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Mystery shoppers? Let Kipp save you the bother
Retailers in the UAE want to know what their service is like, apparently, so they’re paying people to help find out. Send a check Kipp’s way.
June 6, 2010 10:15 by Samuel Potter
Mystery shoppers are in demand in the UAE, according to a story in the National over the weekend, as the country prepares for its first ever “Customer Service Week.”
Retailers across the country have become increasingly keen to attract customer loyalty in “a world where people are watching what they spend and where they spend it,” says the report. To do that they need insights into how employees are performing on the shop floor, and the standards of customer service they are delivering. What are the retailer’s strengths, and how can they improve? What is the average customer’s opinion of the shopping experience?
Kipp doesn’t think retailers need to invest too much money in hiring mystery shoppers. At least, not yet. Mystery shoppers are an incisive tool aimed at perfecting service in a mature and competent retail market. They can help bring excellence in a retail market of high standards. Here in the UAE, that’s a total waste.
Here’s what retailers need to know: Your customer service levels are, by and large, terrible. There are no strengths, and improvement can be made in every single area. The average customer’s opinion of the shopping experience is that it is a horrific trial of patience and endurance where the staff adds little or no value and the only redeeming aspect is the product.
So before you go hiring a mystery shopper to tell you how clean the store looked on a scale of one to five, try following Kipp’s simple advice first:
1. TRAIN your staff so they know about the products they are selling. Why? It will help them sell more and it will be useful to the customer.
2. TRAIN your staff that following people around a store or hovering next to them constantly is not service, it’s stalking.
3. EMPOWER your staff to work on their initiative, so they could open an extra till when a queue builds up, for instance.
4. MORE does not equal better. Dozens of staff in one store does not equal good service (see point 1) particularly when they can’t follow point 3.
Start with these, and we’ll see how you get on. Kipp readers, feel free to suggest your own ideas for improvement.