Every Consumer Is A Mystery Shopper

By. Mark Arnold

Mystery shops provide invaluable feedback (both on your competitors and yourself). When conducting marketing audits or branding plans for our clients we typically mystery shop a client’s own branches and their competitors. The process includes walking checking out their establishment, doing a little research, interacting with staff and deciding if we’d do business there.

The results, as you might expect, are mixed. Sometimes we receive truly exceptional service, service a consumer might remember and act upon later. Other times, however, we get truly bad service, service a consumer will definitely remember and tell their friends.

A recent example illustrates this. While conducting a mystery shop in Texas, one of our employees branch visit was less than stellar. He was greeted quickly enough, but when it became apparent he was only “shopping around” that day and not ready to make a decision, the demeanor of the representative quickly soured, everything in her body language, tone and voice changed to reflect that she obviously saw him as a drain on her time and as someone to dispose of quickly. When asked why her organization was the best place for his business (a probing question designed to help find out if staff are familiar with the differentiation points of their place of work), she curtly replied “Well, of course, you’re free to take your business where you want, but I’d like to think we know how to treat people here.”

Hardly a resounding endorsement and the scary thing is, this isn’t en entirely uncommon interaction. As leaders or organizations that highly depend on consumer satisfaction and loyalty, think for a moment on just how damaging this type of service experience is.

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