Customer service shadow shop

Our customer service shadow shop produces mixed results for major retailers.
Learn more

03.Specialty retailers


The welcoming warehouse

Bunnings, winner of the People’s Choice Award for Best Bricks & Mortar Retailer in the 2011 CHOICE Awards, also rated well with our shadow shoppers, with all four reporting a good experience in the warehouses they visited.

Despite the size of the stores most of our shoppers found a staff member easily, even when there were plenty of customers about. And all four reported friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff. “Bunnings seems to have a well-maintained policy of making sure store staff know the layout and have some product expertise,” says Alexander.


Our shoppers reported returns as simple, quick and painless.


Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.



Talk to the hand

The service experienced by our shadow shoppers at Dick Smith was an equal split between good and woeful.

Gloria and Kathryn visited suburban stores and were offered assistance almost immediately upon entering. In both instances the sales assistants had good product knowledge and weren’t too pushy.

On the other hand, Emma says she was totally ignored by two staff members who stood in the empty store she visited. However, when she finally asked for help the sales assistant displayed good product knowledge and made some helpful recommendations.

As for Alexander, he remained invisible even after asking for help. “I wore my techno-idiot face and wandered around, to no avail. I could have stood there for hours gazing helplessly at the gadgets as store staff stood by in little groups, thumbing their smartphones and chatting away. I asked about cordless phones and was directed to that section, but no-one came with me to assist.”


Don’t accept change-of-mind returns.


Highs and lows

Emma and Gloria rated their JB Hi-Fi in-store experience as excellent – both were offered help quickly, and the staff were knowledgeable about the products and happy to make recommendations.

When Kathryn visited one of their stores she found seven staff and few customers. She waited for more than 10 minutes for someone to offer some help before finally asking. The sales assistant was OK but struggled to identify her particular needs and match them to a product. “The only person who approached me in store was a security guard who wanted to check my bag,” she says.

“If store staff had ever been instructed to look out for customers who were clearly in need of assistance, they must have forgotten that bit of training,” says Alexander. “I was directed to cordless phones by an employee who appeared to have plenty of time to help – but didn't.”


Don’t accept change-of-mind returns.

Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments