Extract from my new Book – Mystery Shopping Mastery

Let’s start with an extract from a mystery shopping report:

The store was in immaculate condition with all the clothes put away and neatly stacked. But I waited eight minutes to be served. The staff were busy talking to each other but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I grabbed some clothes and took them to the change rooms. I was close to the staff and could overhear their conversation.

The three staff members were talking about their recent night out. One of them was getting very specific about how she got drunk and what she did with a guy she picked up at a bar.

The gutter language was terrible. Normally, I would say something, but I was conducting a mystery shop, so I kept to myself.

I stuck my head out of the change room to ask a question only to see one staff member recreating events from her night out, like a pantomime. It was disgusting. I asked for help and another staff member turned around abruptly to tell me she was busy and would be with me in a few minutes.

This type of report is shocking to a client but unsurprising when you run a mystery shopping business. In the world of customer service measurement, we get to see what really happens, whether a client likes to hear it or not. We reveal the truth.

Unfortunately, companies tend to believe their own rhetoric. They believe the stories told to them by everyone in the service chain. Anecdotal evidence seems to trump reality.

The truth can lead a company to water, but it can’t make them drink. Sometimes the truth is so big and scary that it gets either ignored or pasted over in an effort to be seen to be “doing something.”