They know...

Ever come out of a shop feeling sure you've been busted? Just something about the way the salesperson talks to you makes you think, 'he knows.' Were you right? How did you deal with it?

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I have never had a MSC tell me the client location identified me as a shopper. Does that mean they never have ? No. I'm sure some locations know I am the shopper. The smart ones keep their mouths shut and use that information (the suspicion that I am their mystery shopper) to be sure they meet all their requirements and give super service so they get a good review. There is one gas station I shop for Market Force that is run by a really great family. The mom is usually the one who is there. She is always friendly to everyone and the station and store are well run and clean. The only way she treats me different than I have observed her treating other customers is that she immediately pins on her name tag when she sees me. I feel sure she knows but neither she nor I has ever recognized that in any way.

Would there be a point in a target employee telling someone they knew who the shopper was? I can't think of a benefit to them. If they did great and got a good report, why would they say anything? The smart employee would say "yeah, I treat all my customers like this mystery shop report shows." If they got a bad report,, what would be the point in saying "I knew he was the shopper." That would make the employee look incredibly stupid. So the boss would say "you deliberately gave bad service to a mystery shopper to get a bad report? You are too stupid to work here."
Yes, I get that feeling. But the only time a company told me that I was identified was at a shop where I never had that feeling.
That's hilarious!
@johnb974 wrote:

I had a cell phone shop I've done many times. One time I walked in and the employees said "Hi John"
Either my small local post office has figured out I am a shopper or after years of being shopped the manager has started enforcing the rules of how they are supposed to do things and what to say and offer. This last time I went in the clerk went pretty much down the line of yes/no questions! The 3 clerks there have not changed since forever and usually they are all upfront there and see and hear what I am doing even when I get one of the other clerks. If they ever retire there will be a new clerk I guess. Even tho I can walk to that po I think I might do my shops elsewhere for a while. But then maybe it is not uncommon for parents to send monthly care packages that are under 2 lbs to their adult kids for $14.
I was discretely taking pictures at a shop. When I got home and went through my photos, I saw an employee "discretely" giving me the finger.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
LOL!!
@HonnyBrown wrote:

I was discretely taking pictures at a shop. When I got home and went through my photos, I saw an employee "discretely" giving me the finger.
I felt so much like I had been identified at Denver Matress Co! I had shopped the same manager 3 times in a row, every three months! I refused to do the shop when the scheduler asked me again, and stalked the store, looking in the windows, to see if the same manager was still there.

Then, I got my hair cut and colored, so I figured I'd do it again recently. That manager who I had shopped had apparently been replaced, so it was all fine. MSC told me that IFI had been identified, the MSC would know, so I guess I hadn't, even though I felt as if I had. Also, even though I felt like I was identified, the manager did not do all of the things he was supposed to on the last one (maybe only 50% of them), so that wouldn't make sense either.

But I can tell you that doing that shop, and feeling like I was identified, gave me a lot of stress and made me really "mess up." I forgot a requirement, had to have the editor email me about some missed things....the shop still went through, thankfully, but that's why I decided to not do it again for so long, because the possibility of being identified threw me off so much
There was a thread on this and I wrote my story about being identified...here is a shorter version.
I go do the Ralph's grocery (as always) and the Manager comes up to me and says, "Well, here you are again, just when the shopper is due". He was mean and smug as I stood there closed mouthed. He said, I know your the shopper, everytime you come in the store is shopped. I went home and wrote my scheduler, and never went back. What an a__h___.

Live consciously....
I may have been identified when I went into my local grocery store one day, that I had shopped for a year until they stopped being shopped, and the produce guys said, "Hi! Good to see you! Did you know we're being secret shopped again?" Me: "Really? Is that why everyone's wearing their name tags?" LOL

Also, a scheduler for a utility company offered me a very nice bonus to do two shops two hours away. I agreed and she then said if I'd do them every month she'd make sure I got the bonus every month. Only problem? One of the clerks has the memory of an elephant. I did the shop three months after doing it the first time and the woman said, OH you got a new purse!. I told the scheduler I was hesitant about that, and she suggested a wig. But I came up with a much more legitimate scenario. For this utility, you can either be a customer, or a potential customer. I have to be the latter. BUT now I have a logical reason for checking to see whether these properties can have this service installed. I'M FLIPPING HOUSES!
I" knew" that a certain valet attendant knew I was a shopper. But, then he committed obvious fraud; apparently he did not know. He used a previously used claim check and ticket, showing a different make and and plate ID and 3 hours earlier than I arrived. That is NOT what anyone would do if they suspected a shopper, because it is going to show up immediately in the required picture of the claim check, and the time date stamp on the picture, and the video of my vehicle entering at a later time. Nope; most times we think we have been "made" we probably have not.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I'm so going to use that.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
Last summer, a manager of a car dealer told a salesman that I was a mystery shopper. I had no idea how he knew. This was totally in front of me. He then the salesman to go talk to me. I left. This was one of my first shops. I did not admit to anything. They had me waiting for almost an hour at that point.
@Niner wrote:

