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When Employees Play “Spot the Shopper” July 2, 2010

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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It is human nature for employees to try to spot the shopper – once a program starts, we typically begin to hear rumblings of this six months into the program. That is when we may first hear it from a newer client – we get a call from a client who is worried because their employees let them know they know who the shopper is.

While this does happen legitimately from time to time, often due to a shopper making a fatal mistake, such as taking notes during a shop (a HUGE no-no), many times they are incorrect.

The most memorable incident occurred several years ago – a client called and said that an employee who was recently shopped knew it was the shopper and was able to describe him. I took a look at the report and the shopper information we have on file. I immediately knew they had the wrong person, as the shopper in question was a female. Secondly, I looked at the score on the report and asked the client how the employee could  know it was the shopper yet still only score a 60% on the evaluation. Food for thought.

I understand that many times there is a lot riding on mystery shopping reports – employees can receive good bonuses, or conversely, have their job in jeopardy if they receive multiple low scoring evaluations. However, if employees are too focused on spotting the shopper, they won’t be doing their jobs effectively.

Teaching employees to treat every customer as though they are the mystery shopper, and do the job right every time is the best way to be successful at their job. Wasting time finding the shopper will not lead to job success.

I came across this e-how article on how to spot a shopper. While there are misconceptions in this article, I did think the last point was most important: “Provide excellent customer service to all customers in the same consistent way.”

Until next time…happy shopping!

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