Mystery shoppers everywhere have always struggled with the assignment requirement of obtaining a salesperson’s name. A name may seem like a simple enough piece of information to obtain. After all, most companies require their employees to wear a name tag. Yet often a salesperson will not be wearing a name tag for any number of reasons. Perhaps they are wearing a name tag, but long hair or a sweater are obscuring your visibility. Or the name tag may be on but turned around.
Some mystery shoppers may feel bold enough to ask the salesperson for their name directly, but even this carries its problems. The salesperson may have a thick accent or a soft voice, making repeating the name necessary. Other shoppers feel that asking for the name directly may call attention to them and tip off their role as a mystery shopper. There are a number of tactics mystery shoppers can employee to more covertly get a salesperson’s name when the information isn’t visible.
Do I Know You? For mystery shoppers who shy away from the direct approach of asking for a name, you can try using the “Do I know you?” tactic. Depending on the salesperson’s age and your age, you can say that the salesperson looks just like someone you went to high school with, the mother of your child’s friend, a child of an old friend, a cousin of someone you know, a babysitter of your friend’s children, or even someone you met at a party.
Eavesdrop! Pay attention to the salesperson’s interactions with other people in the store. Perhaps another employee at the store is trying to get their attention and calls their name on the speaker system or directly. The salesperson may say his name when he answers the phone. There are any number of events that can occur while you are in the store where the salesperson’s name will be said by others. It’s simply a matter of paying attention to what is going on around you.
Ask Someone Else. If your salesperson walks off from you for a moment, take the opportunity to approach another salesperson close by. Simply say, “Excuse me. Someone else was helping me, but I can’t seem to find her. She has short brown hair and freckles.” More often than not, you will hear a response of, “Oh, that’s Susie.” When your salesperson is found, be sure to have a question readily available to ask her or some other reason for why you needed to locate her.
Check The Receipt. Many store receipts print the name of the salesperson directly on the receipt. This tactic should be used as a last resort, however. Some stores do not print names on the receipt, so this is an unreliable but often assignment-saving option.
Call Back To Give Kudos. If you have tried everything but have been unable to the salesperson’s name, call the store after you’ve left and ask to speak with a manager. Explain to the manager that you had a great experience at the store and just wanted to pass along some good words about the salesperson. Even if your experience was poor, you can be pretty generic in your praise to avoid giving compliments when they are not due. If you use this tactic, be sure to keep the details of your experience very generic and keep your name to yourself so that you aren’t identified later as a mystery shopper when your report is submitted. If you are adamant about not offering any type of kudos for poor service, simply say you left something there, and describe the person helping you. The person answering the phone will likely say, “You must mean Jim.” When they cannot locate what you left at the store, explain you must have left it somewhere else and hang up.
Can You Spell That? Even those bold enough to ask for a name outright can be stymied by a foreign accent or an unusual name. In this case, take the opportunity to comment about the name. “My, that’s an unusual name. What does it mean?” Or ask if the name is of a certain nationality. Then take the extra step and say something along the lines of, “That must be a doozie to spell.” Or “I knew someone named that. It has an unusual spelling.” This will open up the dialog a bit more so you can hear the name repeated a few more times, and you may even get the salesperson to spell it for you.
With such a wide variety of tactics you can use to get the often elusive salesperson’s name, you likely can find one that works for your particular assignment. However, if you think you may have trouble with this requirement, ask your provider before you go if a description of the salesperson might work and explain why you think you may have difficulty getting a name.
Those are great ideas. I have no problem asking a salesperson’s name, because whether I on an assignment or not I like to have that information to know who I dealt with, in the event I have a problem with my product. I do that automatically, even when calling on the telephone for information. That is just a given to get a name or ID number.
I have no problem asking a persons name. I just tell them that things are so inpersonal that I like to know the name of the person I am talking to.
If they do not have a name tag on I mention that to remind them the importance of a name tag.
The one tip that I have not yet used is calling the store after exiting. All the other approaches have worked for me. Betty and Sandi, your comments about what works for you, works for me too.
One tip about the eavesdropping…make extra sure you’ve got it right. One I clearly overheard my target answer the phone, identifying herself as “D..” and since she wore no name tags, I assumed that I now knew her name. After writing up an excellent report for excellent service, I felt confident and pleased that she would be getting kudos from the employer. Next day, I got an email and phone call saying that there was no one at that store by that name! I was floored! In retrospect, since the call that she answered was personal, together with a brief ensuing exchange between the two associates, I have subsequently deduced that she may have given the wrong name, in an attempt to mislead the caller.