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David Geller

Here’s Why You Should Hire a Secret Shopper to Shop Your Own Store

It can help you identify training areas for sales associates.




EVEN BEFORE FACEBOOK was invented, I worried about what people said about me and my store. I wasn’t worried about pricing or what we charged for jobs. But I was worried about what people might say about how my staff treated them or the workmanship of my jewelers.

So, I arranged for my wife to choose someone from her work to come into the store and have something custom designed. I was not to know who it was, and I said I’d reimburse the “secret shopper” up to $1,500 for anything they had designed. I made up a questionnaire that asked some basic questions:

  • How were you greeted?
  • How did the designing progress go?
  • Did you like the design created for you?
  • Did the salesperson keep you informed by phone of progress?
  • Did you view a wax prior to completion?
  • Were there any delays? If so, how did it go?
  • Did you think the price was fair?
  • Did you receive a handwritten thank-you note from the salesperson?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied were you with the experience?
  • Would you recommend our store to others?

I had no idea when this would occur; my wife handled it all. When it was over and I received the form back, I ran a refund through the credit card machine for what she paid.

Frankly, I was a bit disappointed in the results because the salesperson got a glowing review. I was looking for a bottleneck to train on, but all was well. At the next sales meeting, I congratulated the salesperson, and we went over the results.

On another note, we once had a very sweet saleswoman who was top on the floor. But if someone didn’t buy within a certain amount of time, she thought, “This customer isn’t buying; I’ve got other fish to fry.” Then she’d stand up, which let the customer know “we’re done,” even though she was very polite.

She did this to a customer who later called to complain how she was treated. I used to carry a pocket recorder with me. As this lady started to complain, I turned it on and placed it between me and the phone receiver, recording (I know, this is now illegal). I then told the customer I would take care of it and get back to her.


I had a private meeting with the associate and started to explain, and she got defensive and said the lady was wrong, she treated her well, in fact this customer had bought lots of stuff from her in the past.

I let her talk and then played the recording to her. The kicker that turned it around was when the customer said, “I like her very much, in fact she’s the kind of person I’d invite to my home for dinner.”

This made the salesperson feel terrible, knowing that the customer liked her so well. After the meeting, she called the customer back, deeply apologized and asked her to come back in. The sale was completed.

If you’ve never hired someone to “secret shop” your store, maybe you should.

David Geller is a 14th-generation bench jeweler who produces The Geller Blue Book To Jewelry Repair Pricing. David is the “go-to guy” for setting up QuickBooks for a jewelry store. Reach him at [email protected].



Time to Do What You've Always Wanted? Time to Call Wilkerson.

It was time. Teri Allen and her brother, Nick Pavlich, Jr., had been at the helm of Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth in Plymouth, Mich., for decades. Their father, Nick Pavlich, Sr., had founded the store in 1950, but after so many wonderful years helping families around Michigan celebrate their most important moments, it was time to get some “moments” of their own. Teri says Wilkerson was the logical choice to run their retirement sale. “They’re the only company that specializes in closing jewelry stores,” she says. During the sale, Teri says a highlight was seeing so many generations of customers who wanted to buy “that one last piece of jewelry from us.” Would she recommend Wilkerson? Absolutely. “There is no way that I would have been able to do this by myself.”

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