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January 27th, 2016

A Day in the Life of… A Telephone Mystery Shopper


By Andy Williams




You may have heard of mystery shoppers going out into the field, but did you know Douglas Stafford also conducts mystery shops over the phone?


Douglas Stafford’s Call Centre is situated at Head Office, 1000 Lakeside in Cosham. Here, our team of callers make enquiries to a wide range of locations on behalf of our clients, the object being to measure the quality of the customer service given by the staff of our clients’ outlets.


The team consists of a good cross-section of society, from all walks of life, who are allocated calls that most closely match their demographic. For instance, a middle-aged person is less likely to buy a turbo-charged car with a sport trim and a 20-year-old is unlikely to be in the position to take out a mortgage on a house costing half a million pounds!


The range of our clients is broad and the calls we record reflect this. A caller is likely to enquire about a new car, a house, a holiday, a mobile phone contract or a fitted kitchen, quite often all in one day. Silla Rickman has been on the team for 18 months and enjoys the camaraderie of the team and the wider office, as well as the variety of the work.


‘I called to enquire about a holiday in Dubai this morning,’ Silla said. ‘It’s a shame it was for a mystery shop because I’d quite like to go there! The holiday calls are my favourite though.’


Adam Whitelock echoes Silla’s comments about the staff at Douglas Stafford, agreeing that it is a friendly place to work. ‘I’ve worked here for six months and know everyone,’ said Adam. ‘As far as the work goes, I love enquiring about new cars. I must have arranged test drives for a couple of million pounds’ worth of cars,’ he laughed.


Although the telephonists find the work fun at times, the object of the exercise is serious, as the results of a call are used as an educational tool in staff training. If they are going wrong, the call will identify where, and steps can be taken to rectify any perceived deficiencies in performance.


So what makes a successful call?


The obvious answer is common politeness towards the potential customer. The person answering the call is the first contact point for the customer and any discourtesy is likely to put them off before they have got started. In a competitive market, first impressions last.


Perhaps less obvious is the accurate recording of contact details for the customer. Miss those or make a typo and the caller may never be heard from again. Politeness, friendliness and attention to detail are key here, although there is such a thing as being too friendly. A female Mystery Shopper who wishes to remain nameless was asked out for dinner by an amorous Sales Executive on the strength of the sound of her voice!


If you are interested in the way telephone mystery could benefit your business, you can contact us on 023 9283 0011.