“Have I just surrounded myself with sycophants, who are just telling me whatever I want to hear, regardless of the truth?” – Gavin Belson, Silicon Valley
Here at 360 Intel, we often find ourselves reminding clients and prospective clients that mystery shoppers are also their typical, everyday customers.
Are there a few bad apples? Definitely.
Do we ever catch fraudulent activity and deal with unprofessional behavior? Absolutely.
However, if you’ve worked with as many shoppers as we have (over 200,000 in the last 5 years alone), you know that most of them are ordinary, hardworking people who are trying to make a few extra bucks – and perhaps feel like a secret agent for a few hours. We encourage shoppers to evaluate with a critical eye so that clients get honest feedback about their experience.
Occasionally, a shop report is returned to us because a manager doesn’t agree with the opinion provided. Perhaps the language was too sharp, the scoring too harsh or the shopper too picky. We are asked to alter feedback, scoring or sometimes throw out a report. We are certainly willing to reconduct shops when requested because we want clients to be 100% satisfied with the program. However, when you decline a report because you didn’t like the feedback – you are not only losing out on a customer’s opinion – you’ve possibly lost a customer for life.
It is important to remember that shoppers are not out to ‘get’ anyone. They are compensated to give their time and feedback, and it’s not always easy to hear. Our recommendation: trust your shoppers. Welcome the negative (the harsh, the dramatic, the sensitive) along with the positive, glowing reviews. Otherwise, the data may be skewed, and the program’s integrity is lost in the process.