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Try Viewing Your Business from the Customer’s Perspective

Suzi Shopper: Thoughts on business from a consumer’s perspective

Are mystery shopper programs still around? I’m sure they are….but here’s a thought. Why not “mystery shop” your store—not to bust employees for doing things wrong, but to truly understand your processes? What is your customer really experiencing, and what can you do to improve it (and your competitive edge)?

My vet would benefit from doing this. I have three dogs…all are adopted mutts. One is my “special needs child.” She doesn’t like other animals…except the ones she lives with, of course. So, when I take her to the vet, it is challenging to keep her under control when other animals are in the waiting area. Last week, I took all three of my lovelies in for an appointment. I sat 30 excruciating minutes (after my “appointment time”) in the waiting room with other dogs coming and going, and with each newcomer, I began the Herculean task of wrestling with 140 pounds of dog – they feed off each other, so once one is upset, everyone gets in on the action.

What I needed was to be put in a room to wait for the vet. What I got was “Wow…you sure are brave to come in with all three dogs” comments from the front office workers. Not helpful, not at all.

What my vet should do is bring his own dog (and make sure he choose one that’s high maintenance) into his own office and wait for 30 minutes, like I did, to get a good feel for what it’s like to be a customer. Then, possibly, he might consider changing his policy. He could do many things, like 1) set appointments for dogs like mine first thing in the morning; 2) limit the number of dogs for one appointment; 3) have a room or a separate entrance for special needs dogs or multiple dogs. But I doubt on that list would be for his office workers to pat the customer on the back for their bravery.

Does your company have mystery shopper initiatives? In what ways do you take a look at your business processes from the customer’s perspective to ensure they are truly serving your customer?