This news story of a Manchester taxi driver who swore at the 'wrong' customer (is there a right customer to swear at?!) is an interesting one. Apparently he launched a foul mouthed outburst at a 'mystery shopper' who was out there assessing 'customer service skills'!!! 'Mystery Shopping' can be a great way of finding out what's happening in your business, but I do think that there's an easier (and cheaper) way of doing it. I call it 'standing in your own queues'.
I regularly encourage my clients and conference audiences to do it as a 'starter for 10′. It means 'experiencing' things as your customers do. It could be ringing up your own business, sitting in your own reception, making an enquiry, even visiting your own website.
However, you have to be prepared for what you 'experience' : it's unlikely that someone will swear at you (I hope!), but one participant on a programme I was running rang his business at lunchtime after we'd all agreed to do it in the morning session. He was the Managing Partner of a very well established local accountancy firm and came back a little concerned. "How did it go Charles?" I asked? "I'm not really sure" he replied "The receptionist answered the phone and said "hello, xxxxx Accountants, how can I help?" He then asked "Could I speak to Charles Smedley please?" She replied "Who?""
Turns out that the receptionist was on her lunch break and a new employee from 'accounts" had been shoved in to cover. Not her fault she didn't know he'd only been Managing Partner for 26 years and working there for more than 40!!!!
To understand the customer experience your business provides, sometimes it's all about simply 'looking' at stuff that's going on in your business.