Why your company may need a mystery shopper

Do you really know how your employees are treating your customers? You might be surprised to find out what is really happening.

I went to one of the big office supply stores yesterday to look at purchasing a printer for the office. I had been impressed with a recent episode of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice that featured a well known brand that was attempting to re-invent itself with a line of printers whose ink cost 50% less than that of their competitors.

When I entered the store there was a clerk type of person and another guy who appeared to be a manager. They were both standing with their backs to the customer service counter and had their arms folded across their chest. Without moving, or unfolding his arms, the clerk asked if I needed any help. I said I was looking for a printer that I believed was etiher made by Kodak or Xerox and it used a cheaper ink. They thought for a while and the manager shook his head and said they didn’t sell anything by either maker. Arms were never unfolded.

I figured that they would guide me to the printers and show me an alternative in order to try and make a sale, afterall, I was in the market for a printer. Neither one attempted to move. All I could think about as I walked out was how unprofessional they appeared and their total lack of interest in their job.

If I was the owner of the store, or the general manager and my yearly bonus depended on sales, I would really like to know that my sales people were doing everything possible to sell merchandise. What better way to test them than to send in an undercover investigator to document their actions?

They could do well to take a page from Starbucks’ book. From the very start, Starbucks made no bones about letting customers know that they were there to SERVE them. The result? Loyal customers willing to stand in long lines at 6am to get their caffinated “fix”. Starbucks made coffee fun.

I have been drinking coffee for many years and I never thought of it as fun. Then comes along Starbucks with a strange language and deserts in cups masquerading as coffee. Customers bought in to the experience to such an extent that they even bring their little children in and buy them coffee. “No Tiffany, you can not have a Venti, you are only eight years old. Next year.”

How interested in client satisfaction are they? So much so that they closed down their stores from 5:30pm to 8:30pm yesterday evening in order to train their staff enmasse how to make their clients even happier. I did not even know that the country could carry on for three hours sans Starbucks.

It should have been commemorated by inventing a new drink especially for the occassion – the “Happycino”.

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