House of Hawthorne

Mystery Shopper Needed

Posted on: February 1, 2012

Do you guys get those e-mails looking for people to be mystery shoppers? You know, those people that come into a store or restaurant and grade the employees on the services rendered? I am always tempted to check into actually doing it but am scared off by the rampant bad grammar. If you are doing most of your marketing by e-mail, you should probably get your editing game right.

I am a discerning retail customer. For better or for worse, I have nearly ten years of experience in the field, altogether, and now when I go into a store, I have that “Blink” moment that Malcolm Gladwell writes about. I can make a snap judgment that is often quite accurate about what kind of customer service the company wants me to receive versus the kind of service I am actually getting.

In my line of work, I become completely immersed in the product. My main function is to sell children’s books. I don’t get anything extra if I succeed as far as commission or even recognition. The motivation and desire comes from within, and I just do that the best I can. Like it or not, I am in this position in my life and I am going to do my best. Also, and this speaks to my self-interest, somewhere I got a notion that if I (along with thousands of other people like me) do my best, that would help the company I work for stay viable in the marketplace, and I would be able to keep my job. (See this link, recently posted on a bulletin board at my store, for the importance of customer service in retail.)

The company I work for had mystery shoppers the first couple years I was there and, while some bristled against it at the time, I miss those days. It was, in the end, one of the only ways to be recognized for customer service. Now, if a customer compliments you to a manager, that is noted, but the nature of people means this is few and far between.

I am relatively happy with the customer service I receive in most retail places. I don’t know if they recognize me from the bus a lot of us take out to the mall area or as a fellow retail person or what, but I generally feel at least a baseline of service is being rendered. I do probably three quarters of my shopping at Target, though. Target seems to be designed for minimal customer interaction, but it is successful at it.

What often surprises me the most is what terribly indifferent service I receive at restaurants. I also spent a year and a half or so in this line of work and know what a difference it can make to the money you make to be nice to the right person. And if you simply treat everyone like they are the right people, you can really make an impact on the money you leave with every day. The simple act of leaving a check before asking if someone needs something else just baffles me.

(On a side note, I have had one haircut in my entire life in which I was pleased by the service. I regret that the person lives in a different state and is of the skill level where I couldn’t normally afford to pay for such mastery. Now I cut my own bangs and get haircuts at most twice a year, because it is often exhausting and dehumanizing.)

I am perhaps the world’s most receptive customer to being upsold. Game simply recognizes game. I know what you are doing, but I appreciate skill and commitment wherever it is demonstrated. If you offer politely, most of the time, I will bite. If I decline and you proceed in the transaction as though I am still the person handing you money, all the better.

The point I am trying to make is I spend all day being nice to people for money, basically. When I go spend that money in a place where people are performing a similar task, my expectation is to be treated at least like a human being. There are a few places, mostly restaurants and bars, that I do not patronize anymore. I don’t take to Yelp to complain, but they don’t get my business. I regret the most when it is a locally-owned business, and are far more forgiving in these cases, but I am a grown woman and I refuse at some point to be treated any other way.

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1 Response to "Mystery Shopper Needed"

Bravo! and Dito!

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