Selling Successfully (Your One-Stop Resource for Setting Up, Managing and Marketing)

Secret Shopper Program Lessons:Tips on How to Keep Your Shoppers Happy Part 1

You can improve your customers shopping experience with just small changes to your Shop Owner routine. Here are the issues ranked in order of importance to our Secret Shoppers:

Buyer Transactions Ignored - Check Your Shop EverydayThe issue that our Secret Shoppers found most disturbing was not getting any response from the shop owner after sending them a Question, Offer, or even a Purchase Order. Your buyers take being ignored very personally, and most indicate that they will never shop in that shop ever again and may even consider not shopping at Ruby Lane again. So, this is a very serious issue for both your own shop and all the other shops on Ruby Lane as well. Here are a couple things to consider:

Sometimes the notification for an Offer, Question or Purchase Order can get blocked by your ISP's spam filters and not make it to your Inbox, or even your Spam folder. So you never get the notification of a new transaction. For that reason it is important to check your Manage Transactions page every day.

Purchase Orders - If your buyer has paid immediately, and you don't need to use 'Send Buyer Total' for that reason, that doesn't mean you don't have to contact them at all. You can always thank them for their payment and let them know that you will be shipping their item on xx date. This way your buyer will feel valued and informed.

People Hate to Wait - Speedy Shipping is Important Secret Shoppers who shopped in Ruby Lane shops that waited 5 to 7 (or more!) days to get the item shipped by the Shop Owner were less pleased with their service than Secret Shoppers whose packages were shipped in 4 or fewer days (Sundays and Holidays not counted). Here is something for you to consider:

Impress them with your speedy shipping. If you can't actually make it to the post office, UPS store, etc... to ship more frequently, there are some other options. Shipping labels can be purchased and printed using PayPal, and shipping services may offer similar services on their web sites. Also many shipping services such as the USPS and UPS do offer pickup services for shipments in most areas which means they will come to you! (Some fees may apply check the shipping company's web site for details.)

Shoppers Feel Lied to – Communication is Key!Secret Shoppers experienced several types of situations, a few are:

Requested and paid for insurance that then had their item shipped without insurance.

Or, shoppers that were told by a Shop Owner that their item would be shipped 'tomorrow' then didn't ship it for another 5 days.

Or, shoppers who read a description that said the time was in excellent condition and then found obvious damage in areas not covered by photos.

These types of situations that made our Secret Shoppers feel lied to, upset, angry, and unwilling to shop at a certain shop or even Ruby Lane again.

We are sure that most of these types of incidents are simple honest mistakes - a forgotten check mark in the insurance field before printing a shipping label, or an area of damage that just wasn't noticed, or a child got sick and your schedule went out the window. Life happens!

But at the same time, shoppers' perception of the situation is only based on what they see and what they hear from you. This is were good communication is key. If you don't communicate, you could be giving an impression to your shoppers that you don't really want to give.

Send a quick email to the shopper to let them know that the situation changed and the item won't be shipped for a few more days, or communicate with the shopper and let them know that you forgot to include insurance and reimburse them those funds. The shopper may be unhappy with the situation, but they are less likely to feel deceived.

Yes, it is hard to admit you made a mistake in your description, shipping, or any other area really. But it does happen, and communicating that in a calm, professional, and honest way is better than leaving your customers feeling deceived, cheated, and angry.