Would You Tell the Truth in this Situation?

pinnochioBeing a mystery shopper is a fun, but serious, profession.

You can look at it as a being kind of like a private investigator (which you must be in Nevada!), an inspector, a spy or, as we like to say, a ‘fly on the wall’.

Whatever your image of yourself ‘at work’, ultimately the service you provide allows management extra sets of eyes and ears than they could possibly have at all locations.

So, when you evaluate a representative of a company who is trying to do their job, but messing up just a tiny bit – what should you do?

Tell the Truth – or Look the Other Way?

We are talking about situations where you see a food preparer peeking at their phone – and not changing gloves before turning back and touching the bread.

Or the sales person who tells you that the product sold by the guy next door is a bit better – and less expensive – than their model.

Or the representative found underneath their desk eating lunch – true story!

Most of us know we are not perfect –  and all of us have that ‘moment’ when we don’t act exactly as expected.

And some of us are soft-hearted and don’t like to think we would be getting someone in trouble – or even worse – fired!

But – the truth of the matter is – the truth should always be told.

Not judgmentally, not with your opinion attached, and certainly not in a derogatory way.

Just the objective description of what was seen and heard.

If you do not record what you see – how will anyone know to train that individual to do things differently?

Truth Ignites Change

With the truth comes change – and your honest retelling of your experience will initiate that change with that organization and the individual.

In your mystery shop reports, tell what you see and hear – and then trust that the systems in place at each organization will do the ‘right’ thing for the people involved.

James Bond or Columbo would do it, so why not you?

Have you conducted a mystery shop where you were not sure if you should be truthful? What did you do?

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About Market Viewpoint

Market Viewpoint offers comprehensive mystery shopping services, complete customer service audits, employee and customer surveys, customer focused marketing strategies, and customer service training to help you improve your customer service and outshine your competition.
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5 Responses to Would You Tell the Truth in this Situation?

  1. cathy says:

    I have always told the truth when I see the bad, and I also report on the good done also. As far as the sales associate telling someone to go to different store, that definitely should be told, she is causing the store to lose sales, and associates to lose their jobs. and I have had that happen when doing a shop. Have also had customer service desk ppl treat a customer in front of me terribly,he was an older man, gave him a difficult time and humiliated him and after he left they looked at each other and laughingly say, hahahah wonder if that was the mystery shopper?, To that I said to myself, no he wasn’t but I am the mystery shopper and this will be told. In some cases I don’t think more “training” could help and these people need to be removed from a customer experience position, maybe restocking in the back room, perhaps? As a private customer though, I will also stand up for associates who are being badly treated by customers, they are associates not private “punching bags” and I think people now take advantage of the fact the associates can’t respond back.

  2. It depends on the objective. Sometimes I have to weight what the client wants and if they were keen enough to expand on the motivation s behind the shop I will know if a small mistake is necessary to report. I think of myself as a consumer when doing Customer Service shops and I don’t think a regular customer would be so picky- Not that being accurate is being picky…Judgement is what we are being asked for.

    • Derrick, Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, there is a fine line sometimes between expectations of management and expectations of the consumer. There are ways to write words that would be fair to both parties!

  3. Dave Mayo says:

    Some editors did not allow me to tell the truth. One in particular revised my narrative wanted me to omit details I observed as. the client might be offended. If I sent that to the client (which was the exact opposite of what I observed) I could have justifiably been terminated as a shopper for falsification.

    I did rewrite the narrative. “As I am not privy to the client’s .employee manual and standards. I saw (this that and the other thing) which may be excellent procedure. The editor could not tell me I was negative because I defined the observations as EXCELLENT complying with their unknown standards.and procedures.

    Being an entrepreneur myself I created and was successful at maintaining businesses. My first business, in fact, was created in high school when I was a sophomore. Over 50 years later it has evolved into a major entertainment industry. . I occasionally will perform that service for clients who insist they want to pay me outrageous fees.. If it is not fun and if it does not help people I won’t do it. I enjoy helping people.

    My entrepreneurial mentors did tell me there will be those who will tell you “that will never work”. “They” told Thomas Edison his electric candle would never work. “They” told the Wright brother they would kill themselves in that “flying machine” When your concept is working and “They” tell you , “THAT WILL NEVER WORK” It is music to my ears. Translated it means, “I wish I thought of that first. .

    I can a give clients what they want, but if I am more knowledgeable and experienced I can SUGGEST (never demand) that they tell me why they want or how they want. Because I do not know their circumstances I keep an open mind and I am educated.

    A lot of people told Columbus he was crazy. He would fall off the edge of the earth. They told me I was crazy too…Without crazy people who dare to think differently there will be no progress.Do not let “They” tell you what the truth is. .

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