A Secret Look At Store Service
Michelle Chun’s company Insight Twenty20 provides mystery shoppers to help business owners determine how they are doing with customer service. Basically, she sends her employees to “shop” at various businesses, and to check on service.
“It’s professional feedback,” says Chun. “The report is written in a much more objective way, and it is a way to positively help the clients because they want to keep track of how the service is provided. The shoppers are the eyes and the ears for them.”
Her clients include hotels, retail stores, restaurants, bars, nightclubs - any service-related business. The client customizes a list of areas it wants covered in the report, which ranges from the time a patron steps foot in the establishment to the time they leave. Examples of what a mystery shopper looks for are how the transaction at the cash register goes, appearance of the property and merchandise stocked. Some clients want to focus on how the employee greeted the shopper, while another is more concerned with the sales pitch. The shopper files the finished report, and it’s sent to the client.
“One of my clients said these reports are like the Holy Grail,” Chun recalls, noting some businesses use the reports to recognize employees for a job well done.
“Some base their employee bonuses on the report,” she adds. “Other companies that have multiple locations have a friendly competition to see who has the highest customer service.”
Chun says she learned a lot about customer service while she lived in Japan.
“The Japanese are the epitome of customer service,” she says. “You could just buy a handkerchief and they make you feel like you bought a diamond ring. They are really appreciative.”
Chun worked as a mystery shopper in 1999 for another company, which was sold. In 2006, the Moanalua High School graduate took those clients and started Insight Twenty20.
One of the challenges she experiences is hiring good people. Chun employs 15 to 20 part-time, independent contractors to do the mystery shopping.
“They are the ones who are turning in the reports,” says Chun. “That is what keeps our clients happy. It is hard to find people who are dependable, as it is not an easy job. So we invest a lot of time and money in the screening process and orientation training process. You have to enjoy writing and be detailed-oriented. It is a writing and observing job, not a shopping job. You don’t necessarily have to enjoy shopping to do this job.”
Her goals are to grow the business and publish what she’s learned about customer service.
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