As we all know, you are generally not supposed to reveal yourself as a mystery shopper unless you're explicitly told to do so. Usually this is no big deal. Just hide the questionnaire, be sly when taking pictures, and act as a normal customer would. But I had an issue today while evaluating a mobile shop. I was to ask about new phones at a mobile carrier. Unfortunately my guidelines didn't say if I should pretend to be a concurrent customer or not. So when the employee asked if I currently had service with them (T-mobile), I said yes.
This was fine since he didn't ask for any information and began to show me the phones straight away. Or so I thought. After being recommended several phones, I was supposed to check the inventory of a few specific phones. When I inquired about this, the employee said he would connect to my account so he could proceed to check the inventory. Oh no...
He asks for my phone number. I give it to him without really knowing what I would do next. He does a bit of busywork behind a computer and then gets a bewildered look on his face. He says "that's weird, I don't have anything showing for this phone number. Are you sure you gave me the right one?" I respond by saying the account is in my mother's name actually, but he retorts by saying it should still come up. At this point I'm running out of excuses. He turns his screen to me and asks me if he entered it correctly. At this point I could either tell him he mistyped and prayed that whatever number I came up with, would miraculously be on their service, or I could bail on the idea of being their customer entirely.
So I channel my years of training in theater from high school. I put on the most perplexed look on my face and say "hold on a sec, you guys are the only carriers with a red logo right?" At this point my only option was to pretend I had mistakenly visited the wrong carrier. He responds with "no, we are pink". I say "what? It looks pretty red to me. Is there another red one?". At which point he informs me that Verizon had a red checkmark for their logo.
So now I've made it very clear that I'm not a customer. All of the questions and discussion we had were invalidated because my situation was different. Now I'm supposedly looking for phones at Verizon. This would normally not be a big deal, except I was one roadblock away from completing the shop. I needed the man's business card. So in a complete tangent I begin to talk about how I might need to separate from my mom's phone plan and I would need to look into a new one. I asked about prices, and then felt like I had justified myself enough to ask for a business card. I left that shop promptly and decided that if I ever do a similar shop again, I would just say I'm a new customer looking to switch to them and get a new phone.
Hello, I too have recently completed some mobile phone shops. However, my instructions were very explicit. I was under no circumstances to tell the cell phone associate about anything: my phone, my plan, my budget, my number, Nothing! Also, in my instructions, I was just to let the associate do all of the talking. I give a simple once-over that I was seeking a phone, and provided the scenario in my shop instructions. I made no references to specific phones, plans, etc. I let the associate guide to the recommended phones and get the information. When it comes to checking the inventory about phones in-stock, the shops I've done the associate goes into the back and physically checks.
A suggestion, when I am asked how I can be helped right at the start, I just pretend to have moved into the area and am looking at some smartphones. When asked about service or my plan, I just state that I prefer not to reveal the poor, disreputable provider I have out of professional courtesy. That usually quiets down the probing and then I proceed with the phones in the shop. My shops have been on phone recommendations, not customer service so my primary focus has been on the phones, not the staff.
Lastly, take that front of store picture required before entering the store. As an added precaution, I don't even take my phone with me inside of these cell phone places -- eliminates a lot of unnecessary probing and revealing of unneeded information on both the shopper and the associate.
Hope that helps in future shop scenarios for you and others. Thanks for reading.
That's a lot of very useful advice Norm, thank you! And Jose - wow that was a close call! Hats off for smooth talking your way out of that one :)
I know that on most cellphone shops I had experience with, it's like Norm said - you shouldn't disclose your device and number, and you can either choose not to disclose your provider, or say it's one of the other ones (not the one whose store you're shopping) - I hope this helps :)
I have a little different way of attacking the problem.
Since I don't wear a wedding ring I just tell the associate at the phone shop that I am getting divorced and am looking for a separate plan just for myself. It usually catches the associate off guard, especially the guys. I tend to get a little more sympathy from them. I have never had it fail yet.
I need help with a question and haven't gotten an answer from anyone so I thought I'd ask you since you seemed kind on your post.
I am trying to complete my shop but the form from the MSP won't respond. There's a red circle with a bell in the upper corner which visually rings. What does this bell mean? Is it stopping my report response?
I sure hope you can help me 'cause I'm desperate. I spent $15 on this shop and can't afford to loose it!
Thank you sooooo much.
Wendy and Norm are absolutely right about the red bell (alerts). Although, having an alert from a scheduler or editor is not something that would prevent you from filling out your shop report, or finalizing it.
If the iSecretShop website or app is not responding - try closing your browser/app, then start it up again, login, and try again. If it still won't respond, you should open a support ticket and explain the issue in detail so the developers can look into it.
If you can't finalize your shop report but you've filled it out, you can look into these most common reasons for that happening:
-Check if the shop start and end time and date are correct (it's not uncommon to enter the wrong date sometimes)
-Check if all questions are fully answered (some questions have a minimum character requirement, or require photos, etc)
-Check if all basic requirements were met (if required files like photos and recording are there, if the shop was done on the day when it was scheduled to be done, etc)
If all of the above is good and you still can't finalize the report, you can contact the MSP and inquire about what else is needed for your to be able to finalize your report.
I hope this helps!