This short blog is actually about ‘mystery shopping’ believe it or not but it does relate to body language, so read on.

CoreData has conducted mystery shopping research for financial services companies since 2003, however have you ever thought about how else it is used? Well I’ve had the chance to read a couple of recent articles on how organisations are using mystery shopping to ensure that their employees are exhibiting required behaviours.

Interesting reading to be sure…in particular, it has emerged that UK franchise Pret a Manger recruits mystery shoppers on a weekly basis to ensure that employees display the desired behaviours fitting of a Pret employee.

Apparently it has been reported that the company flags more than 50 behaviours to ensure its staff make customers feel good when they visit a store.

This has of course raised eyebrows. In the past the company’s CEO has been reported to have said that whenever he visits a Pret branch, one of the first things he looks for is whether employees are touching one another, apparently saying that he can almost predict sales on body language alone!

Of course the positive is that whenever a store gets a positive report, staff get a bonus.

Nevertheless, mystery shopping employees to monitor if they display certain behaviours such as whether they are always smiling, appear cheerful etc elicits all sorts of views and raises questions about employee monitoring…BUT it does show the creative lengths to which some organisations will go to assess product and service satisfaction and of course customer engagement.

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