Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mystery shopping

About two years ago, when I was tech writing full-time (as opposed to tech writing full-time and running a wool shop!), I pitched to a mystery shopping company. The pitch went something like: sometimes your mystery shopping team find businesses that don't provide such great service. At present, you tell the company what they are doing badly, but you don't tell them how to fix it. How would you like to give them the option to hire me to write a fantastic sales manual to ensure that the problems you've identified never come up again?

I thought it was a pretty good pitch, but it never really took off. Possibly it wasn't a bright idea to target clients who were already sinking most of their disposable income into retaining a mystery shopping service. Anyway, for whatever reason, not much came of it, and I never thought of mystery shopping again - until I discovered yesterday that mystery shopping is completely unnecessary!!

Let me explain what happened. The other day, I received a customer complaint. I was really happy, and I put 250 loyalty points on the customer's card straight away.

Now hang on a moment (I hear you say)!! You received a complaint and you were happy? And you rewarded the customer?

To which the answer is, you bet I did!! Big companies who have no relationship with their customers have to spend a fortune hiring mystery shoppers to find out whether or not their staff are up to scratch. I hope that CCCK customers always trust us enough to tell us when things don't work out quite how they expect. I know it sounds cheesy, but I genuinely believe that we need to know when things aren't working so that we can fix them.

After all, I've never solved a problem that I didn't know existed. And besides, I can't afford to retain a mystery shopping service...

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