At a time when my main job (and hardest job) was a stay-at-home Mom, I scoured the internet for ways to make a little extra money. I filled out countless surveys, only to learn at the end they were no longer looking for anyone in my “age bracket.” I entered a ton of contests, writing endless testimonials. Later on, I studied up on my coupon skills hoping to become TLC’s next Extreme Couponing guru. Ultimately, my biggest success was as a Secret Shopper.
A Secret Shopper is someone sent “undercover” to pose as a potential customer. As an undercover shopper, one has to painstakingly provide detailed notes. In fact, I would run to my car afterwards and start writing down as much as I could for fear I’d forget. The questions ranged from the time it took to greet me to the friendliness of the sales rep. I described their appearance, their tone of voice and even our eye contact.
Bob Negen from Whizbang Retail Training wrote, “Using a secret shopper program is our favorite way to find out what kind of experience your customers are REALLY having…even when you’re not around.” He suggests hiring one to get information on the following:
Yes! Just knowing there could be a potential shopping spy wandering about is enough to keep your sales team on point. Likewise, make sure you have the “shopper” visit on a day you’re not in the store so you’ll get the best representation of your employees.
To tell the truth, I never felt completely comfortable. I am a lousy faker. I wear all of my emotions on my sleeve for all to see. One time I even took my kids along to look a bit more believable. The bottom line, if you want specific information about the effectiveness of your sales team, hire a Secret Shopper. It was a great study in sales techniques. As an undercover shopper, I learned so much about what to do and definitely what not to do. Because I was required to answer a lot of questions, I paid really close attention. After all, no details meant no paycheck. If I’m gonna lie (pretend), I at least wanna get paid for it!