Gandhi rejected all efforts to convert him to a different faith.

STRUGGLE FOR INDIAN INDEPENDENCE

Mohandas Gandhi motivated others to join him in protest against the Government, who treated the population very badly. Many people joined the non-violent protest and bringing the dependence of India with the “Great March” to an end, in which thousands of people marched through the cities. The Government recognized that they had no chance against the protesters, so they declared India as an independent country

ASSASSINATION OF GANDHI

Bloodstains appeared over Gandhi’s white woolen shawl; his hands still folded in a greeting, Gandhi blessed his assassin: He Ram! He Ram!- As Gandhi fell, his faithful time-piece struck the ground, and the hands of the watch came to a standstill. They showed, as they had done before, the precise time: 5:12 P.M.

LEGACY

Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October is a national holiday in India, Gandhi Jayanti. Time Magazine named Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930, the runner-up to Albert Einstein as “Person of the Century” at the end of 1999, and named The Dalai Lama, Lech Wa??sa, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Aung San Suu Kyi, Benigno Aquino, Jr., Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela as Children of Gandhi and his spiritual heirs to non-violence. The Government of India awards the annual Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize to distinguished social workers, world leaders and citizens

Mystery Shopping As A Marketing Research Tool

I. Introduction

                        Mystery shopping is used to measure both the tangible and intangible elements of customer service. It is the practice of using trained shoppers to anonymously evaluate customer service, operations, employee integrity, merchandising, and product quality.  A mystery shopper is someone who visits an establishment, typically a retail store, bank, restaurant or other such places where the public does business, for the purpose of observing and measuring customer service, product quality and the environment of the establishment in general. Shoppers pose as typical customers and are given details, by the mystery shopping company responsible for the shopping program, about expectations for making specific observations during their visits and they complete reports, often using an online form, after leaving the establishment.

                        These shopper’s serve as the eyes and ears for those clients as part of their efforts to enhance the quality of the customer’s experience. Many times, the information collected during mystery shopping programs is used to help mystery shopping company clients improve training programs, better articulate expectations they have of their staff, and otherwise improve the ways in which the client serves its customers

II. What is Mystery Shopping?

                        Hesselink et al indicate how Mystery shopping aims to evaluate how a business responds to its customers. It is a simple technique where would-be customers who have been previously trained regarding the areas to be evaluated enter a business, use the services available as any random customer would, and report on their experiences. To ensure that a typical experience is captured, the mystery shopper does not inform the employees of their special role. In fact, it is critical for the effectiveness of the program that staff be unaware of who the mystery shopper is. It is extremely important to remember that a mystery shopper evaluates the system, not people.

II. a. Mystery shopping definition.

                        The Marketing Research Association defines Mystery shopping as:

“The use of individuals trained/briefed to experience and measure any customer service process, by acting as potential customers / actual customers and in some way reporting back on their experiences in a detailed and objective way.”

II. b. History of Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping has evolved over the years. Initially it was a technique used by private investigators to prevent employee theft, primarily at banks and retail stores. In the 1940’s Wilmark coined the term “mystery shopping” and began using the method for evaluating customer service. It is still one of the most often used research techniques while also being one of the most expensive ways to collect primary data about a customer/employee interaction.

                        In the 1970s, mystery shopping grew exponentially. During that decade, approximately 25 percent to 35 percent of all banks with over $300 million in deposits conducted some type of mystery shopping program. Most often it was a benchmark program with a one- or two-year follow-up. When mystery shopper programs were used in this manner, it was frequently difficult to note changes either for the better or worse because there were no motivational programs in place to encourage change. It was difficult to determine what caused changes that did occur. What prompted the growing interest in mystery shopping in the ’70s was the realization by bankers of the importance of developing a sales culture. And because sales professionalism became increasingly important, a device had to be developed to monitor sales skills, as well as changes in service behaviors in the sales culture. Mystery shopping began to be used as a monitoring device for sales culture development, specifically for tracking sales behaviors and skills. This phenomenon then led to the use of mystery shopping to not only monitor but to motivate performance, set goals or standards and reward performance. Some of the more progressive and sales-oriented banks began rewarding employees based upon the performance of sales behaviors as well as sales successes.

