USPS Announces Changes To ‘Mystery Shopper Program’
12/30/2010 - After years of APWU complaints, the Postal Service has notified the union that the Mystery Shopper Program will be altered beginning in January 2011. Retail Associates (RAs) will no longer be required to follow a precise script when waiting on customers; instead they will be permitted to “customize their questions to best address individual customer needs.”
The questions have been a source of frustration, both to window clerks and the mailing public, in part because RAs were required to ask every customer mailing a package a litany of questions — even customers they knew well and whose needs they understood.
APWU Clerk Craft Director Rob Strunk praised the decision. “Finally, a manager with authority has realized that our Sales and Service Associates can determine on their own an appropriate method for communicating with our customers.
“The Mystery Shopper program has been misused, abused, and violated in so many ways,” he said. “We can go forward now demonstrating our professionalism.”
The Mystery Shopper program, which was recently renamed the Retail Customer Experience Program, has been a source of contention between the union and management since its inception. The program relies on management designees posing as customers and scoring retail clerks based on adherence to the script.
According to management’s Dec. 27, 2010, letter, the Product Offerings and Product Explanation categories will no longer be scored, and scoring in other categories will be revised.