Editor's Blog

Secret Footage [Part 1]

September 27, 2009
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If I video taped your employees, would you be sick to your stomach or worse?

There was a powerful story all over the news recently about an organization whose employees were secretly video taped and it has rocked this organization to its very core.

Whether you agree or not with the technique of shooting secret footage of your employees and catching them off guard, one thing is for sure: There is a price to pay for not training your employees the right way and holding them accountable to non-negotiable standards.

So, if I secretly video taped your employees, what would they be doing and saying? And if I showed you that tape, would you be sick to your stomach or worse?

One way to minimize a lack of standards is to create detailed operation manuals. The ones I create for clients detail for each position at their company what they should be doing 80 percent of the time. And, with constant practice and buy-in, it does help minimize the damage these types of sting operations can cause.

But even with manuals, training and role-playing, you can never really know what your employees are doing or saying. That’s why I insist my clients put in place a Mystery Shopper Program. And you need to do the same at your company!

A mystery shopping program is nothing new in the retail and food industry. They have been paying people for years to pose as customers to find out how well they really are delivering on what the company has in policies and procedures in the real world.

You too need a program like this. If you have sales, operational and technical standards in place (but without verification from a third-party, impartial observation from the real-world) you won’t really know for sure what is and isn’t happening in the field

Who would be good candidates to become a Mystery Shopper?
    1. Dissatisfied customers
    2. Family members with a different last name who the staff wouldn’t know
    3. Family friends who the staff doesn’t know about
What does a customer get for becoming a Mystery Shopper?
    1. They get a refund on a disputed bill if they came to us as dissatisfied
    2. They get a discount on the work performed in a Mystery Shopper call
    3. They feel better about the company knowing that it has standards
    4. They feel honored knowing the company needs them to help it maintain those standards
How else does the Mystery Shopper program work to benefit the company, the staff and the customer?
    1. Mystery Shoppers may be receptive to having small groups of trainees come to their home if there’s a reward in it for them. This would allow companies to more closely simulate “real-game conditions” that go beyond what it can do in the training center alone.

    2. Mystery Shoppers help avoid the danger that can be created when techs and system engineers get a bonus for selling and they’re tempted to sell unethically.

    3. Mystery Shoppers help identify specific coaching needs. They also allow companies to catch techs and system engineers doing good work.

    4. Mystery Shoppers help verify that sales and operational standards are being performed in the real-world at the high-level of performance desired.

    5. Mystery Shoppers can be a valuable tool in converting dissatisfied customers into an asset to the company.

    6. Mystery Shoppers can be trained to call your office to verify compliance by the CSRs to a company’s Operations Manual and in particular their scripts.
In my next blog I’ll have even more about how to make the Mystery Shopper Program work at your shop.


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Secret Footage

October 2, 2009
This is a great topic. How would any organization stand up to such scrutiny? Are there any legal concerns to videotaping employees? What about secret shopping?

Secret Footage

Al Levi
October 8, 2009
The best you can do is document your policies and procedures and show that you train on these so that not just a book on the shelf. In my opinion based on a lot of experience, video-taping would probably require some consent or at least a very in depth conversation with your labor attorney. Having a mystery shopper document what is and isn't being done is diffirent Especially, when the message is in writing and continually being driven home, "lie, cheat or steal and your gone"



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