In the Driver’s Seat of Customer Experience:
Mystery Shopper Workshop

Every day, we work with some of the biggest automotive brands in the world, but our interactions with car buyers are often limited to computer screens.

Friday, 17th May was different. This wasn't just another workday; it was the start of our Mystery Shopper Initiative, where we'd step into our customers' shoes and see the world through their eyes.

What happens when we step out from behind our screens?

How do the digital experiences we design compare to real-life interactions?

We kicked off the day with a briefing session. Adam Wardach, CEO, set the tone: Today, we’re trying to understand our customers' journey firsthand. This isn't just about learning; it's about empathy and innovation.

Diving into digital: the initial exploration

We were assigned scenarios and surveys to explore the digital interfaces of various automotive brands. The task was to navigate these websites as potential buyers to assess usability, features, and the overall user experience.

costly mistakes on landing page website examples

Tomasz Badowiec, CTO, highlighted the importance of this exercise: Over the years, I've had a lot of personal car-buying experiences, but having this collective experience as a team in over 30 different showrooms gives us unparalleled insight into the customer journey.

costly mistakes on landing page website examples

Our digital exploration focused on several key aspects:

  • Website usability: Rating the ease of navigation and information accessibility on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Vehicle configurator: Evaluating the presence and functionality of online configurators.
  • Availability check: Checking the customer’s ability to see and drive the vehicle at a nearby dealership.
  • Sharing options: Reviewing how easy it was to share vehicle information via link, QR code, or PDF.
  • Pricing and financing: Assessing the ease of finding pricing and financing options.
  • Account creation: Determining whether users could create a personalized account.
reffine office team
reffine workshop car buying

The Real World: Showroom Experience

With these digital insights in hand, we visited showrooms across the city. This phase of the workshop was about immersion and observation. Each group interacted with sales representatives, explored vehicles, and compared the online and in-person experiences.

Kasia Radziszewskaja, Project Manager, reflected on the process: I was skeptical at first, but by the end of the day, I gained a broader understanding of how users feel. This will definitely help me improve our products.

Patryk Szafianski, Project Manager and PM Lead, added: I speak to global managers daily, but having this experience will help me better understand customers' expectations and needs.

car showroom warsaw volvo
car showroom warsaw

Reflecting on insights: a day of discovery

Next, we gathered back at the office to consolidate our findings. The atmosphere was charged as each group shared their experiences and highlighted both the positives and challenges they encountered.

car buying customer journey reffine

Quotes from our team members

Maria Kuharska, Implementation Specialist: At Reffine, I do training sessions and work closely with clients. This time, I got the perspective of our clients' customers. Now I understand what they go through when they buy a vehicle online and offline.

Marcin Pietranik, Automation QA Engineer: Both digital and in-person experiences in showrooms were very educational, especially for someone like me who doesn't own a car.

Patrycja Sonta, Content Specialist: As a member of the content management team, it was an opportunity to learn about the challenges of buying a car, including the differences between online information and showroom experiences.

Javlon Khalimjanov, Front-End Engineer: As a developer, now I know how the process works beyond the digital and programming aspects.

What we have learned

All in all we gathered 163 surveys. we identified several key findings:

  • Sharing Options: Most brands offered downloadable PDFs as a primary sharing option, with limited use of QR codes.
  • Financing Options: Finding financing options was not easy in general, leaving significant room for improvement.
  • Online Calculators: Several brands either lacked online calculators or offered one that was rated poorly.
  • Account Creation: Most brands provided an option to create a personalized account, which was viewed positively.
  • Website Navigation: While usability scores varied, there was a widespread opportunity to make information more accessible and easier to navigate.

As we could be biased towards Jaguar and Land Rover, we did not include them in our "Top 3 Brands" ranking.

infographic mystery shopper analysis

A few quotes from the survey:

  • The website was easy to navigate, but the test drive booking feature was not very user-friendly.
  • The company’s digital experience was solid, but the process of booking a test drive online was not straightforward.
  • Showroom staff were very attentive and provided additional information that complemented what I found online.
  • The integration of online and offline experiences was nearly perfect, making the entire car-buying journey smooth and enjoyable.
  • Website navigation was intuitive, but the showroom staff seemed less informed about online offers and configurations

Conclusion: a step forward in understanding our clients’ needs better

The Mystery Shopper Initiative was a success. By stepping out of our comfort zone and experiencing the customer journey firsthand, we gained numerous valuable insights. As a result, this journey has reinforced our commitment to improving the digital car sales experience.

At Reffine, we believe that true innovation stems from a deep understanding of the customer experience. This workshop was a testament to that belief, and as we move forward, we do so with a renewed sense of purpose and a closer connection to the people we serve.

This experience gave us insight into the customer journey and highlighted areas where our automotive products can develop further, says Justyna Rafalska, Product Manager.

reffine team mystery shopper
people discussing business website metrics
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