Customer service shadow shop

Our customer service shadow shop produces mixed results for major retailers.
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02.Department stores


Was. Is. Always – inconsistent

David Jones marketing suggests a cut above the rest when it comes to the customer experience, with top-hatted doormen in the Sydney city store and a sumptuous layout on the ground floor. In reality our shadow shoppers found their customer service experiences patchy at best.

Kathryn visited one store at lunchtime and waited almost 15 minutes without being offered help, despite two sales assistants standing at the register having a conversation and no other customers around. She walked past the sales assistants trying to make eye contact and was ignored before having to talk over them to ask for help. While the sales assistant was friendly, she couldn’t provide information on products beyond colours and which ones were on sale.

Emma spent 10 minutes wandering the store she visited before having to ask for help. The assistant she found couldn’t provide much assistance, telling her that most of the brands were the same as they were all made in China.


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Alexander and Gloria fared better in the stores they visited. Alexander was offered help straight away, and while Gloria was initially ignored, once she asked for help the sales assistant was friendly.

None of the sales assistants were particularly knowledgeable about their products, offering suggestions based on colour or popularity or reading the features off the box.


All four shadow shoppers had a positive experience returning their items – the transactions were quick, with no fuss and no questions asked.


My Store? Sure?

Three of our four shoppers struggled to find any sales assistants at all initially in Myer. Kathryn and Emma both waited for almost 15 minutes in the kitchen section without being offered help, despite staff eventually appearing nearby. However, Alexander reports he was approached almost immediately in the suburban store he visited and received reasonably good service.

In terms of product knowledge, none of our shoppers felt that the staff were helpful. When Emma asked for a recommendation on a two-slice toaster the sales assistant recommended a four-slice model because it was on sale, even though it was more expensive than the type she wanted.


Three of our shoppers had no problems returning their items; however when Kathryn attempted to return her item she stood at the cash register with another customer for several minutes while the sales assistant continued to do paperwork without acknowledging their presence. Nearby another staff member was unpacking stock and didn’t offer any help either. Kathryn then waited while these two staff members had a long winded conversation about lunch breaks before finally serving her.

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