Using Secret Shoppers

Tips for evaluating your employees’ sales and customer service expertise.

In our January 2010 Web Bonuses article, “Find Out What Your Customers Think of You” (CustomersThink.html), we provided a sample survey you can use to find out what impressions your customers have of you, your employees, your products and your store.

In this article, we provide a sample “Secret Shopper Evaluation” form, which you can use to find out how “customers” feel your staff members treat them and fulfill their needs.

Although you can hire a “mystery” or “secret” shopper service to do this for you, consider hiring one or more of your friends, neighbors or even another businessperson with whom you do business (and with whom your staff is not familiar) to check your staff’s customer service abilities.

Give each secret shopper a survey to fill out upon returning from his or her shopping experience at your store, and offer a store gift certificate as a reward for his or her honest opinion.

Utilize secret shopper(s) on a random schedule, and if you use the same person each time, ask that person to dress differently each time. For example, if the customer is treated differently wearing a business suit during one shopping experience and a sweat suit during the next, your employees may need a lesson in treating all customers equally.

As with customer surveys, the “Secret Shopper” evaluation technique should not be used only to point out faults; it is also a way to recognize and reward those who provide good customer service.

Click here to view the Secret Shopper Evaluation.

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