Why are people so afraid of spiders?

Why are people (me included) freaked out by spiders? Because they are so different to us. A dog has two big black eyes, whereas a spider has eight. Yuk.

The answer to that question also answers a question I often get asked by clients.

Exactly what should my staff say when serving customers?

When it comes to serving customers, don’t think of what to say, think of what to “be”.

Be a mirror.

Researcher Richard Wiseman studied whether mirroring or positive reinforcement was more effective at building customer connection.

One group of waiters used positive reinforcement by dishing lavish praise about the menu choice and encouragement with words such as “great”, “no problem” and “sure”. 

The other group mirrored their customers simply by repeating the orders back.

The results were stunning. The average tip of the mirroring group was 70% higher.

A mirror is the door to empathy.

So a mystery shopping question aimed at evaluating the welcome is more complex than it seems. 

Instead of asking:

“Was the staff member pleasant?”


“Did the staff member repeat you request”, then ask
“Did the staff member adjust the conversation to follow your needs”.

Don’t be a spider, be a dog.