                        In the ’80s, the industry’s new catch-all phrase was “service quality” and, once again, mystery shopping (along with consumer and customer satisfaction surveys) became the industry’s standard for evaluating, monitoring and motivating performance. It was the combination of these two research methodologies that changed the basic mystery shopping methodology to one of a predictor of customer satisfaction. By determining customers’ wants and needs and what satisfies customers most, checking for and reinforcing specific behaviors can be built into the mystery shopper program.

                        The 1990s have called for a much more prominent role for mystery shopping. Some might even call it the decade for “undercover testing.” In this decade, the mystery shopping industry has experienced a rapid growth and acceptance fueled in par by the internet. The 1990s have also brought more demanding, diverse and information-hungry consumers who learn quickly and react quickly, especially when misled. To satisfy consumers’ need for information, companies rely on trained personnel and publications to communicate with consumers. In the 2000’s. the creation of software packages such as ‘SASSIE’ and ‘Prophet’ have revolutionized the industry with estimates of $1.5 billion USD worldwide.

II. c. Fields Mystery shopping is used in.

                        Mystery Shopping can be used by any business/organization that needs to monitor its operations, facilities, product delivery, and service performance. Newhouse points out its use in banks, retailers, manufacturers, call centers, E-commerce services, government agencies, hospitals, associations, franchise operations, promotions agencies, hotels, restaurants, movie theatres, recreation parks, transportation systems, fitness/health centers, property management firms, and freight/courier services. It is used in all areas and fields where contact channels are to be measured such as:

·         Telephone enquiries – where contactability, speed of answering, efficiency, quality, call handling, transfers can be measured.

·         Out-of-Hours calls (what do callers meet when ringing out of office hours, what facilities are there for leaving messages and how quickly are they called back)

·         Callbacks (returned calls in response to messages left on answer phones or voicemail during office hours)

·         Language line (what facilities are there for callers who do not speak English?)

·         Text phone / Minicom (contactability, speed of answering etc)

·         Fulfillment track (how reliably and quickly is material requested by phone received by post)

·         Emails (contactability, speed of answering, efficiency, quality, language, layout)

·         Web forms (as for emails)

·         Websites (are telephone numbers and email addresses shown valid and up to date? How useable is the site? How quickly can simple tasks be achieved?)

·         Face-to-face (are premises easily accessible, well-signed, clean and in good condition, how welcoming are staff, how smart, was there a wait and if so how long, how well did staff handle the enquiry?)

·         Letters (contactability, speed of answering, efficiency, quality, language, layout)

II. d. Different Approaches to Mystery Shopping

There are two quite different approaches to mystery shopping. These are the market research and performance management approaches.

·         The ‘Market Research’ approach, where a reasonably representative sample is used to create a report which provides a snapshot of what a customer encounters when communicating with an organisation, with all data reported at a level which means individuals cannot be identified. This approach certainly provides accurate data but (due to the large sample size) is usually quite expensive. The report will normally provide a set of recommendations but it is left to the organization’s management to take any action required.

·         The ‘Performance Management’ approach, where a small sample is used. It is based on a very simple philosophy. If three calls are made to a Switchboard at random times over four weeks, and all score very highly, the chances are that any caller will get a good response from that Switchboard. It doesn’t guarantee that they will, but it does indicate that there are standards in operation and that those standards are good ones. The ‘performance management’ approach focuses less on providing data (though of course it does) than on what is usually the primary objective –performance improvement. This even holds true for a Call Centre where three good calls will give a good idea of the general performance because it is unlikely that a Call Centre will consist of a mix of excellent and awful performers.

III. Benefits of Mystery Shopping

                        Burnside points out the benefits of a formal program of mystery shopping which include the following:

·         Effective ongoing monitoring of customer service performance levels within the organisation.

·         Opportunity to ensure that organizational standards and policies are adhered to.

·         Ability to identify weaknesses in your current processes with feedback from frontime operations

·         Attainment of a better understanding of the perceptions you are fostering amongst stakeholders.

·         Creation of an exceptional customer service focus in your organisation as it motivates staff to provide good customer service always.

