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What Do Mystery Shoppers Look for at a Gas Station?

A trip to the gas station is no one’s favorite thing to do these days. With many stations’ prices hovering around the $4 a gallon mark, filling up the car’s tank is a fairly painful transaction on even the most beautiful days in the nicest neighborhoods.

As a gas station owner or manager, you’re doing the best you can just to stay in business and keep smiling as disgruntled SUV drivers come through your doors, grinding their teeth at their latest $85 fill-up. Though most filling stations don’t vary in gas price by more than a few cents at a time — which makes a marked difference for only a certain sector of consumer — there are a lot of things in your control that affect whether a customer comes back to fill up with you or goes to a competitor.

A Shell gas station near Lost Hills, Californi...

Image via Wikipedia

 

It’s a good idea to keep tabs on your store’s performance regularly to ensure that as many people become repeat customers as possible. And we, of course, suggest a mystery shopping program to help you do that. Mystery shoppers are specially trained to go into a business armed with a checklist of important criteria. After they’ve anonymously paid a visit to your store, they’ll compile a report that will help you understand what you and your employees are doing well, and what could use some work.

Here’s a look at some of the things a mystery shopper might look for in your gas station?

    • Is the credit-card system at the pump operational? If it works, are the screens readable, and is the transaction smooth and simple?
    • Do all the pumps work?
    • How long does it take to pump a gallon of gas?
    • Are the trash cans near the pumps emptied regularly, and are there ample supplies for windshield washing and drying?
    • Are station clerks friendly and helpful?
    • If you have a soda fountain or coffee service station in an attached convenience store, is the surrounding area clean and free of spills?
    • If you have bathrooms, are they clean and well stocked with paper products?

We can promise you won’t be docked points for the astronomical price of gas. (Though you’d get bonus points, maybe, for offering a free bag of Cool Ranch Doritos with any fill-up. Just a suggestion.)

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