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Holiday Mystery Shops Help Holiday Staffing

Holiday mystery shops need to be an important part of how a business operates. Yes, holiday mystery shops. You can’t slack off during the holidays — in fact, that may be one of the most important times to use a mystery shopper.

In the months leading up to the holiday season, most retailers hire seasonal employees to accommodate the massive increase in business. Some of the largest retailers in the United States hire 50,000 to 100,000 temporary employees to staff both retail stores and distribution centers.

With many of these seasonal retail employees thrust suddenly into customer facing positions, retailers need to ensure that they are as well trained, knowledgeable and as helpful as regular employees. Unfortunately, the drastic increase in personnel creates a new set of challenges for retailers. Many times, training for seasonal employees is rushed, and harried managers are stretched thin. In addition, rarely will seasonal employees continue to keep their job past the holiday season, meaning they may be less invested in the position and therefore not performing at their best.

Of course, since many seasonal employees will often go on to full-time employment with the company, holiday mystery shops can also be a great way to assess whether that employee would be able to effectively make the transition to full-time.

Holiday mystery shops involve a professional shopper to come into the store, posing as a customer, and then identifying their different strengths and weaknesses, and areas of improvement. These holiday mystery shops can help retailers quickly identify training needs and remove weak links.

For retailers with smaller territories, it may be possible to do same day, or even next day, training for those staffers who are having issues identified in the holiday mystery shops. And in other cases, the mystery shopping agency may also be able to provide that training for the store, saving their regional managers to handle the normal duties that have exploded over the holiday season. For companies that need those immediate training needs, but are not sure if they can handle the time themselves, consider asking the mystery shopping agency if this is a service they can provide.

By contracting a mystery shopping agency to conduct holiday mystery shops, retail stores are able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of seasonal employees without sacrificing their much-needed staff power. The feedback from the holiday mystery shops helps retailers to pinpoint areas of improvement before they lead to full-blown customer service issues.

In this stressful time of year, emotions are already running high and customers are on edge more than ever. Therefore it is in the best interest of retailers to ensure that they are providing top notch customer service. For this reason, many retailers find that holiday mystery shops are an efficient, helpful way for them to gain unbiased feedback and ensure that all employees are properly trained and that customer service remains at a quality level.