Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Using a "Secret Shopper"

I found an interesting article about using a secret shopper. I've actually been a secret shopper for friends in business; I think it's fun.

The writer's wife's friend is the manager of a store. "Getting someone to participate as a secret shopper could give you the insight you need for evaluating employee performance. There are programs out there that will connect businesses with secret shoppers, or you can just get someone you know to do it if they are willing."

Here's the downside: "the possibility of losing the respect of your employees. If you do engage in a secret shopper situation, it is probably best that the employees never find out about it. They will not appreciate being spied on, and no longer trust you. If your employees can't trust you and/or respect you, they're not going to be happy working for you, and will quite possibly begin looking for another job."

Bottom line: "If you do use a secret shopper and all of your employees pass the test with flying colors, reward them. Even if they don't know why you're rewarding them, you can show them that you appreciate the work they've been doing, and they will surely respect that."

I would also suggest that it's not just the retail establishment that needs to be secretly shopped. How easily the online store actually works or how quickly and politely employees answer the phone may be something an employer might want to check out.

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