Last summer, a manager of a car dealer told a salesman that I was a mystery shopper. I had no idea how he knew. This was totally in front of me. He then the salesman to go talk to me. I left. This was one of my first shops. I did not admit to anything. They had me waiting for almost an hour at that point.
July 21, 2019 12:07AM
Since many dealerships are owned by large chains, they mark us in their computer systems when we have visited other dealerships in their chain, after they receive the reports and figure out who the shopper was.
After shopping for less than a year and a half, I've decided it's not my problem. I do all I can to act like a normal customer and to be discreet about things like timings and photos. I have self-imposed rotations for some shops that are longer than those of the MSC. I really try not to be "made" as a shopper. But if the MSC is going to send me in there with some lame scenario, require me to ask lame questions, and have me be dork of the day, the guy that the employee talks about over dinner that night, then it's on them, not me. And unfortunately, there are a lot of shops like that. Some shops appear to be designed by people who have never done a shop. Having said all that, I think Wales is right. A lot of times when you think you're blown you're really not.
@mjt9598 wrote:

@Niner wrote:

Last summer, a manager of a car dealer told a salesman that I was a mystery shopper. I had no idea how he knew. This was totally in front of me. He then the salesman to go talk to me. I left. This was one of my first shops. I did not admit to anything. They had me waiting for almost an hour at that point.
July 21, 2019 12:07AM
Since many dealerships are owned by large chains, they mark us in their computer systems when we have visited other dealerships in their chain, after they receive the reports and figure out who the shopper was.

I visited about 12 of the dealerships for this one car brand. I have visited many different branded dealerships owned by the same parent company, and they had no idea.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2019 01:02AM by Niner.
The best dealership clients have arrangements with the MSCs to periodically remove all shopper info from their data bases. Ask the scheduler or MSC account manager about that.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Some know me, some do not. To me, it makes no difference in that they are supposed to be pleasant, mention certain things, keep their place of business in an acceptable appearance and treat other customers the same.
A side note: I saw recently that a "Blue" gas station attendant in a neighboring state was recorded speaking terribly to persons who had come in to the station's store. The video went viral and was subsequently picked up by the national news services.
Had I been there and witnessed the employee's behavior, should I have reported it to the MSC?

I believe I should have as it is part of the overall customer experience portion of the secret shop.

BTW, I note that the clerk was fired from his job.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2019 12:16PM by French Farmer.
I'm sure that the manager at the Denver Mattress store knows I'm a shopper. I'm going to lay off for a year cus he's always there and answers the phone too! He's a terrific saleman!
So true!! "Just tell them you are taking photos of their (extensive) menu to show to a relative, then leave without ordering anything." Sounds totally realistic....
For a bank mystery shop I shopped one person 3 t6imes. The person did fine each time. Years ago, while shopping a shoe store, the whold staff escorted me to the door and bowed me out
I did a well bonused bank shop. 1/4 of the way through, the banker got up to retrieve marketing materials. She took a few minutes to do so. I was seated in a position that didn't have a view of the banking area. I was facing the wall and a window. She returned and I noticed she was making 'face' contact with others behind me and smirking a bit . She also rolled her eyes. When I got up to leave, all 5 tellers and 3 other bankers yelled out 'Bye! Have a great day!" while waving. I am sure they all got up and watched me walk to my car. This was my first and last visit. LOL.
I had employees walk to my table with free food they had extra of, one employee kept checking on me and asking if he was doing a good job. I received an offer to carry my leftovers to my car... such helpful employees. I did not see other customers getting the royal treatment.
When I was a brand newbie shopper I could not find the location of the store. (high end beauty products) and so I called the store. I guess I sounded stressed and the employee told me how to find the store. I got out of my car and she was on the sidewalk waiting for me! (turns out she was the owner of the store and had been there like 50 years! )...I came inside and did what I was supposed to do and then waited to see if she would offer me a free-make over. She did not. I looked at the items on the shelves, noting which were "MN" and which were competitor products. At some point she said, "Are you a mystery shopper?" I said no and that I was not sure what that was....She kept eyeing me suspiciously! tongue sticking out smiley That is the first and last time I was accused of being a mystery shopper! smiling smiley
@johnb974 wrote:

I had a cell phone shop I've done many times. One time I walked in and the employees said "Hi John"

Funny as heck!

A Dad shopping the Ark-LA-Tex and beyond.
@ShoppingDad wrote:

@johnb974 wrote:

I had a cell phone shop I've done many times. One time I walked in and the employees said "Hi John"

Funny as heck!

With as many cell phones that come out, I was stopping in one store every week.
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