Washington Mutual Informative - Guerrilla Customer
Several years ago, I began operating as the Guerrilla Customer.
My mission was simple: operate undercover in order to determine which large companies excel in customer service, and which ones fall short. By itself, this is not a novel idea: many companies take it upon themselves to have so-called "mystery shoppers" visit store locations and report back on their experiences. The problem with relying on such evaluations is that staff are often aware of the presence of these agents, and the paid or otherwise compensated "mystery shoppers" often do not present themselves as difficult or hard to please.
That's where the Guerrilla Customer comes in.
Anyone can keep their cool and remain customer-focused if the customer doesn't have a complaint or isn't being difficult. Therefore, it is, for practical purposes, meaningless for a company to base its assessment of its performance on how well their staff handle a happy, non-difficult customer without any complaint(s).
My undercover operation presents a different type of customer. Although our Guerrilla Customer always stops short of raising his/her voice, using obscene language, or making threats, they are purposefully difficult in order to evaluate how well-versed in de-escalation skills the staff are. It also tests the company's overall commitment to customer service. If the staff is rude, dismissive, or otherwise escalates or exacerbates the difficult situation rather than attempting to resolve it in a mutually beneficial fashion, then store/company management is contacted. If they fail to resolve the problem, the company is put on the Guerrilla Customer "gray list." Once on the gray list, executive management of the offending company is contacted by a Guerrilla Customer representative (usually myself) in order to demand a satisfactory resolution. Companies which continue to stonewall the customer, offer no satisfactory resolution, try to make the problem the customer's fault, or take adversarial action against the customer for bringing a complaint are put onto the Guerrilla Customer's "black list."
Several Guerrilla Customer reviews will be forthcoming.