How Long Until You Leave a Store?

I think I've mentioned a time or twenty that I do secret shops. For the past four years, the majority of the shops have been restaurants and bars, with quite a few seminars thrown in for two years because they paid very well and I wasn't working elsewhere.

More and more, though, there have been retail establishment shops. If it doesn't require buying something I won't use, I'll do them. (For instance, right now, they've got a ton of shops for a retailer I've never set foot in and because I have boys, probably never will. I leave those for the appropriate people to shop). This month, there were a few shops for an optical retailer. I took two of them, because I'd shopped them before and figured I'd be in and out in fifteen minutes and spend ten doing the report. Really easy.

Well, I did one last Friday and it was exactly that: out in 10 minutes and the report was done in no time flat. Today, I had another one and well, it took forty minutes.

Yes, forty minutes in an eyeglass store. It wasn't exactly busy, either. Yes, there were customers, but there were two employees and one never set foot outside the office or talked to a single person.

The young lady helping customers greeted me with "Ma'am, we'll be with you in a moment" a good 28 minutes before she did. Never touched back with me, never asked the other person to help. There was one other customer before me and another waiting for a vision exam. Another walked in to pick up his glasses and he was helped before anyone else.

Now, I had to fulfill obligations of the shop, so I stuck around. However, I was thinking about it. It took me less than ten minutes to look at their frame selection, and I ended up doing that three times before she came back to me. If I'd finished looking at the frames and wasn't helped, I would have walked out the door and never looked back.

What about you? What's your time limit? Does it make a difference if there's one person working and they're touching base with you periodically?

As soon as I could, I called my boss at the office. Anytime I have a shop that's bad (and this is the third dreadful one in four years, but there have been some out of the ordinary situations), I call and give them a heads up. They tend to call to debrief when the report is really bad and this one definitely will be considered that. I said "Gee, I took the shop because they're usually the quickest ones to do-I've been in and out of restaurant shops in less time!" and we both laughed.

I don't think those employees will be laughing when the report comes back and says they weren't doing all the things the company trains them to do. It's a shame, because she was friendly and knowledgeable, but the company puts a lot of emphasis on customer service, and making someone wait 28 minutes to be helped does not fall in that category.


Having just purchased glasses this week . . .well, I think I would have been long gone.

I just posted on urbanspoon about a bad experience I had in a local Dunkin Donuts. I was a semi- regular at that location but won't go back. Two people behind the counter - an older woman wh has been there forever and a young guy probably a new hire. Older woman recently developed the habit of having long, drawn-out conversations with customers who are also her friends. New hire, meantime, is obviously in over his head. He fills one order but forgets to ring it upon the register. Asks me for my order, starts filling it, then stops to ring up the forgotten order. Then, instead of finishing my order, he asks the next person in line for their order. Older woman is oblivious because she's still chatting eith her friends. I left without coffee or donut and went elsewhere. And pisted about it. Sucks for them that this is the internet age.

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