2010 was a busy (secret) shopping year for your truly.
I secret shopped nearly 200 Des Moines area stores and other public entities, including 44 stores at Jordan Creek Mall, 39 convenience stores, 15 auto repair shops, 13 big box retail stores, 13 drug stores, 10 health clubs, 10 real estate agents, 10 high schools, 9 movie theaters, 6 cell phone stores, 5 banks, 4 grocery stores, 4 mall Santa's, 2 car dealerships, 2 government agencies, 2 restaurants, a University, a furniture store, a race track, a State Fair and a TV station.
Here's what I discovered:
1. Most employees say hi.
2. Most employees don't ask open-ended questions.
3. Most employees have great eye contact.
4. Most employees don't engage in chit-chat.
5. Most employees are very helpful.
6. Most employees don't introduce themselves by name, or attempt to get ours (shoppers).
7. Most employees say thank you.
8. Most employees don't smile (until the end).
9. Most employees are friendly, but have room for improvement.
10. Most customers could stand to be friendlier, but that's probably not going to change.
What will I discover next year?
Here's where I'll be doing the discovering - the businesses and categories I'll be secret shopping in 2o11:
City services, including law enforcement
More big box stores
More cell phone stores
More auto repair shops
More real estate agents
More grocery stores
You can email your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There will also be more human interest stories that will have nothing to do with shopping. After all, there's more to life than shopping - said the man who does it for a living, hosts a radio show about it, writes a blog about it and did it 200 times in 2010.
I didn't say there was a lot more to life than shopping.
Here's to a lot more smiles in 2011 - from employees, shoppers and you. :)
Jonnie Wright is a customer service evaluator and trainer, professional secret shopper, marketing strategist and host of The Unsecret Shopper Radio Show, Saturday mornings 8-9am, on 1350, KRNT.
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