Mystery Shopping Improvement Through Observation

Mystery Shopping: Improvement Through Observation

As a small digression, I am going to take this time to editorialize a bit on some of my research: ACE Mystery shopping services, is one whose slogan has me puzzled. An outline of their services is pretty standard.

It reads (in part):
Basic Customer Service Evaluations – Are your employees pleasant and professional?

Telephone Evaluations! Our new U.S. patented PACER Technology allows us to complete audio recorded telephone shops! No more audio tapes to sort though, our online system will store the telephone shops, along with you report.

Employee Integrity Evaluations – Are your employees following your policies
and procedures? Are your employees handling money properly? Are they
checking customer identification when receiving a check? Are they checking for identification when required by law?

Discrimination Evaluations – Are your employees discriminating customers
based on race, gender or ethnic group?

Sales Techniques Evaluations – Does your sales staff attempt to close the sale effectively?

Product Knowledge Evaluations – What areas do your employees need further training in?

This leads me to wonder again about their slogan. Let me just say, I have no fiduciary interests in ACE Mystery shopping, nor do I know anyone who does. Furthermore, I have no relation to, nor do I hold any fiduciary interests in any of their direct competitors. But it is this ridiculous slogan! It has got me pulling my roots out. Their tag line is “Improvement through Observation.”


Like they are the Observation God! Like no one else can see as they do. Which leads me to my other comment about their services; I got to thinking, if these are the top listed services on their business model, what the heck are the managers doing? I mean, “cash handling”? “training”? “policies and procedures”?

First of all, maybe my perception of the mystery shopper is a little skewed, but I wonder, do they go to the same classes and schools for things like “training” or “policies and procedures” to notice the subtle nuances that are different in practice on a sales floor.

Also, what make their go ‘round, the time when THEY are there observing for the brief period they are, necessarily a representation of the whole? I’m not advocating a sloppy presentation, EVER! I’m just trying to say that if you are going to base your whole decision process; raises, bonuses, hiring, firing; on the observations of one lay-person who is skilled in the set of ‘mystery shopping’ than maybe you’d better rethink your business plan.

Besides this ball should be in the court of your managers. If you can’t talk with your managers about this uber-basic stuff, maybe you should get some new managers! Because managers who can’t implement things like ‘cash handling’ ethos or take a page out of the ‘policies and procedures’ handbook, stand nary a chance of success in the business of your business.

If this is what mystery shopping is all about and your managers can’t do this basic, BASIC stuff, you might want to dump this mystery shopping racket and find some new managers!