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A Sad Tale of a Mystery Shopper Gone Bad February 3, 2010

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Last month I talked about the concept of “shopping the shopper” as another means of quality control. From time to time, companies will do this to keep a pulse on the quality of the shops. Of course this cannot be done on every shop or by every company, but it does happen occasionally.

I talked with a colleague who recently had the opportunity to “shop the shopper” on two occasions. The first one went off wonderfully…the shopper did a great job, and the report that was submitted was completely accurate and detailed. Feeling pretty good about this, he decided to conduct a second one later in the month. For this shop, the shopper was assigned to visit a quick serve restaurant, make a purchase, and dine in. Simple enough, right?

So the day comes, and this company representative went to the restaurant at the appointed time. The shopper comes in and places an order – so far, so good. Then, to his dismay, he watches as the shopper gets the items placed in a bag and walks out of the restaurant! What? That’s not how it was supposed to happen.

Upset, the company rep finishes his meal and goes back to the office, unsure what to do. Part of him wanted to follow the shopper out and confront her, but instead, he waited to see if the report was submitted. Sure enough, a few hours later, a report was submitted, which accurately discussed the ordering process, but also contained details of this shopper’s “experience” while dining in! At this point, the shopper was confronted and removed from the program, and of course was not paid for the shop.

I will say that 99.9% of mystery shoppers are honest and complete accurate, high quality work. However, it is this small percentage that makes mystery shopping companies a bit paranoid and skeptical. This was not a brand new shopper, nor was it one that raised any flags in the past. Had this company rep not been present, they ran the risk of submitting a falsified report to their client.

While it is sad to read stories such as this one, I wanted to share it to help you get a better understanding of what companies are up against sometimes. The next time you have a scheduler, editor, or Account Manager that seems to be overly picky or cranky about a shop, please keep this story in mind and understand where we’re coming from.

Until next time…happy shopping!

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1. How do I become a mystery shopping scheduler? | Gotta Get Me - February 6, 2010

[…] A Sad Tale of a Mystery Shopper Gone Bad […]


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