Long time no post, apparently. Blame that on work. I blame a lot of things on it, myself.

OK, so a few days ago we got the results for last months “Mystery Shopper” surveys. Basically if you don’t know what these are, its where some person wanders around as a customer taking note of whether they get good service or not, basically. There’s not really much more to it than that.

Back onto the topic at hand, we got the results and they were decidedly average. They found problems with the four areas they look at, which would be the exterior of the store and the front end area, two questions to shopfloor staff, and the checkout process. I didn’t pay too much attention to the shopfloor because that was OK, on the whole. Now, regarding the tills and customer service, this is where the bulk of the problems were.

The short story is that on the tills, the cashier only offered basic service, didn’t talk much to customers outside of basic service lines, and didn’t ask for the loyalty card. This was pretty much how it went on the customer  service desk, for the record. Also, no smiles were offered.

Sounds pretty bad, right? Well. Don’t jump to conclusions just yet. Lets look at the other side of the story for a moment here.

What this survey fails to mention is that there were no other till trained staff available on that day, due to holidays, sick notes, and what have you. Same story with the customer services. So basically, for what constituted 95% of the working day there was only one person manning each area. Of course, on Sundays – the day the Mystery Shopper was in – it gets busy. Take both these things into account, and what do you get? Long queues and waiting times. Feel free to throw in the random occurrences of barcodes not scanning, tills crashing, and a whole host of other things. So all in all, the staff were stressed.

This leads to an unescapable catch 22 situation. Either the staff follow all the guidelines, score the marks on service and lose out on speed of service, or serve people at full pelt and discount the “extended” service marks until the queues subside. Normally more staff would be thrown into the fray, but of course today that wasn’t an option, considering there weren’t any.

Of course, after results are in this leads to a high speed buck passing regarding who is really at fault here. The managers, who fail to ensure the proper staff and relief staff are available, or the staff for not providing the proper service?

Also not smiling. Maybe now it should be clear why we weren’t.

Either I’m incredibly stupid or remarkably patient for staying in this job for four and a half years.