·         Improves customer retention

·         Improvement in staff moral and reinforcement of employee-management actions with incentive based reward systems –good customer service is recognized and rewarded and poor achievers are given training to enable them to improve their performance.

·         Increase in member recruitment and retention levels as a result of the improved customer service and processes.

·         Monitors facility conditions and asset protection while ensuring product/service delivery quality.

·         Supports promotional programs and audits pricing & merchandising compliance

·         Allows for competitive analyses and identifying training needs and sales opportunities

·         Compliments marketing research data

·         Ensures positive customer relationships on the front line and enforces employee integrity

IV. Mystery shopping as a Marketing Research Tool

                        Mystery shopping can be deemed a “cousin” to marketing research (related, but not the same). It is typically more operational in nature than marketing research and is most often used for training and incentive purposes. While marketing research involves determining real customer and prospect opinions, perceptions, needs, and wants, Mystery shopping fills in a gap of information between operations and marketing. Mystery shoppers are not real customers – they know what to evaluate before entering the store and may not typically visit the store they are evaluating. Mystery shopping can not be used alone to determine customer satisfaction. It can compliment, but not replace, satisfaction research and is not predictive of every customer’s experience unless sufficient samples are taken and data analyzed in aggregate.

                        The key advantage of mystery shopping is that it is able to measure the quality of services provided according to pre-set criteria rather than the knowledge or attitudes of service providers or their self-reported behavior. There may be no consistent relationship between provider knowledge and their behavior described by mystery shoppers.

V. The Reliability and Accuracy of Mystery Shopping in marketing research

                        Jesson says that provided that it is carried out professionally and with appropriate safeguards, Mystery Shopping is a valid and legitimate form of marketing research. It does have certain unique characteristics that distinguish it from other types of research. In particular, “respondents” are not aware that they are the subjects of research. Also, contrary to other Marketing Research standards, identifying the respondent’s name to the sponsor is usually part of the process. This is because one of the most common uses of Mystery Shopping is to evaluate a company’s training program as it relates to customer service delivery. An individual respondent’s performance may be assessed as part of the process. Additionally, it is not unusual for companies to use the outcome of Mystery Shopping as a way to identify employees who need further training or who deserve bonuses or rewards.

                        Mystery Shopping can be considered a legitimate form of Marketing Research when it is employed for Customer Satisfaction purposes; that is, to determine likely customer perceptions and needs. It is not considered Marketing Research when it is used for non-research purposes such as identifying individuals for disciplinary actions, falsely elevating sales by creating a demand for products or services that does not really exist in the current marketplace or obtaining personal information for non-research purposes.

                        In a retail service business, mystery shopping is likely the primary means of measuring customer service delivery along the “production line”.  That is because the most important stages of the production process are marked by difficult-to-measure interactions between customers and employees.  Management cannot possibility witness every exchange between customer and employee.  Yet so much of a customer’s ultimate satisfaction with the company centers on individual interactions.  Mystery shopper studies detail specifics of those interactions, highlighting areas of success and areas needing improvement.

                        Wilson says that when employee performance is critical to customer service delivery, mystery shopper studies provide a consistent performance measure of the human aspect of the service process.   Because the shopper study measures specific performance, it offers opportunities to encourage desired behaviors (incentives) and discourage undesirable behaviors (training).   Mystery shopping studies deal with specific performance criteria expected for each customer’s visit.  Properly designed, a company’s shopper survey provides a clear blueprint for all stages in the process of serving customers. The shopper survey becomes the measure for the benchmark. Resulting date report customer service performance, as judged by the criteria set forth on the shopper survey.

                        Mystery shopping can (if implemented correctly) not only give a good picture of strengths and weaknesses but it can also be the most effective mechanism for addressing any weaknesses found. The use of the technique does help provide a reliable measure of performance relative to an agreed service standard.

V. a. Value for Money

Costs for mystery shopping services can vary considerably depending on the method of evaluation – whether it involves physical visits, or using the telephone, internet, etc. It would also need to take into account the complexity of shop requirements, the geographic area to be covered along with the number/frequency of visits and/or evaluations.

