Bobby Kerr’s Clever Business Tips

Business Agony Uncle, Bobby Kerr is back with some more expert advice for SME employers and employees. This week Bobby offers advice on the advantages of using mystery shoppers and how to approach potentially dishonest staff members.
Mystery Shoppers – Problem Solved
First up this week is a query from Gerry, who operates four garage forecourts in the Leinster area. Gerry prides himself on his business and wants to be best in class when it comes to customer service. He is thinking of introducing a mystery shopper each month to ensure standards are of the highest quality on a regular basis, and asks if Bobby has used this method in the past and some advice as it seems to be quite expensive.
Bobby’s Advice
Mystery shoppers are a great way of measuring customer service and getting feedback as an owner of a business and Bobby has used this service for over twenty years. However, it’s not advised to use them every single month as it can become quite predictable.
It’s a great tool for managers to compete with each other also and create a rivalry between branches. It can be a great barometer to introduce a bonus system with staff.
Overall, mystery shoppers although expensive are extremely beneficial and should definitely be explored further particularly given the nature of Gerry’s business.
Dishonest Staff – How to Approach the Issue  
Next up is Ronan  who runs a small bookmakers in Cork. Ronan employs three long term and loyal staff. He has been having suspicions recently that one of these staff members may be stealing from him as there has been money missing as well as the till not balancing of late. Ronan has asked for Bobby’s advice on how to broach the subject without potentially offending his staff, if this is not the case.
Bobby’s Advice
Firstly, although it is a tricky situation Ronan has every right to protect his business. If somebody is stealing from him then he needs to get to the bottom of it urgently. There are a number of steps that Ronan can take:
  1. Back to basics – Have an anonymous party visit the bookmakers to assess the processes. A mystery shopper would be ideal in this scenario
  2. Install cameras – Ronan has every right to install camera systems
  3. Have a presence on-site for a period of time and get close to his staff
  4. Be clever not to alert the potentially dishonest staff members. Ronan needs to be savvy in how he goes about investigating the issue, or the person(s) involved will pick up on it pretty quickly
On the Clock – Not Punching Out
Finally this week, Bobby looked at the issue of leaving the office early without clocking out. An anonymous person contacted Bobby to say that their colleague leaves work fifteen minutes early every day, and that they have been asked to clock out for them regularly. This person is worried that this may be seen as theft, and is worried about the consequences if management were to find out.
Bobby’s Advice
Firstly, this is considered as stealing from the business. As well as being extremely dishonest, this person is actually committing a crime by not clocking off at the correct time. There is no gain helping this person clock out early. If caught, this person could lose their job, as well as not get a reference and potentially ruining their career for the future.
It is highly recommended that this person stops immediately and understands that there is no gain to be gotten from helping someone essentially stealing from the company.
If you have a business or SME related query you would like answered - you can get in touch with Bobby each week by simply sending a short mail to [email protected]

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