Mystery Shopping Motivation Is A Mystery

Mystery Shopping: Motivation is a Mystery

Some of my research has been enlightening; some of my research has been contrary. Sometimes, I’m left thinking about where some of this information comes from, wondering if the fine folks who scribed this are from the same planet as me.

Which leads me to wonder, “Maybe I am the one with the problem?????” Could it be that my own beliefs and actions set me apart and I’m on the outside looking in? Is it my own standards which have been set so low, that I am the one left looking a fool?

Should I go back to re-learn my policies and procedures manual? Have I been the on who has been too long outside of any sort of retail world to appreciate the demands of the job? And that manager physically CAN NOT do these basic, basic tasks?

The short answer is no. I have not been that far outside that realm. I am still working. I do still understand the needs, demands, and stressors of daily work life. Heck, maybe even better than some. It’s not like I always have staff support or like I always feel the love from my very nearby (so they visit ALL THE TIME) corporate bosses. But, it’s not like my work ethic suffers. It’s not like I do any less because I know I can. It’s not like a secret shopper would get anything less than my best, or anything less than the next. Work is a matter of survival. We all need to survive. I’m not ready to live on the street (again) I’m not ready to take public assistance; there’s no need for that. But I would like to set some things straight and maybe iron out the creases in this mystery shopper argument.

Motivation: It is the ever widening gulf between what gets done and what we wish had been done. In a retail environment, motivation is often the difference between the year end bonus and going home with coal in your stocking. Motivation has worked for the best of us and continues to push forward those who are truly driven, have direction and purpose, know what we want.

Why then would a mystery shopper advertise MOTIVATION on the top of their list “How will mystery shopping benefit your business?” What special key do they have that would make anyone care one way or another? It would seem to me that the motivation for them NOT to come would be the motivation. “If we do really well maybe they’ll call off these hyena mystery shoppers!”

As one who’s lived with a retail manager for many years, I understand what they thrive off of and what they loathe. Failure and mistrust for the latter and the reverse for the former. The mystery shopper means the managers are not doing their job well enough and the higher ups don’t trust the team (vis a vis: THE MANGERS) to do their job in an effective and successful way.

So I posit that maybe the mystery shopper, rather than “Motivate employees to provide excellent customer service at all times,” actually undercuts their own objective by being too mistrustful and not allowing the managers to, well, manage!
Other adjectives used on this site include “ensures” “helps” “improves” and “reduces”. It would seem to me that if you haven’t hired managers who already do that for you no amount of secret shopper in any Orwellian netherworld of tomorrow is going to fix the problem.