Using Mystery Shoppers

to learn how to deal with different types of customers.

A few months ago, we wrote a series of articles tackling a couple of stereotypes of customers and how to handle them. More recently, a new infographic surfaced, highlighting the kinds of customers best avoided and methods of tackling them. These so-called ‘nightmare customers’ are easy enough to spot, trickier to handle, but the real advantage comes in knowing how to deal with them. This infographic comes from The Website Group. It’s fairly straightforward in outlining each different customer type, and here at AQ we wanted to take a look at how using mystery shoppers might help customer service deal with these nightmare customers.

Let’s break it down:

  1. The ‘Know-It-All’ Hero

Clearly trying to reason with the hero isn’t going to help. They believe they know more than the specialist trying to help them. Like the infographic suggests, the best way to handle these customers is to give them the attention they’re craving and to just ‘go with it’. Many of these customers are people who just like things done their way; whether right or wrong, though some will throw in a free lecture on why it is that the machiatto you just made them isn’t a real macchiato because of the style in which you’ve made it (my personal experience!).

  1. The ‘Ninja’ Snooper

Okay, ironically, this one might actually turn out to be a mystery shopper. Or it could be a window shopper. Either way this type of customer isn’t actually a real customer. It’s important to remember that even if you’ve caught them out, to treat them with all due respect! If they’re a mystery shopper they’ll be looking to report on the store and its workings, upsetting a mystery shopper will reflect badly in the data! If it’s a window shopper there’s always the potential that they’ll turn into a real customer, so don’t burn that bridge!

  1. The Penny Pincher

These people like to hold onto their money, they won’t part with an extra cent if they don’t have to. Don’t think that they are primarily motivated by greed though; they might just be thrifty, or deal-savvy. It’s important to deal with them carefully, politely, and precisely. If treated without the proper courtesy, these shoppers will use the lack of customer service as a deal breaker and go elsewhere.

  1.  Langry (Loud & Angry)

No one likes to deal with these customers. They’re upsetting and they can ruin anyone’s day. It doesn’t matter if you do your utmost best to make their wishes come true; they’re practically a lost cause. Like the infographic suggests, it’s vital to stay calm – getting hot under your collar isn’t going to make a difference, they’ll just shout at you more aggressively. Many managers might feel the need to step in and handle the situation if a junior member of the staff is under siege.

To Conclude…

So how might using mystery shoppers help handle any of these customers? The thing with using mystery shoppers is that they can shed light on a lot of things, from how customer service staff handle customers, to how customers feel when they walk into the store. Mystery shopping is based on customer experiences, not on opinion, so it offers actionable insights into how businesses are performing.

Managing customers, nightmare or otherwise – is all about understanding their expectations. The Penny Pincher, for examples, expects to get the best value for money they can possibly get, while the ‘Know-it-All’ Hero is looking for exactly what they think is right. Whether staff manages to meet these expectations will determine whether or not that customer’s experience is positive nor negative. By using mystery shoppers, a company can set up scenarios to test how customer service staff manage those expectations.

At the end of the day it’s important to remember that every customer is an opportunity. When handled correctly, a customer will become a returning, loyal customer that will spread the word about your business to their friends and family. Using mystery shoppers can help train a business’ staff in how to deal with diverse situations as well as report back on the real life situation as experienced by customers.