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Will you get someone fired if you submit a negative report? December 4, 2012

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Written by: Kristin Garvey, Independent Account Manager at Ann Michaels & Associates

About a year ago, I read a report from a shopper where the employee did not do a good job. He did not provide good customer service or perform any of his required duties. The shopper answered the questions with mostly negative answers, as she should have if the duties were not performed correctly; however, she did not explain any of the negative ratings in the essay. More on that in a future blog! When I emailed her asking for more information regarding the negative ratings, the shopper refused to answer. She said that she was worried that the employee would get fired because of her report. I assured the shopper that the client did not fire employees based on the reports. This particular client used the reports as a tool to evaluate the management staff at each location. The client wanted to make sure that the managers were training the employees correctly and that the stores were running with the company goals in mind. The report scores were mostly used to evaluate whether or not the managers would receive year end bonuses. The shopper refused to give any more information because she did not want to contribute to the growing unemployment rate in her state. Sadly, because of the lack of detail in the shop, I could not accept it, and because the shopper refused to provide any further information, the shop was excluded and not sent to the client.

Each client uses our shopping reports in a different way. Some use the report scores as a way to determine staff bonuses, others simply want to make sure that their customers are receiving the type of service that they strive to provide. We’ve had other clients that use the reports as a way to ensure that the employees are using the new selling techniques or information that they learned about in recent training. Sometimes, clients just want to make sure that the required duties for each employee position are being performed, i.e., if you are upsold a beverage after ordering or if you are thanked on the way out of a restaurant. If things are not being done, additional training may be needed. A good way for clients to know about the additional training needs is with mystery shopping.

Sometimes, a specific employee needs to be shopped during a visit. Does that mean that the employee is on probation or may be getting fired? No. Sometimes a client will request that a specific employee be shopped simply because they have never been shopped before. Sometimes, they just want to make sure that all employees are shopped equally. This is especially true for clients that have smaller stores or part time versus full time employees. Many times, full time employees are shopped more often simply because they are in the store more often. However, the client also wants to know how the part time employees are doing, so a specific employee may need to be shopped, or not shopped during a visit.

I recently spoke to a new friend of mine about mystery shopping. She was upset because a few years back, she was fired over a mystery shopping report. At least, she thinks she was. She then told me the story of the experience. She had a couple come in on a very busy night and she was running behind on her tables. The customer’s food was not prepared correctly, and needed to be sent back. Her argument was that it was not her fault that the food was not prepared correctly, and she can’t control the volume of customers in the restaurant. After speaking with her at more length regarding the subject, she admitted that she and her manager had been having issues, and he was not happy with her work. He had already been threatening to let her go if she did not improve. She had been warned about her attitude, and she had several complaints on file from other customers. She admitted that she had not performed some of the duties that were required of her, etc. As it turns out, the shopping report was simply another poker in the fire for my friend. She was terminated, but it was not because of the report. She was terminated due to several different issues, mostly between her and her manager.

Rest assured that a negative report is not automatically going to get someone fired. If there are other issues going on, the client may include the information in the employee’s file; however, generally speaking, clients use the reports for other reasons, whether it be marketing, evaluation of recent training, additional training needs assessments or bonuses for management and/or staff. That is why it is so very important to be honest and provide accurate information in your reports, including timings and specific greetings or parting remarks. The reason the questions are in the report is because the client wants to know if the required task is being performed. If you do not provide accurate information, if you don’t provide specific and accurate timings, and if you do not note exact statements, you are not helping the client. Make sure the information you provide is beneficial to the client not because it is positive or negative, simply because it is an accurate picture of what occurred during your visit.

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