Reading our tips on how to conduct mystery shops is one thing. Hearing how a real mystery shopper gets the information they need is another. You can better identify with their situations and see yourself in their place.
We recently asked shoppers the following:
Your shop requires you to get the name of the agent or associate who has helped you. They are not wearing a name tag or do not have a business card present. How do you cleverly get their name without giving up your identity as a mystery shopper?
1. You look familiar
Thea K. from WI: One of the ways that I have obtained names is to say something to the associate such as, “You look really familiar (depending on the associate’s age – I think my son might have gone to school with you), what’s your name?” It’s quick, easy and always gets me a name!
Betty P. from TX: This all depends on the age of the person I am currently shopping! If it is a younger person, I say, “Is your name Nancy? You look so much like someone my cousin John was/is dating.” If it is an older person, I say, “Is your name Wilma? You look so much like a lady that goes to my church.” Usually, they always will give you their name!
2. Are you???
Bethany H. from Georgia: I ask the associate, “Are you Jamie Miller (or other made up name)?” When they say, “No,” they usually follow it up by, “I’m Debbie (or whoever).” I follow the question up quickly with an explanation that a friend of mine has a daughter/son/mother/sister (whatever fits the situation) that supposedly works at the location and I was wondering if that’s who they were!
In the slim chance they do not follow up their ‘no’ with their own name, I give the explanation above and quickly asked, “So, what is your name?” They always tell, and I just act like I’m happy to make their acquaintance. I then ask if they know Jamie Miller and if she is there (of course they don’t and no, she doesn’t). I say, “I just thought I would say hi to her if she was”! Always works like a charm for me and the comment, ‘I thought I would say hi if the fictitious character was there, keeps my asking their name from being too suspicious.
If they say they never heard of the person or the person does not work there, I just explain I probably had the wrong place. You would be surprised, though, how many times the associate just says, “I don’t think she’s working right now.”
3. Do you go to school with …?
Helen Ann D. from MD: A restaurant hostess’ name is often difficult to obtain because they often don’t wear nametags. I will wait until we’re seated, and our beverage order has been taken. Then, having glanced repeatedly in their direction, I’ll go up and ask their name. When they tell me, I’ll explain that my grandson goes to school with a “Rebecca” that looks a great deal like her. I’ll apologize and return to my seat with no one the wiser. One time I ended up standing and chatting with her because she wanted to know which school he went to and then had to tell me about her school! Usually, though, if you just use the name after asking for it, such as “Thanks so much for your help, Sandy! I would have been here all day trying to decide!” the person is really just so happy to be recognized they think nothing of it.
4. Is that your real name?
Wanda P. from CT: I have found that allowing the employee to initiate the conversation usually allows them to ask for your name first. By doing this, it opens the door for me to ask their name as well. To tell you a story: I was asked to evaluate the customer service at a high-end electronics store and get the name of the employee who assisted me. When looking at the employee’s name tag I noticed it said “Brain.” Taking a double look, I wasn’t sure if he simply wrote his name wrong on the tag. We began talking but the name on his tag had me curious. I decided to ask him why his name was “Brain.” He snickered at me and said, “Oh, that’s not my real name that’s just what everyone calls me because I’m the computer geek around here. My real name is Ron.”
5. Use your kids
Beth N. from AZ: Shoppers with small children have a distinct advantage here! When my son was small, he was very helpful, chiming in with “Hi, I’m Connor, who are you?” Nowadays, I simply tell them how helpful they’ve been and ask for their name in case I have any other questions.
6. Tell them you are making a list
Kirby S. from FL: This is especially easy for girl shoppers! You ask the guy what his name is because you are making a list of baby names. You want to know some different names.
We hope that these tips help you the next time you need to get the name of an employee for your mystery shop. Do you have any others to share? Leave a comment below!
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