As an entrepreneur, it can be useful to try and see things through your customers' eyes.  The day-to-day running of your business can take up a lot of your attention. Taking an opportunity to understand your clients' experience could let you see things you may not have noticed.

Mystery shoppers are a well-established way for businesses to gain insight into their customers' experience. Mystery shoppers are paid to evaluate a business by posing as a regular customer. By using this method of research, you can learn things that other approaches, such as surveys or official inspections, might miss. Mystery shoppers blend in with other shoppers so the information they gather can potentially be more representative of the typical customer experience. This could give you a better idea of how your business really runs.

Surveys or questionnaires are another approach you may want to use. A well designed survey can help you target your business' strengths and weaknesses. A survey can also be an excellent opportunity to collect suggestions. To encourage feedback you might consider offering an incentive, such as a weekly prize for respondents.   

Surveys and mystery shoppers are both potentially valuable research tools, but there is also the option of exploring your business for yourself from the perspective of a customer. Getting  a first-hand view of your products or services could be useful in a number of ways:

  • You can observe how your customers interact with your business.
  • It provides you with an opportunity to mingle with potential clients and employees alike and for you to build relationships.
  • Exploring other businesses allows you to get a better sense of what your business is doing right and where you could make improvements.

This last point is especially worth considering. As an entrepreneur, you could benefit greatly from the knowledge of your market that comes with exploring it as a consumer. Suppose you wanted to sell your product in another store. How do other stores display products? What is a typical client response? Is there an opportunity for you?

However you choose to do so, approaching business from a new vantage point can help you provide a better customer experience. Pleasant consumer experiences can go a long way in building return business for you, which is an important part of planning for growth.