Mystery shopping for call centers may seem like an unlikely way to measure a call center's effectiveness. But more and more call centers are turning to mystery shopping for call grading inbound call centers.Almost everyone has had the displeasure of dealing with a difficult customer service associate at an inbound call center at one time or another. Whether they are unfriendly, ill-informed or less than helpful, a poor customer service agent can leave customers feeling burned by not just the agent, but by the company as a whole.Market research has shown time and again that there is a strong correlation between great customer service and customer loyalty, proving how important a well-trained call center team is to a company's success. In order for training sessions to be an impactful investment, a company must first know what their call center employees' strengths and weaknesses are so they may tailor training sessions accordingly. While most call centers have managers on hand to oversee the performance of customer service agents, nothing is as effective as an objective evaluation performed by an outside party.One of the most effective ways to garner unbiased feedback about the customer's perception of their interactions with the call center is through a telephone mystery shopping program. The mystery shopping company will work with the company to create a custom program that includes all of the elements that the business deems most important to their success. During this process, the mystery shopping agency will help tailor the plan to target specific problem areas or specific training issues the business may need to focus on.Once criteria is established, mystery shopping professionals will begin to shop the call center, posing as actual customers and calling in to place orders or asking specific questions. The secret shopper will evaluate the customer service agent on several Key Performance Indicators such as how long it took for them to reach an agent, how long they had to wait on hold for during the call and how long it took their issue to be resolved.Call grading is also a powerful tool that helps companies evaluate the level of customer service their call center is providing. As the name implies, the agency will listen to recordings of real customer service transactions in order to evaluate and grade them according to criteria set by the client. Not only does call grading help companies to identify weak links within their staff, it will also help them to identify issues that need to be addressed via training.Mystery shopping and call grading is a wise investment and should be a part of every company's customer retention plan. When performed by a reputable mystery shopping agency, both mystery shopping calls and call grading can help companies of all sizes in creating a top notch experience for their customers.