I have been a mystery shopper for two years, and I will tell you that I have had to evaluate some of the most embarrassing customer service, as well as some of the best. In doing so, I have decided that I wanted to offer advice about service that I have noticed from all of these associates.
1. You Don’t Have To Know Everything. We Just Want To Get An Answer Within The First Visit. Of course we are going to ask questions that were not in your training manual. Of course, we are going to throw Doctorate-degree knowledge in front of you. A customer isn’t concerned about have Mr. or Ms. Perfect answer all of our questions. We just want them all answered. You understand? If you don’t know the answer, please ask your manager. That is all we ask. Do not just sit there and tell us that you don’t know. We know that because you did not answer our question. Please ask someone who does. We don’t care if you come back with the answer, we just want the answer. As a mystery shopper, I would rate someone who doesn’t know an 8, but if someone told me they didn’t know, and didn’t ask any manager for help, they would get a 1.
2. Most Of The Time, We Know Less Than You, Please Compensate for This. I love to learn, and I don’t doubt that any active customer disagrees with that. However, when someone is talking to me about LCDs and all of this jargon, I can’t learn anything. Furthermore, the associate may feel that a certain TV is better because it has better sound, better LCD quality, etc., and this may all be true about the TV. However, I have learned that the best doesn’t always work for me, and when I can’t follow your pitch because you want to impress the customer with you “knowledge”, I will do one of two actions: 1. Purchase the TV, find out it’s not what I want, come back to Best Buy with a TV that will probably not be able to be resold, or 2. Ask you to explain yourself. True, I’m one of “those customers” who will frustrate you because I will keep asking questions and interrupt you because I don’t know as much as you. I am sorry, I don’t have time to learn what I need to survive, as well as what you need to survive. You are a big boy/girl. You can do it on your own.
3. Treat Me Like You Would Anyone Else. I can’t tell you how many sales associates I have come in contact with who were so uncomfortable with me. Forgive me, but I am about 75% sure I know why: they don’t do well in customer service, and they have too many rules to follow. The truth is, though, customers are people, sales associates are people. Look at that! We have something in common!
4. Do Not Work To Get the 100% On A Shop: I have seen this too many times: I will walk in as a regular customer, and I am passed by for 20 minutes, or someone rarely smiles. I get it, nothing new to me. I just want what I want and I will get out of your way. However, I remember one time, I did what no one should ever do: I accidentally revealed that I was a mystery shopper in my early stages. The atmosphere in that store changed in a blink. Suddenly, those who were in the corner playing with their phones were typing seriously on the computer, everything was “Yes and no, ma’am.” I was so angry. In fact, I was about to tell all my friends to drop “hints” that they were mystery shoppers just to get the best service, ALWAYS!
5. Lastly, A Tip To Get Through Mystery Shops: Listen, I know these mystery shopping reports can affect your raises, but you have to understand that by the time we get in our car and we are filling out the report, we have forgotten about 40% of what happened. What we do remember: necessary keywords (promotions mentioned, positive and negative words), the time we came in and out, and the names of everyone we spoke with about what we were assigned. That’s it. Don’t be so nervous with every customer because you think we are going to report bad comments about you. Really, we got more important tasks to fill our time.
Please, read and ponder these tips. You will excel in your customer service, and betting yet, when a mystery shopper comes around once every six months or so for you, you will pass with flying colors.