VI. The Efficiency of Mystery Shopping in marketing research

As Bryson shows Mystery Shopping can be relatively expensive if there are many locations to be shopped. Most mystery shopping programs are objective in nature and miss the subjective “feel” of a location. There is no measure of the atmosphere of the location or the unspoken attitude of the employees even though they are often key to the overall satisfaction of the customer. The mystery shops themselves are usually performed by professional interviewers or others who complete many shops in a short period of time. Although many mystery shopping programs are beginning to incorporate subjective measures, professional interviewers often become biased in their judgments. They become either numbed or overly sensitive to the atmosphere and attitude issues mentioned previously. Therefore, even attempts at measuring subjective variables in a mystery shopping program have questionable results.

                        Further, Mystery shopping does not measure the most important variable of all- the customer’s perception of the service. After all, it is the customer’s perception that really counts, not whether an employee diligently followed each and every operational procedure in the handbook. Another main issue is the common misuse of mystery shopping to use it as a measure of customer satisfaction.

VI. a. Other research tools

An alternative to a mystery shopping program is to gain customer feedback on their experience as quickly as possible with a technique known as post transaction sampling. This methodology focuses on the customer and his/her perceptions rather than the employee and his/her adherence to policy. Often post transaction sampling is used in tandem with mystery shopping to harvest the best of both methodologies.

VII. Current Issues and Challenges

                            The Mystery shopping industry faces certain issues and challenges. Firstly, legal issues could arise regarding private investigator licensing requirements. Tax issues regarding employment of shoppers, consumer scams, maintaining shopper quality and integrity are all issues that could crop up. Challenges facing mystery shopping include faster delivery of reports without sacrificing quality of data, the education of consumers, clients, prospects, and providers on realities of mystery shopping and the wide variety of providers and services.

VIII. Conclusion

                        Mystery Shopping is a good instrument to create an in-depth insight in perception of customers. It adds value to customer satisfaction data coming from surveys. Mystery Shopping can well be used as an instrument to gather qualitative as well as quantitative information. It is also an instrument to gather objective as well as subjective data. Mystery Shopping should be used in an open transparent way. By communicating through the whole organization the use of Mystery guests, it already gives a signal and stimulus to pay more attention to the perception of real customers. Good communication of the results of Mystery Shopping also can create positive stimuli for improvements.  The empirical research on Mystery Shopping is still scarce. However, the rhetoric and the communication around the instrument might be a much more important factor in relation to the effects of Mystery Shopping in terms of stimulating employees to work on improvements and to become more customer focused.

                        The three main uses of Mystery Shopping can be best summed up as:

1.      To act as a diagnostic tool for identifying failings and weak points in service delivery.

2.      To encourage, develop and motivate service staff by linking with appraisal and training.

3.      To assess the competitiveness of an organization’s service by benchmarking it against that of competitors.

                        As Norris points out “Well designed mystery shopper studies and programs can provide extremely useful data on service quality in a range of settings and subject to appropriate review, they can be ethically acceptable.”

IX. Works Cited List

Bryson, Jim. “Mystery Shopping: Uses and Abuses.” 1991. At http://www.quirks.com/articles/a1991/19911104.aspx?searchID=137630&sort=9. Last Accessed May 3rd, 2007.

Burnside, Arthur. “In-store spies snuff out poor service.” Marketing, 1994. pp. 32-3.

Hesselink, Martijn; Van Iwaarden, Jos & Van der Wiele, Tan.  “Mystery shopping: A tool to develop insight into customer service provision.” Erim Report Series Research in Management. 2004

Jesson, Jill. “”Mystery Shopping demystified: Is it a justifiable research method?” The Pharmaceutical Journal. Vol. 272. 2004.

Marketing Research Association, Inc. “The Code of Marketing Research Standards.” 2007.

Newhouse, Ilisha. “Mystery Shopping Made Simple.” McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Norris, Pauline. “Reasons why mystery shopping is a useful and justifiable research method.” The Pharmaceutical Journal. Vol. 272. 2004.

Wilson, Alan. “The role of mystery shopping in the measurement of service performance.” Managing Service Quality. Vol. 8. 1998.

 

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