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CEO “mystery shops” to check customer service

This is a lively first-person account of how Office Depot’s CEO visited 70 stores incognito to see how customers were treated.  He found that many front line workers were more comfortable “with their backs, rather than their bellies, to the aisle,” in other words, they liked tasks that involved dealing with merchandise rather than with customers.  Office Depot made a number of changes, including downsizing stores and stocking just the more popular brands.  But changes in customer service training were instituted as well, such as the ARC, “Ask, Recommend, and Close” sales process model. 

What I liked about this article: The pithy observations:  1.) “Make sure you’re measuring things that really matter to customers.”  2.) “Remember that we need our customers more than they need us.”

Source: Peters, K.  Office Depot’s president on how “mystery shopping” helped spark a turnaround.  Harvard Business Review;89(11):47-50, Nov. 2011.  Click here for more information: http://hbr.org/2011/11/office-depots-president-mystery-shopping-turnaround/ar/3 Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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